UGA Swing Dance Club History

        When Greg and Effie first started their PhDs at UGA in 1999-2000, the Swing Club was run by Lanier Edwards.  At the time, the Ballroom Dance Club, Ballroom Performance Group and its Friday night dances, DJ'd dances with Bugg in downtown Athens, and Georgia Tech dances in Atlanta were all going strong.  Through these various dance events, Greg and Effie became friends with undergrad Jennifer Humphries, who is now an alumnus of UGA (graduated in 2003).  Jennifer was primarily trained by social dancing Lindy hop with the great Lindy dancers who were in Atlanta at the time.

        Greg and Effie had been doing some swing
dance teaching through the Ballroom Dance Club during that first year (1999-2000), but it was Jennifer who initiated the idea, in the Fall of 2000, for the three of them to take over the UGA Swing Club from Lanier Edwards, to teach a combination of East Coast Swing and Lindy Hop on Sunday nights.  Nick, whom they all met through the same venues, soon became involved too, organizing advertising events and getting serious about learning Lindy hop from Jennifer, Greg, and Effie, to add to his solid east coast swing skills.

        One of the
major goals for the Swing Club was to raise enough money to bring in nationally-known Lindy hop teachers to do a workshop at UGA.  With help from co-sponsors (BPG, BDC, Georgia Tech Dance Association) in addition to the money they raised from teaching on Sunday nights, they reached this goal and hosted Sylvia Sykes and Jason Christodoulou for a set of classes at one of the Friday night BPG dances and a workshop the following Sunday in the Fall of 2002.

        Lauren, like
all of them, came to Swing Club having first gotton into partner dancing with BPG dances and BDC so she too came with lots of dance knowledge already.  Greg and Effie went on a semester away from Athens and Nick and Lauren took over the Swing Club during Spring semester 2003, their last semester before
graduating.

       Greg and Effie returned for Fall of 2003 and resumed leadership of the Swing Club until the end of Fall of 2004, when demands from their graduate programs finally overwhelmed them.  Erik and Allison continued to take lessons from them through the Spring of 2005, before Greg and Effie left Athens for California.  Erik and Allison practiced with each other through the summer of 2005 to refine their dance skills.

        In September of 2005, Erik and Allison reformed the UGA Swing Club.  At the end of the semester, Allison retired from teaching duties to pursue her studies.  Susan assumed the role of follow instructor and assumed the role of President starting in the Spring 2006 semester.  At the end of the 2006-2007 school year, Susan stepped down as Swing Club President and Cydney Smith was appointed as President.  Cydney appointed Rachelle Hoehne as Vice President.  Cydney and James Hao taught for the following school year.  Thereafter, Sam Cook taught with Cydney for the 2008-2009 school year.  After Cydney graduated in 2009, Rachelle took over as President, with Erik, Susan, and Sam instructing.  In 2010, Ryan Mullis became President and instructor, with Graham Wallis assisting in instruction.  In Fall of 2012, Savannah became President of the Swing Club, with a rotating list of instructors.  Kira McEntire became the President of the Swing Club in Fall of 2015.

        In November of 2006, the UGA Swing Club decided to form an official performance troupe.  The performance troupe's purposes are to practice, choreograph, and perform pieces of swing dancing (which includes Lindy Hop, Charleston, Balboa [Bal-Swing], East Coast, and West Coast), to serve in an outreach capacity for the UGA Swing Club and help improve the swing community and social swing dancing in Athens, and to have fun!  The charter members of the troupe were Erik Hofmeister, Sam Cook, Susan Elrod, Allison Barfield, Micah Williams, Jason Long, Megan Boyd, Sherrie Hines, Scott Davis, and Wendy Reynolds.  Future membership was by invitation, and the first President was Erik Hofmeister.  Sam was also voted in as President of Swung in the summer of 2008.  In the Fall of 2011, Sam stepped down as President of Swung and Erik was voted in as President.  In the Spring of 2015, Melissa Gogo was voted in as the President of Swung.
      The first piece Swung choreographed was Sisters by Susan, performed in 2007.  Swung performs regularly in Ballroom Magic, the primary performance event for the Ballroom Performance Group.  They performed Hound Dog in 2008, Foot Stompin in 2009, In The Mood in 2010, Annie and Nicest Kids in Town in 2012, All The Cats Join In in 2013, Miss Kiss Kiss Bang in 2014, and Baby Can Dance in 2015.

       Swing Night had been going strong since the late 90s, initially hosted at Tasty World and run by DJ Bugg of Daddi-O Productions.  In Summer of 2006, Tasty World could no longer accommodate the group, so dances were moved to Memorial Ballroom on campus, run by Jonathan Jones.  Dances were moved to The Ritz on Broad in Winter of 2006.  The Ritz closed at the end of 2007, when dances moved to Buffalo's.  In Fall of 2008, a move was made to Rumor Bar downtown for one month, then to Rubber Soul Yoga in September, at which point Jason, Erik, and Sam began running the dances.  After a year at Rubber Soul, in Fall of 2009, dances were moved to DanceFX and run by Erik and Sam, where they continue to this day.

        In 2011, Athens held its first swing exchange in the form of Classic City Swing: The Balboa Edition.  This featured a Friday pre-party and main dance, a Saturday main dance featuring a live band, and a late-night dance at The Office, and workshops on Saturday afternoon in Bal-swing.  In 2012, Classic City Swing 2 was held, featuring a main dance Friday with the Manhattan Quintet, a late night Friday dance at Chez Hof, workshops on Saturday featuring Michael and Jaya Gamble, a main dance Saturday with The Hobohemians, a late night Saturday dance at The Office with the Artie Ball Swing Band, and a Sunday afternoon dance at the Mary Kahls Memorial Garden.  Classic City Swing 3 and 4 were held in 2013 and 2014.