Lionel and Karen Miles get into the swing of things.
Lionel and Karen Miles get into the swing of things.

Get into the swing

Karen Miles and her husband Lionel have been swing dancing for 15 years and as Karen happily explains, swing dance is the mother of all dance.

“Swing is the dance that started all the other dances. It started in Harlem, New York, in the1920s and from that came rock ’n roll dancing, jive, salsa… a whole lot of things,” Karen said. “Swing dance was the first dancing that wasn’t traditional and wasn’t a barn dance style. It was a new concept and it just took off – everyone loved it.”

Karen is a member of the Summerland Rockers, a non-profit organisation dedicated to teaching couples how to dance their hearts out. While it has been going for 17 years and is predominantly a rock ’n roll dance club, swing dance started three years ago and has proved incredibly popular.

A new swing dance course begins in Lismore next Wednesday and Karen is urging couples to come along and give it a go. She said you won’t regret it.

“Swing dance has this energy – it’s a dance you do with your soul,” she said. “It really has to come from within you and you can put a lot of your personality into it.”

Karen said she and Lionel live for dancing.

“We just love it – it makes us feel alive,” Karen said. “It’s a real buzz to get on that dance floor and let loose. The men lead so the women have a lot of freedom to put their expression across and stamp their own style into the dance.”

Karen said there is lots of opportunity for travel as part of the group and she and Lionel are off to Tasmania in May for a swing dance event.

“We always go to Wintersun on the Gold Coast every year and there’s lots of opportunities to travel,” Karen said. “There’s cruises and workshops, and even though we do swing we go along to the rock ’n roll hops with the Summerland Rockers, so it’s just wonderful.”

Swing dance lessons are held on the first and third Wednesday of every month at the Lismore Workers Heights Bowling Club, with the next course beginning on Wednesday, March 3. Beginners are at 7pm, with intermediate at 7.45pm.

The first night costs $12 (which includes $5 annual membership) and lessons are $7 each thereafter. Swing by on the night for some fun or for more information, phone Karen on 6621 7921.


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