On a stage at the front of the room, the DJ plays the first jazzy tune and the lights dim to a glow. The dance floor floods with newcomers and regulars in full skirts and loose slacks, rocking in the step-step-triple-step pattern. A gangly teenage boy — frog-like with his green pants and long strides — leads a girl his age around the middle of the dance floor, who twists and twirls wherever his unpredictable strides lead her. An older man in a tilted trilby hat and a light-footed woman weave around each other in unison in their own private bubble. The beat is steady, the piano is smooth and the skirts are swishing. Lindy Groove has just swung into action.
Lindy Groove is a community swing dance held at Pasadena’s Masonic Hall every Thursday night. According to several patrons, it is one of the most popular swing dances in the Los Angeles area, and the men to women ratio is surprisingly equal, so no one ends up as a wallflower. As a birthday treat, the organizers offer free cupcakes and entry for ten friends, so there are always a few
Undeclared Britta Swedin (first-year) went to Lindy Groove for the first time last Thursday, rekindling her swing dancing skills for the first time since starting college. She picked up the steps quickly and danced to nearly every song.
“My favorite dance of the night was with a guy who teaches swing dancing. He looked like he was having lots of fun and genuinely enjoyed dancing with me,” Swedin said.
Danielle Carlson, a Pasadena resident who has been going to Lindy Groove for about six months, loves the size of the crowd and the opportunity to dance with so many different people. While participants only dance with others at their skill level at other dance venues, at Lindy Groove, everyone finds one another, regardless of ability. Each partner has a different style, so half of the fun is learning different ways to perform the steps. Experienced dancers are willing to teach moves to their partners during the dance. Though there is a lesson at the beginning of the night, the best way to learn to swing dance is to dance with more experienced partners.
Geology major Wayana Dolan (sophomore), a skilled swing dancer, has attended Lindy Groove several times in her first two years at Occidental. Last Thursday, she took on a dance with a more experienced young man. Though somewhat intimidating, dancing with a challenging partner can be freeing, according to Dolan.
“It’s a great feeling once you get to the point where you don’t have to think about moves, and you just react to the other person and dance,” Dolan said.
Lindy Groove takes place every Thursday night at 200 Euclid Ave in Pasadena.
Beginning and Intermediate classes start at 7:30 p.m. and dancing is from 8:15 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. All segments of the evening included in the $8 entry price.