Former Melinda Martin and an ACU alumnus dance the Lindy. (Photo by Shelly Womack)
The ACU Swing Cats held their 11th annual Fall Stomp on October 8th. The event included a swing dance lesson, an open dance floor, and WWII-era jazz music performed live by the ACU and Hardin-Simmons jazz ensembles.
Swing Cats is an organization of students who dance in the swing style of the 1920s to 1940s, a dance era marked by the popular Charleston movement. Dr Cole Bennett, director of the Swing Cats, said the Fall Stomp is an experience the group looks forward to every year.
“It’s one thing to study and practice something, but it’s another to join a live band at a historic moment,” Bennett said.
In previous years, the Fall Stomp was held in the Elks Ballroom, a historic venue used at the peak of swing dancing in Abilene 100 years ago. This year, the event was held at the T&P Depot to accommodate a larger number of guests.
The event attracted a variety of attendees, including experienced swing dancers, beginners in training, and dance and music observers.
Emma Horn, a first year political science student at Abilene, enjoyed her first Fall Stop as a new Swing Cat.
“It’s really impossible not to have fun doing something as wacky as the swing,” Horn said.
The annual event is open not only to ACU students and staff, but to the entire Abilene community. Horn said she particularly appreciates a sense of belonging that spanned generations and groups of people.
“There is no such thing as being alone in swing dancing,” Horn said. “Everyone is together. “
The Swing Cats and Jazz Ensemble plan to continue to lead the Fall Stomp each year.