“You can talk to someone you don’t know…you make a lot of friends,” says Grindell.
He’s discovered that not so many years ago, Chattanooga had a very active swing dance scene, and he’s traveling to Nashville, Knoxville and even outside the state to recruit teachers for the events, and also to network Chattanooga’s reviving scene back into the loop. Technology is helping as well. “I’m using the MeetUp app to start a swing dance group,” he says. “We’re linking with people from surrounding cities to let them know about our events, and letting our people know about theirs.”
Alicia Anderson, event coordinator for the mall, could not be happier so much fancy footwork is taking place at Eastgate Town Center. “It adds to the energy of revitalization that’s going on here,” she says. “The setting is lovely for it: vaulted ceilings, wood floors. Many people still have no idea how much is happening with the MidTown renewal movement—events like this are a big part of it.”
Both Chatterbugs and the UTC Chattanooga Swing Society use recorded music with DJs at this point, but both would look forward to having live music be a part of their events as well. Both are reaching out to musical groups in the area that might be interested in participating.
The swing dance profile is growing: Jordan Grindell points out that the UTC Swing Society group recently did several performances at the former Rave Theater (now Carmike’s East Ridge 18) when Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” opened.
Both groups plan to continue making their events very affordable, with the $5 entrance fee covering as much as four hours of instruction and dancing at the 7-to-11 p.m. events.
Themed events are also coming (see sidebar for some in the near future.)
Sound fun? Don’t be shy. No time like the present to revisit the dance past.
Time to Swing
UTC Chattanooga Swing Society:
June 29 7-11 p.m.: Blues Dance
July 13 7-11 p.m.: Comic Book Superheroes Theme
Both events: Eastgate Town Center, 5600 Brainerd Rd.
Visit facebook.com/chatterbugsdance for more information on upcoming Chatterbugs events.