Swing Out, an unofficial swing-dancing club, started to meet on Mondays in Munro Parlor during the spring semester of last year. The application process to grant charter to the club came to a halt after the club’s leader, junior Gwendolyn Cox, struggled to find an adviser.
“There was a whole lot of paper work that needed to be done,” Cox said. “The requirements were that we would have a faculty member supervise. I went around and talked to several professors and a lot of them basically chuckled and said ‘good luck finding a Nazarene professor to supervise your club.’”
In the ’09-’13 Nazarene Manual, Part III, the Covenant of Christian Covenant, 34.4 states that “All forms of dancing that detract from spiritual growth and break down proper moral inhibitions and reserve” should be avoided.
“More of the provocative types of dancing are definitely discouraged,” Cox said. “I definitely would not call East Coast swing dancing provocative in any way. It’s a good place for people to have fun and dancing is a way of releasing stress.”
The group meets regularly and is comprised of 15 male and female students as well as graduates of ENC. On average, three to four dancers attend regularly.
Because Swing Out is not an official club through SGA, they do not receive funding from the school, among other disadvantages. The group does use a campus lounge for their meetings, though.
“There is not an official dance policy in place to guide us in that,” SGA Adviser Keri Lewis said. “If a group is not official, but they are using the ENC name, at some point the college would need to step in and say its not an official college sanctioned club or sport, so they couldn’t continue using [the name].”
Robert Benjamin, associate dean of residential life, first heard of a swing-dancing club when the Veritas spoke with him for this story.
“I’m not aware of it at all. As you mention it, this is the first time I’m hearing about it,” Benjamin said.
Benjamin said he was not sure whether the unofficial club is allowed to meet on campus.
“Any club on campus needs to be sanctioned, meaning it’s under SGA,” he said. “Generally speaking, most clubs can be handled within the context of SGA.”
Swing Out members have been attending social dances in Boston after practicing and perfecting their swing skills at ENC.
“It’s a really cool way to network with people when you go out into the Boston dance community,” senior Meghan Holden said. “You just meet the most random people, but I’ve met plenty of professionals that know professors here at ENC from dances that I’ve gone to.”
Currently, Cox is taking dance classes in Boston to learn how to lead, a technique used in swing dancing, in addition to teaching the group how to follow.
“It’s a confidence builder,” Holden said about swing dancing. “You don’t have to know how to dance to be able to go to this. For those [of us] that don’t dance well, you can learn how to dance and look pretty awesome doing it.”