Hidden Hangouts: GMU Swing Dance Club

Leigh Norman/Fourth Estate

Get into the swing of things with Mason’s Swing Dance Club


Descend to the ground floor of the Johnson Center (JC), beyond the warmth of the Starbucks and the savory smell of Red Hot & Blue. You hear music, but not from the radio station. Something strong, something fast, something downright vintage. Peek into the JC dance studio for one of Mason’s best kept secrets: GMU Swing Dance Club.

Every Wednesday at 7 p.m., guys, gals and pals take to the dancefloor and swing. Swing dancing involves quick movements to a jittery beat. Some moves are the triple step, the spin out, the rock step and more. There are two types of dancers: leads and follows, which determines who decides the moves and who follows.

President Heather Paul, senior civil and infrastructure engineering major, keeps her club “fun, inclusive and beginner-friendly,” making sure members learn the basics before hitting the floor. The beginners’ lesson lasts for an hour and reviews the basic steps, with each lesson after it having a review of last week’s moves just to keep everything fresh. In the intermediate lessons, these sessions expand on the beginner lesson and better prepare students to social dance outside of the dance studio.

If you cannot make it to the Wednesday lessons, there are also Tuesday office hours from 4 to 5 p.m. Whether you’re “dancing, [getting] help with a move, [or] chilling in the corner while swing music plays,” Tuesdays are the perfect extra dosage of swing dancing.

The club itself even offers opportunities to get out and swing out. Their “The First Swing!” dance is Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. in Dewberry Hall. For students, faculty, and veterans, it’s five dollars for a night of dancing, eating and good times. Expect community members and other swing organizations to visit the dance, eager to show newcomers different steps.