Shall We Dance

Campus and downtown offers weekend opportunities to go dancing

by Claire Hunter

Sometimes weekends get dull. Students who are wanting to stretch their social circle could mix things up and go downtown for some dancing or join the Whitworth students who spend every Saturday dancing the night away in Graves Gym. Here are three suggested dancing locations to start discovering a new passion in life.

Whitworth Swing and Ballroom Dance Club

This club offers dance lessons to students followed by open dances every Saturday night. Although the club primarily focuses on swing, club president junior Evan Anders said they also feature salsa, west coast swing, American tango, blues, and lindy hop, among others. These specialty dances are usually featured when a guest instructor is brought in for a workshop.

“What I’ve been trying to do this year — but I want to do even more so next year — is give people the opportunities to be introduced to other styles of dance through instructors who know what they’re talking about,” Anders said. “Whitworth provides us with the opportunity to do that.”

Both students and community members attend the club. However, there is usually a shortage of male dancers, which is something the club is focused on fixing.

“From my perspective I was a little bit wary about dancing as a guy because it’s not something that our culture typically associates with masculinity,” Anders said. “But (a) it’s an awesome way to work out [and] (b) it is the way that I have met and maintained my best friendships. The people I’ve met through dance have been the coolest people. I want people to try dancing and like dancing.”

Lesson followed by open dance at 8 p.m. every Saturday in Graves Gym
Contact: (509) 777-0000 or eanders14@my.whitworth.edu

Simply Dance Studio

Simply Dance Studio is best known for its Saturday Night Salsa, where dancers of all levels may come for a lesson with Marianna di Lorenzo.  She highly recommends  this option  to college  students. Dancers then have the option of staying  for the open dance, which costs $7 for the entire night.

“Saturday night is very popular. Usually I have 60 to 100 people in my class,” di Lorenzo said. “Saturday night is just all-out.”

Simply Dance also offers west coast swing nights, also costing $7. Swing nights are on the second and fourth Friday of every month, and have two separate lesson times for intermediate and beginner level dancers. Afterwards, all levels can join together for an open dance.

Regular lessons during the week cost $5, and the schedules can be found on their website. At weekly lessons, di Lorenzo assures timid newcomers that they will be comfortably integrated with other levels of dancers. She said the college students who attend regularly use the time  as a way to decompress from their school life.

“They feel like it’s one way for them to get through college. [With] all of this work coming at you, and all of the pressure, some of them have used Saturday Night Salsa to give them that break, to feel like they have some sort of life,” di Lorenzo said.

Though she does understand how intimidating learning to dance can seem, di Lorenzo encourages those to come who are interested in trying.

“I think everybody can dance, even if they don’t know it themselves,” she said.

The benefits of dance are not just stress-relieving, but also social.

“Actually looking at each other, talking to each other, dressing up and all the other ambiance that goes along with that, it’s very important,” she said. “I think we’re starved for it today. I think we’ve deprived ourselves of something that’s very important.”

Saturday Night Salsa lesson at 8:15 p.m. and open dance from 9:15 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Saturday. Cost is $7.

West Coast Swing night:  Intermediate from 7 to 8 p.m., beginners from 8 to 8:30 p.m., and open dance from 8:30 to 11 p.m. on the  second and fourth Friday of each month. Cost is $7.

Location: 820 W. Sprague Ave.
Contact: (509) 892-1480

Spokane Tango Club Corazon – Argentine Tango Salon

Spokane Tango specializes in milongas, which are tango dance parties. Instructor Eve Foster recommended that interested dancers keep an eye out on the website for a “TGIF Milonga” scheduled for May, and to expect one to two milongas to be scheduled each month.  These events let dancers experience traditional and alternative tango styles for only $5.

Occasionally she hosts workshops where  guest instructors are invited to share their specialty styles.

Foster said she encourages students to open up to the idea of tango.

“I think there are opportunities to create new friendships and relationships,” Foster said. “ It’s good socialization in general. A community starts to develop around the dancers.”

Dancing can also act as a way to bridge social differences.

“It breaks down barriers, and there’s a commonality between tango dancers, whether it’s age or ethnicity, even language,” she said.

Location: 2117 E. 37th Ave.
Contact: (509) 688-4587

Contact Claire Hunter at chunter15@my.whitworth.edu

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