Set to the silky tunes of the Solomon Douglas Quartet and the upbeat tapping of numerous pairs of feet, Miami Swing Syndicate’s MUDE Swings: Lucky 7s dance took place this past Friday and Saturday in the Heritage room of the Shriver Center.
The dance — called Lucky 7s because it was the seventh dance of its kind put on by the club — was the biggest event of the year for the Syndicate and saw dancers from various locales, like Indianapolis, Dayton and Columbus converge at Miami.
“It’s great because it brings people in from all the different dance scenes,” said Dominique Rohde, social chair for Swing Syndicate. “Seeing all the different people is my favorite part of the event.”
Emphasizing the diversity of the event, the 40-45 dancers that crowded into the Shriver Heritage room on Friday wore a mix of casual clothes and glamorous outfits. People in T-shirts and jeans swung arm-in-arm with dancers in glittering gold dresses and clean gray suits.
Just as varied were the skill levels of the dancers themselves. Some, stumbling across the dance floor, had just been taught the basics of the dance that evening, while others were clearly more practiced, sailing across the floor with ease. While the gap in skill was apparent, that didn’t stop several dancers from approaching people sitting on the sides and asking them to dance, ensuring that beginners and experts mingled throughout the evening.
Megan Archdeacon, PR representative for Swing Syndicate, said that the club tried its best to make sure that anyone who came to the event was able to dance. Lessons for novice dancers were offered prior to the dance itself, taught by professional swing dancers from across the country.
“We’re glad to see such an influx of Miamians this year,” Megan said, referencing the dancers swinging across the floor. “We’ve had more people show up because they heard about it via posters or ads than ever before.”
Ryan Jones, a first-year member of the Syndicate, swung happily around the dance floor, partner in tow. The couple stopped briefly to share their thoughts on the dance.
“It’s been great,” Ryan said. “I’ve only been a member of the club since fall, but I’ve tried to be as involved as possible. It’s just so much fun.”
The dance portion of the event was split into two parts, with swing dancing taking place from 8-11:30 p.m., and a slower, more laid back blues dance happening from 12-3 a.m. Although the dances both stretched late into the night, the rhythm of the music seemed to keep the dancers moving and shaking well after the sun had set.
The blues portion of Saturday’s dance was far more relaxed than Friday’s swing section. Roped off by strings of fairy lights, the otherwise darkened lobby of the Psychology building was filled with dancers swaying to mellow, soulful tunes.
Although the two sections saw comparable numbers of dancers take the floor, the environments were entirely different. The upbeat swinging and twirling was replaced by swaying and rocking as dancers pressed close to one another and grooved to the mournful sound of trumpets and saxophones that drifted through the speakers.
Whether swing or blues, casual or fancy, novice or expert, the Lucky 7s dance was a great opportunity to kick back, learn some new moves and dance the night away.
Swing Syndicate holds several smaller events throughout the year, and they are always happy to show a beginning dancer a move or two to get them swinging around the dance floor.