Swinging into Competition

May 052004
Authors: Elizabeth Kerrigan

College students from all over Colorado joined together Friday

for the First Annual Intercollegiate Swing Dancing competition.

They gathered not only to compete, but also to learn new moves and

make new friends.

With original vintage costumes and new spins on old dance moves,

the swing-dancing teams from CSU, otherwise known as “Blam,” the

“Buffalo Swings” from the University of Colorado and the “Swinging

Seven” from the University of Northern Colorado all attended this

new competition at the UNC ballroom.

“It was awesome! It was so much fun and so great to see so many

people interested in swing dancing and to watch all of the

different styles,” said Joe Demers, a freshman natural sciences

major, competing swing dancer and swing-dance team leader for


Demers not only led his troupe in teaching much of the

choreography but also was one of the people who helped to create

this new intercollegiate competition.

“The whole point of the competition was to bring together swing

dancers of all scenes, to make new friendships and to meet new

people,” Demers said.

The event started off with a bang as all attendees were treated

to a special swing-dancing lesson for both advanced and

intermediate levels by Peggy Lyle and Chris McCullough, swing

dancer connoisseurs and founding members of Jumpn’Jive Cats, a Fort

Collins swing-dance company.

“All of the students did a great job. It was really impressive,”

said Lyle, who is also the primary choreographer for Jumpn’Jive

Cats. “They all put in a lot of effort.”

Lyle and McCullough were also two of the four judges for the

night’s competition. The scores they gave were based on four

categories: showmanship, technical ability, difficulty and


In the end, however, only one troupe could take home the first

place title, and with 31 points that went to CU. However, CSU

finished as a close second with 30.5 points and UNC took third with

30 points.

CSU’s competing swing-dance troupe was created through auditions

held by the CSU Swing Dance Club and was comprised of six couples

who wanted to take their swing dancing from the club level, in

which they simply met for fun and to learn new moves, to the

competitive level.

Over a three-month period of sweat and hard work, the couples

spent an extra two and half hours a week planning and practicing

the choreography for the event, and in the end, all of the extra

time and effort seemed to finally pay off.

“The competition turned out to be totally awesome,” said Zabrina

Perry, a senior majoring in history and Demer’s dancing partner.

“Everyone in the crowd was cheering and it was just a great time

and a lot of fun!”

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