By Brent Bigleow
The connection between swing music and those who dance to it is a musical bond that only those who revel in it can explain.
Kara Cook, the secretary, treasurer and co-founder of the Youngstown State University Swing Dance Club, said her love for swing dancing has no bounds.
“I have never been involved in anything that I have loved as much as swing dancing. I met my best friends through this and I meet new amazing people every day because of swing dancing,” Cook said.
Dillon McBee, president and co-founder of the YSU Swing Dance Club, said he and Kara Cook were taught how to swing dance by a student teacher they had at South Range High School named Scott Miller.
McBee said Miller taught the two a few moves and he ignited their love for swing dance. McBee and Cook would go to Cedars West End in Youngstown and show off their newly acquired skills.
The two dancers met Ricky Elrod, a YSU student, while at Cedars and this small trio of swing dance connoisseurs would begin to fan their newly lit passion.
McBee, Cook, and Elrod started the group this semester and McBee said it seems to be taking off.
The Swing Dance Club has 12 active members. Cook said the club has 30 more prospects that are interested in joining after they had their first YSU Crash Day, which is when future YSU students explore possible groups to join on campus, in the beginning of November.
An original member of the Swing Dance Club, Owen Rasmussen, said he was a part of the group before it was even formed. Rasmussen is a graduate student and has been enrolled and living in Youngstown for about a year.
“I first heard of the Swing Club before I even moved to Youngstown. I was at a swing dance in Cleveland and met a few people from YSU, including the person who would end up being the first president of the club, Dillon McBee,” Rasmussen said.
Rasmussen said he was excited to come to a bigger university for graduate school because there were more activities to be involved in.
“My undergraduate school was too small to have something as specific as a swing dance club,” he said.
McBee said he hopes to expand the Youngstown swing dance scene using the club.
“Although Youngstown does already have a swing scene, we wanted to create a YSU club to encourage more YSU students to begin dancing and for them to have a facility to teach them how to swing dance,” McBee said. “It also provides one more day of dancing in the week as only one day during Cedars Swing Nights on Thursdays is not nearly enough.”
The Swing Dance Club meets Tuesdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the upper deck of Beeghly Center.
Cook said there is a one-hour lesson and social dancing afterwards to practice what they learned.
“It is an extremely fun environment with a lot of social interaction. It’s a great way to making friends and to learn a unique and fun skill,” Cook said.