A swinging time at UM-Dearborn

March 8, 2023

A student organization offers swing dance lessons as a way to meet new people, alleviate stress and have fun.

Photo of two students in front of a large speaker at a Swing Dearborn event
Swing Dearborn President James Eichelberger, right, and Vice President Gabriel Fritz lead swing dance lessons at the Union@Dearborn on Mondays. Photo by Rudra Mehta

Swing Dearborn brings people together — one dance move at a time.

Every Monday evening, the student organization gathers in the Union@Dearborn’s Victors Den to learn how to Jitterbug and Jive. 

There’s a loudspeaker propped on the table, connected to a laptop that plays a list of songs with swing beats. On a recent Monday, Dearborn Wolverines watched dance steps and then joined in.

Journalism and media production junior Kylie Martin said she dropped in on a session to try out something new and de-stress. She didn’t have much dance experience when she started, and now she goes every week.

“I instantly connected to the dance form and the whole atmosphere,” she said. “It is a very refreshing change from studies and daily life, and helps me let loose and only focus on having fun.”

Swing Dearborn President James Eichelberger, a senior majoring in electrical engineering, said dance and music are universal languages that unite people from all walks of life. Eichelberger said dancing helps people connect and express themselves.

“As an awkward math-y, science-y kid, this was a really cool way to express myself,” observed Eichelberger, who said he began dancing in high school.

Eichelberger, who began the club in 2019, graduates this semester. Psychology sophomore Gabriel Fritz plans to lead the organization next to keep the dance floor Lindy hopping.

“I have prior experience with dance, and I also do ballet and contemporary. So James asked me to come to Swing Dearborn and hang out and help teach moves,” said Fritz, who currently serves as Swing Dearborn’s vice president.

Eichelberger and Fritz, who have been friends for years, are in agreement on Swing Dearborn’s mission: To be accessible to people of all interests and proficiencies in dance so they can learn something new and have fun.

Each week students — from local to international — come together to practice new moves and then take them to the dance floor. And more are always welcome, Eichelberger said.

For students interested in swing dance, check out Swing Dearborn’s Instagram and visit their VictorsLink for the weekly Monday meeting time and more information.

Article by Rudra Mehta.