MSU Swing Dance Club teaches students all the right steps

Minnesota State’s Swing Dance Club is formed of students interested in sharing their experiences. The club accepts students with any background in dance — even no background. 

Regular meetings occur at 8 p.m. Mondays in the CSU Ballroom. When not there, they usually change to the flexible programming space found in the same building on the basement level floor. 

“The idea of the club is to have a place that’s welcoming for all different types of people to kind of learn how to dance,” said Joseph Albright, co-president of the club.“It’s easy to learn so a huge advantage in space that we create is that it’s welcoming for new people to come in.” 

Albright said the focus of the dances is partner dancing. A type of dance consisting of two individuals with different roles. 

“We try to focus on the Six Step East Coast Swing Dance because that’s really our bread and butter,” Albright added. “You’ll notice all of the types of dances are partner dances. So traditionally that’s your lead that’s traditionally a male that follows traditionally a female and we get to do all the fun spins and dips.” 

Ben Baumgardner, acting as co-president with Joseph Albright, mentioned his experience since joining the club. Working with the club for about two years, he mentions the different changes that have occurred in the club. 

“The community has changed a lot since I first started, there were a lot of juniors and seniors and since then, Joseph and I became co-presidents. We had similar students for one year and the next year pretty much changed to another group.” Baumgardner stated. “I like seeing it because, within the group, everyone has their own micro group based on their friend groups.” 

A typical week for a co-president is different, commonly communicating through group chat. Baumgardner mentions that people spend a week to plan for teaching a lesson. At some meetings “you can notice the difference between lessons that are planned and one’s that are not.” 

Baumgardner explains what students commonly learn from a typical session. Going on to mention the different groups they get to interact with at a meeting. 

“The big thing students learn from the club is to be social. They are in an environment with someone they probably don’t know and dance with them for maybe about an hour. And then send them forth after our lesson to free dance with the mini groups of friends.” 

Club member Noah Gould commented on his first experiences when joining the club.  

“I initially joined the club because all my other friends were doing it. I hadn’t danced before in my life. I wasn’t good at it at first, but the more I did it, the better I got. That just motivated me to come back and keep trying to get better.” 

Gould mentioned that there are different reasons for joining the club. “Meeting new people” and fostering a “unique chemistry with everyone” were motivating reasons for him. 

Sophomore Abby Skwira said she joined because her friends did. 

“I like going to the dance club, it’s good for the exercise and it’s also good to meet new people,” Skwira said. “I unlocked a bit of a passion for sure.” 

Skwira said there are many reasons to join the club. More importantly, students who are interested in joining the club can get more out of it other than meeting new people. 

“I say just have fun with it and don’t be afraid to go dance with other people. I was kind of stuck with the same two or three partners the first couple of times because I was afraid to go talk to other people,” Skwira mentioned. “But it’s nice to learn new skills from different people because everybody’s been going there for a different number of times.” 

Mady Sellner, currently enrolled as a PSEO, with experiences in theatre and dance mentions her experiences and why she joined the club. 

“I joined because my friends were in it. It’s just a new way to expand our skills. I would say it’s a great thing to look forward to on a Monday, with a great community and environment.” 

Sellner added that there may be different reasons to join the club. People who want to join should be “open minded” as there are many interesting things in the club, it just requires following through with it.

Header photo: Minnesota State’s Swing Dance Club is formed by students interested in sharing their experiences. The club meets at 8 p.m. on Mondays in the CSU Ballroom. (Courtesy MSU Swing Dance Club)

Write to Biruk Mengesha at

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