From 2020s to 1920s: Swing dance returns for Valentine’s Day

Felicity Knabenbauer, Managing Editor


The roaring 20s have swung their way back into the lives of the current generation through fashion, art and now for Valentine’s day: music and dance. The UW-Whitewater Jazz Education Network organized a swing dance the evening of Feb. 10 that was open to anyone in the Whitewater area including highschool students. 

Located in the UW-W University Center’s Old Main Ballroom was the bustling event that involved a Swing dance instructor, complimentary snacks, a back sale as well as a live Jazz performance by the UW-W Jazz I ensemble. The talented band ensured a night of euphoria with their classic jazz melodies and a passionate display of effort for each song played.

“We’re trying to stick with all Swing tunes being a swing dance. I know we’ve got the classic, “Sing, sing,sing,” that’s a pretty popular one for people. We’ve got, “In the mood,” so a little bit more laid back but a nice swing tune. We have a pretty good set list going but those are some common ones that people will be familiar with,” said Jazz education network treasurer and pianist Kierstyn Torres.

The annual Valentine’s swing dance is practically a long held tradition at UW-W that has only grown in popularity over the years. The pandemic made intimate events such as these nonexistent for couples who had to turn to less public affairs for the last few Valentines. 

“This is an event we’ve had for twelve years, so this is just something we have always done. When covid happened we weren’t able to have it. Last year was our first year bringing it back so getting to watch everyone dance is super great. To see people have fun is the best part,” said Jazz education network president and senior Grace Caine.

There were dozens of attendees at the event, both young and old, who participated in not only listening to the jazz music but learning to dance to it as well. The upbeat instructor had the entire room confidently busting jitterbug moves with their partners as jazz music and laughter filled the ballroom giving it a unique atmosphere.

“The band has been great so far. The tenor is doing amazing. It’s a nice ambience. It just feels great to be somewhere to have “lovey” feelings with friends and peers so close to Valentines. It’s great that they have little snacks and provided water bottles too since I forgot mine,” said junior communications major Abbey Cronin.

The 1920s continues to live on as people continue to jive, shag and twirl over a hundred years later at events such as these. Having the chance to let loose and learn some new moves made the perfect Valentine’s activity for all who attended.