To the uninitiated, the verbiage of the social dance world probably sounds like a foreign language. Wanna Lindy Hop, Shim Sham, or do the Hully-Gully? Need a partner for Kerry Sets? Did you learn BNP at FNW?
Yet, every first* Friday of the month, hundreds of Stanford students gather in Roble Gym for “Jammix,” an event for social dancers consisting of dozens of dances from the past three centuries. From polka to salsa, from swing to redowa, Jammix has it all, and newbies with a willingness to learn are welcomed alongside old pros.
Wait, you may ask, where do these students come from? Thanks to Stanford’s enormously popular dance division courses, every quarter brings new initiates to Stanford’s thriving social dance community. And don’t be discouraged by flashy dance shows like “Dancing with the Stars” – jeans, T-shirts, and socks or dancing shoes are the preferred attire among Stanford’s dance ninjas.
How do I get started?
There are tons of awesome dance courses at Stanford. The timeless favorite starter course is Dance 46: Social Dances of North America I. Often full within 48 hours of the opening of registration, “Social I” is a jam-packed whirlwind of America’s favorite social dances. Ever wanted to sweep a damsel off her feet a la Fred Astaire? Don’t worry, you’ll be a pro at waltz and swing in no time! Ever envied Michael Buble’s sweet salsa moves? He’ll be wishing he’d saved the last dance for you.
For the full gamut of awesome social dance classes, check out the following list. Most of these courses are taught by Stanford’s resident expert Richard Powers, whose role as a world-renowned dance historian has kept social dance alive and authentic on the Farm and beyond.
- History of the Waltz
- Living Traditions of Swing (not offered this year, but definitely look out for it next winter quarter!)
- Social Dance II
- Social Dance III
- Awesome! Lucky for you, the annual Viennese Ball is right around the corner. Held every February, Viennese Ball is the largest social dance gathering of the year. Usually hosted at the Hyatt Regency in Burlingame, Viennese covers two dance floors with live swing and waltz bands and features a beautiful, elaborate opening ceremony. Bust out the tuxes and evening gowns, because this is a breathtaking night to remember!
- In advance of Viennese, Stanford holds the Bon Bon Ball and “Austria Fortnight,” two weeks full of free social dance lessons throughout campus – no partner or experience necessary. Wanna learn more? Check out the Stanford Dance Division website here. Happy dancing!