Meadows jazz concert brings swing dancing to SMU

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The second year of the now annual Meadows Swing Dance Concert stepped up in a big way from last year’s event with a new venue and a crash course in swing dancing to help newcomers learn a step or two. The event is quickly becoming a Meadows must-do and its founder, Meadows jazz orchestra director Dylan Smith, is happy with the response.

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Dancers get a crash course in swing dancing at before the concert. Photo credit: Kara Fellows

“As long as people show up and enjoy it we’ll keep doing it every year,” Smith said.

Couples old and young came to the event ready for two-stepping on Saturday, Oct. 29 in the Martha Proctor Mack Ballroom in the Umphrey Lee Center. The jazz orchestra has been preparing since August for the event, learning the fast-paced jazz that is a crucial part of swing dancing.

Despite the event being held on the Saturday of Halloween weekend, the ballroom was packed with more than 100 people. Couples were dancing all over the room and some, like SMU students Brandon Moore and MaryLena Bleile, said there was no place they would rather be.

“Jazz music, swing dancing and beer are all I need,” Moore said. “And of course my lovely dance partner.”

Bleile said that after years of classical ballet, it’s fun to let loose with swing dancing.

But the event didn’t just attract swing dance enthusiasts. SMU student and first-time swing dancer Reagan Long said she was curious about the event but nervous about the actual dancing.

“The lesson in the beginning was really helpful,” Long said. “It was nice to know I wasn’t the only klutz in the room.”

This event is one of many that the Meadows jazz orchestra puts on throughout the semester. Their next event is on Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Bob Hope Theater. For more information about upcoming concerts, contact the Meadows ticket office at 214-768-2787.

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