I had been completely illiterate in literally any forms of dance in the world for so many year in my life, until one day I took a colleague from Beijing to a party organized by SwingWuhan, the first swing dance fans club in town. Words from my co-worker Cecilia had haunted me for months before that day: “if you can walk, you can swing dance”.
The colleague from Beijing was on a temporary duty here in Wuhan for only two weeks, and I had been thinking about what should I recommend to her so that her limited days here could be colorfully enriched.
Cecilia was right. From that day on, joining the swing dance practice session every Wednesday night gradually becomes my weekly routine. And after the colleague went back to Beijing, she also quickly found out there the same places to go after work.
Being a swing dance beginner is surprisingly an easy and cozy experience. Not like those seemingly intimidating dances that require long, arduous and rigorous trainings to start with, a quarter of an hour is fairly enough for you to commence on the enjoyment of the rhythm of delight, and the only swing dancer you should compare yourself to, is the one you used to be. Even when you stumble, you can still make it part of the swing dance, and probably that’s what people say the free spirit of the dance.
Cecilia started to immerse herself into swing dance while she worked in Shanghai. When she changed her job and returned to her hometown Wuhan, she initiated a swing dance fans club with Celine, her bosom friend dating back to college days, after she failed to find an existing one in the city. It is true: the swing dancer population in the city was rather small, or at least it was fairly in visible at the time.
Then they quickly identified, through the swing dance fans clubs network in Shanghai, a multiple-award-wining Wuhanese-German gentleman who went to UC Berkeley and took classes of swing dance at the City of Angles. He happened to be in a sabbatical and was willing to lead the first-ever swing dance workshop in Wuhan.
Cecilia and Celine swiftly launched their own WeChat subscribed account – SwingWuhan, and started to promote the workshop. Within weeks, enough students were recruited and the course took place as planed on a crowd-funding basis. Students in that class call themselves the “seeds”.
And in the seeds of yesterday grow all the flowers of tomorrow. Now, with the help of many enthusiastic volunteers, SwingWuhan hosts regular workshops, weekly practice sessions, free introductory mini-classes, frequent dance parties.
They also work with some businesses as performers when the nostalgic vintage flavor and elements are needed at cruises, shopping malls, bars, restaurants, or craftsmen markets. Their mission is simple: to introduce this lively and delightful social dance to more and more people in the city, and through this, let the happiness and joy pass down from one to another.
Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here we should dance.