Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Local dance group keeping the spirit of swing alive at UA

Courtesy of RUF Swinging Kings and Dancing Queens

At the sound of the words “ballroom dance,” the average university student may reflect on growing up watching “Dancing With the Stars” — vaguely familiar celebrities on the screen, vibrant costumes with sequins and flare, and just a pinch of growing skills in the likes of foxtrot, tango, waltz or salsa.  

Hardly ever would one think of a campus like ours where along with a competition-winning ballroom dance team, lessons and underground meetings occur across Tuscaloosa.   

Every Sunday a local dancing group, called the Swing Kings and Dancing Queens, meets for its weekly gathering. The small church space was “sh-boom”ing with music, laughter and ’50s-inspired costumed dancers swapping partners every few songs.  

One of the most outstanding parts of the organization is the diversity of skill level, gender, race and major. There is no one singular type of “Swing King” or “Dancing Queen.”  

 “Some of my friends were doing it, and the aspect of community was a really big deal to me, so just getting to come and be a part of that was cool,” Sophie Wilks, a senior majoring in sport management, said.  

The leader of the Swing Kings and Dancing Queens is junior Aiden Holt, a mechanical engineering major. Beyond a STEM-filled course load, Holt organizes enough students willing to swing dance in the Riverwood Presbyterian Church hall as well as the lawn outside where couples practice before heading in.  

“I love that we’ve exploded into the group that we are currently, we used to be from one semester a group of about 12 people,” Holt said. “The next semester, we blew up into about 100, and now it’s a lot more than that.”   

With the welcoming atmosphere and encouragement, it is no wonder the group is blossoming into a growing future by stepping back into the past. 

Along with this community comes the opportunity for individual improvement — everyone is there to have a good time, better their skills and dance to music not regularly heard by this generation.  

Haley Gall, a senior majoring in history, revealed that the people she has met is her favorite aspect of the organization. 

“The people, honestly … everyone here wants to learn, like if you mess up, you could fall on the floor and nobody’s going to laugh at you, nobody’s going to judge you for your level,” Gall said. “If you’re a beginner, if you’ve been here since freshman year, everybody just wants you to do good and wants to help you out with that.”  

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