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Club Hosts Largest Swing-Style Dance Event in a Decade

The UCSB Swing and Ballroom Dance Club will throw a 1950s-themed sock hop party featuring live music tomorrow from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. in the Student Resources Building.

The event — funded by the After Dark program, Associated Students Finance Board and the Department of Recreation — is free for students and will provide ‘50s-era food and free swing dance lessons available beginning at 8 p.m. Rhythm and blues band Lil’ Mo and the Dynaflos will perform from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. alongside hula-hooping and costume contests.

SBDC member Brittney Blasco, a third-year

mathematics and sociology major, said guys and dolls can take advantage of other various activities throughout the night-long event.

“It’s going to be an exciting time: there will be games and prizes you can win from contests like the hula hoop contest, and the band that’s coming is also really good,” Blasco said. “Also, the cast of ‘Grease’ from a campus production will be performing some numbers.”

The term “sock hop” originated in the ‘50s when dances were held in gymnasiums and youth danced in their socks, according to SBDC Secretary and Publicity Officer Anna Hernandez.

“Back in the ‘50s, they would have dances in the gymnasiums and they didn’t want people to wear shoes on the floor because that would ruin the floor. So they’d just take them off and dance in their socks,” Hernandez said. “Floors are made differently now so people will definitely be wearing shoes at our sock hop.”

The dance, featuring a 12-foot- tall jukebox, is the club’s largest event in over 10 years, Hernandez said.

“We usually put big events on, but not ones this big,” Hernandez said. “Normally we would just have a band from nine until midnight but this time we’re having a pre- party, 1950s cars parked out front and 50 prizes to give away, on top of our gift certificates.”

Blasco said the club encourages students without dance experience to attend and participate in the swing dance lessons.

“It’s a fun experience even if you’ve never done any dancing,” Blasco said. “Everyone who knows how to do it is friendly and they all love helping you learn the steps.”

The ballroom will offer a classic diner meal of hamburgers and french fries served alongside a root beer float made at a self-serve soda fountain.

SBDC member John Koopman, a fourth-year biopsychology major, said the event serves as an outlet for club members to showcase their dance skills in a social setting outside the group’s weekly meetings.

“I think it’s an awesome way for students to get to use the dance moves they’ve learned at the dance club or elsewhere which aren’t usually applicable to the typical music or grinding that goes on in I.V., which, you know, I’m pretty good at,” Koopman said.

According to Hernandez, the club worked tirelessly to accurately replicate a peachy-keen atmosphere.

“People should also bring their cameras,” Hernandez said. “We’ve been working really hard these past few weeks on all the decorations and making sure everything is going to look great.”

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