Picture this: you are sitting in your dorm room on a Saturday afternoon, and you are bored to death. Not a very hard thing to imagine, is it?
How about something active, where you can hear great music, meet people and learn something new?
If that sounds like fun to you, then the Saturday Night Fish Fry at the University of Pennsylvania might be a good fit.
The Fish Fry is a swing dance put on by UPtown Swing, the university’s swing club.
The university is only about 45 minutes away from St. David’s, and parking is not difficult to find. Or, if you want to take the train, Houston Hall is only a couple of blocks away from 30th Street Station.
No partner is necessary to attend the dance. The atmosphere is rather casual. People wear anything from jeans to skirts to dress slacks. The floor is hardwood, so bring shoes that are soft-soled and can slide easily.
When we went, some in our group had never danced before, but they had a great time. We all attended the beginner lesson held at 8 p.m. before every dance.
The dance itself starts at 9 p.m. and goes until midnight. The lesson does not cost anything; in fact, if you take the lesson before the dance, you can get into the dance for just $5. Otherwise, the dance costs $10.
The teachers showed us the basic steps, the open and the closed dance positions, some turns and a few other things so that we could get out on the dance floor later that night.
The instructors were very conscious that there were lots of beginners there and took their time explaining the steps and correcting problems.
Those of us who had never gone to a swing dance before found the people at UPenn very beginner- friendly. People were willing to dance with beginners and liked the chance to teach new steps.
By the end of the night, the beginners who came with us were dancing as if they had been to a few dances before.
The dances at UPenn almost always have a good turn-out. Dancers vary in age and experience. You might jitterbug with someone in college for one dance, but do not be surprised if the next dance is with someone who’s 60-years-old. Either way, it is lots of fun.
The atmosphere at the UPenn swing dances is what makes them such a great place to learn and dance. The people are friendly; the music is great, and the cost is cheap. What more could there be?
So if you are bored on April 21, get those feet stompin’ and swing by the dance at UPenn.
For more information, visit www.uptownswing.org.
Houston Hall UPenn Campus 3417 Spruce St. Philadelphia