Dancing the night away, at ERHS

Swing dance vets Bob Demers and wife Sue Lavenz swayed while Black Elk Jazz Band played “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree with Anyone Else but Me.” (Photo by Bruce Strand)


by Bruce Strand, Arts editor

Most high schools don’t have regular school dances any more like in the old days when homecoming and snow daze weeks were usually capped by a post-game dance, and many school also had regular “canteen’s” on Friday nights.

However, “Swing Dance Night,” hosted by Elk River High School bands the last three years, has proven to be a big hit.  As the latest installment, last Friday night, showed, dozens of dance enthusiasts, not to mention complete novices, will show up to eagerly give it a whirl if not only good music but also dance instruction is offered.

Alythia, from Rogers, took a spin with a fellow whose name she didn't catch. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Cindy and Terry Gardner from Twin City Swing, who teach at the Social Dance Studio in south Minneapolis, showed the swing dance basics to a large group ranging from early teens to retirees, roughly evenly divided between male and female,  ringing the commons area at ERHS.

Evonne Arrington and Matt Brisbin, elegant in basic black. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

After about an hour of learning the all the dips and turns, they danced the night away for about two more hours. Providing swing music in turns were the ERHS groups Red Elk Jazz Band and Black Elk Jazz Band, then the adult North Suburban Concert Band, all directed by John Rosner.

The Star News Arts & Entertainment Page regards Swing Dance Night as a great photo op, so here is a recap of what you enjoyed Friday night — or a glimpse of what you missed.

Josh Gearou with the Red Elk Jazz Band solo'd on sax during "Rock This Town." (Photo by Bruce Strand)
Maddie O’Connor and Luke Hemphill were “just learning.” (Photo by Bruce Strand)
Katie Voncamp and Zach Glasgow, both freshmen, gave it a go. (Photo by Bruce Strand)