Swinging Into the 20s: Inside E.T.H.E.L.S’ 1920s themed dance

This past Saturday, E.T.H.E.L.S kicked off 2020 with a Roaring-twenties’ themed dance. The dance took place in Gough Great Room starting at seven in the evening, and both regular members of the club and new faces dropped by to enjoy the festivities. Besides the dancing, which was set to era-appropriate music curated by Laura Schoenhals, E.T.H.E.L.S. also set up a photo station and an array of jazzy mocktails. Many of the guests dressed up to the nines, in outfits that any flapper would have been floored by. After many rounds of mocktails and more than one rendition of 20’s Charleston, the night ended with a fusion of the two eras with the swing version of Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love”. “I love the community that swing facilitates. I think having a common goal and a shared enjoyment of swing is a great way for people to form friendships and meet new people in a unique environment. The 20s party was a great way to ring in the new year, and I especially enjoyed the unique music that I would not otherwise usually choose to listen to. I’ll definitely have to add more 20s music to our regular swing playlist!” said Schoenhals.

Now that the 2020’s have begun, E.T.H.E.L.S. hoping to capitalize on the popularity of swing during the Roaring-twenties. The organization, whose acronym stands for Eastern’s Toe-tapping, Heel-stomping, East-Coast, Lindy-Hopping Swing club, offers free lessons in a variety of swing dance styles every Thursday evening from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. in Gough Great Room. This semester, lead instructor Mike Montgomery, who has taught at various swing dancing ballrooms in the past, is focusing on Lindy Hop and a line dance called the Shim Sham Shimmy. However, new students are always welcome to drop by! The assistant instructor is available to teach newcomers the basic step and a few quick turns so that when free dance happens after the lesson, they’ll be ready to hop right in.

Besides lessons every week, which run a little over an hour, there is also free dance, where dancers get a chance to practice their skills. During this time, students are encouraged to ask each other to dance. During these weekly events, no one dresses up, though that changes when E.T.H.E.L.S. organizes monthly trips to a live-band ballroom in Pottstown. At these events, members of the club can enjoy music from bands such as the Dibs and the Detontators and the Slicked-Up Nines while dancing with people at various skill levels. The next live band group that E.T.H.E.L.S. plans on attending will take place on Feb. 22; for more information, stop by one Thursday or email the club at the address below.

Besides the regularly scheduled events, E.T.H.E.L.S. is hoping to be a part of the Performance Arts Living Room later this spring. They plan to start cheroegraphing their piece soon, and they hope to impress at their audition. Additionally, they will have an end of the year party. For more information on any of these events, contact E.T.H.E.L.S. at ethels@eastern.edu.

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