Indy Treasures: Swing Dancing


Madeline Hittel

We live in a culture where the “whip” and the “nae nae” seem to have become the definition of dancing. But some still seem to enjoy something besides bending your knees and throwing your arms into the air.

At 1111 Prospect St. in Fountain Square, just outside of Downtown Indianapolis, you will find a small theater that holds swing dancing the second and fourth Friday (with the exception of November only the second Friday and December, only the third Friday will have swing dancing) of each month known as, The Fountain Square Theatre. Whether you’re nine or 99, you can swing dance, trust me. This fun, accepting and exciting environment is just the place you and your honey want to spend a Friday evening, dancing the night away to live, energetic music.

The excitement begins as soon as you walk through the double doorway. Between the live music and the dimmed lighting, surrounded by round tables, we see this “old fashioned” dance come to life through every twirl and high kick.

Although a lot of the dancers are very experienced doing unique flips and tricks, they don’t seem to mind showing you a move or two. They don’t get too aggravated if you accidentally step on their toes, either. After I crushed the toes of several dancers, one leaned over and said, “Don’t worry, we are used to having our toes stomped on.” This made me feel much better.

The couple that I took the worst tumble on, Catherine Lynn and Andrew Gibson, met at a swing dancing club at Purdue University and have been dancing ever since. Although Nov. 13 was their first Friday at The Fountain Square Theatre, they’ve been all around Indy exploring various swing dancing clubs. Andrew, a 6 year swing dancer has even taught a few classes at Purdue.

“We learned there (Purdue) and now we just come here (Fountain Square Theatre) for fun,” Lynn, an 8 year swing dancer, said.

First time swing dancer, James Grogan and swing dancing regular, Bekah Harris caught onto the style of dance very quickly and well. So well that I thought they were professionals.

“We make it up as we go,” Grogan said.

Although Grogan was a complete natural at the dance, he too was very nervous to get onto the dance floor. So nervous that he actually sat around to watch for a little while.

“It’s so intimidating because everyone is so good,” Grogan said. “I’m amazed at how easy they make it look.”

I myself have some background with dancing, so the entire concept ended up being very easy to grasp. The dances are much easier than they look. With just a few simple patterns of steps and a turn or two, you will be swing dancing before you know it.