Get dancing with Leicester Swing Dance Society

Posted by nm365 at Apr 03, 2020 11:30 AM |
Society holds online weekly sessions, open to all, including non-students

You know that feel good feeling you get when dancing to your favourite song? We meet Leicester Swing Dance Society who are helping staff and students to do just that with their online dance classes.

The society is run by physics alumnus Nishad Karim, who studied her undergraduate and PhD at Leicester, co-founding the group in her final year. She currently works as a Science Communicator in the physics department as well as the society’s principal dance teacher

She said: “We chose to have online classes every Thursday at 7.00pm because that is our regular dance slot throughout the year, so it made sense to continue then; a semblance of normality in the chaos.

“There have been some adjustments of course, for example the classes are now all solo, rather than partnered, so everyone can practise in self-isolation. The videos mean people can keep practising for as long as they like.

“The content is broken down so complete beginners can rewind and repeat until they perfect. The idea of beginners being able to follow is important to us; we are continuing classes not only for our current students, but for anyone in the world who may need a boost.”

Nishad’s suggestions for other societies who are interested in putting on online activities include making them open to all: “focus on the wider community as right now the whole world is physically isolated”. Her top tips also include engaging with your current students to see the content they would like, planning your class first, using online meeting software to create a community environment, and making it easy for others to share and promote your activities.

It’s not all been for others’ benefit as Nishad has enjoyed the challenge. She commented: “I have loved being able to share swing dance with a wider audience. Not only are we engaging with our current students, we're also reengaging with our former students who've left the university to other places. It's been bliss. Along with that, we have also managed to get a following from people all around the world, many of whom have never danced. Coronavirus has cruelly caused large parts of the world to isolate, but dancing, through free online classes, brings back that sense of community and fun. We're really glad if we manage to keep even a single person’s morale up during this lonely time.”

Participant Laura Gavin said: "After a few weeks without physical classes, doing the online videos made me remember why and how dancing makes me happy. Even though it's essentially just me leaping about my living room, there's something quite joyful and free about that and it still feels like a shared experience."

Rowena Sharps agreed: "I wouldn’t have had the motivation to do the videos on my own but having it scheduled helped and seeing others dancing at home made it a fun group activity. I normally do partnered dance classes so this is a great excuse to learn more solo jazz moves."

Anyone can join the society’s online classes at 7.00pm on Thursdays, with an optional Zoom session running alongside providing a community feel. Previous videos are also kept on the page, so classes can be practised at any time.

Is your society running online sessions? Let us know @leicstudentlife on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or by emailing studentexperience@le.ac.uk

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