NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Between the 1920s and 30s swing dancing was at its height. It was social dancing that actually brought races together, says swing dancer Catie Munguia.
“It was one of the first places where black and white people could be together in a social space," said Munguia.
Dancer Stan Bobo remembers when swing dance melded into other dances.
“Sort of the thing we did back in the ’50s and ’60s. We didn’t know it was swing. We called it rock and roll or boogie-woogie,” said Bobo.
Today, swing dancing is entertaining people of all ages.
"Where I learned how to dance they had a social dance every single Thursday where they have at least 200 people, every single Thursday, even Thanksgiving," recalled Munguia.
That was in Austin. There are swing dance groups in Longview, Tyler and around the world. Catie is hosting a free swing dance class so Nacogdoches can get into the swing of things.
"People think swing dancing is flipping people over your head and that's not what we're going to be doing,” assured Munguia.
It all starts with baby dance steps.
"It's nothing too complicated. We'll spell it out," saying as she and Bobo swung around a makeshift dance floor in the Austin Heights Baptist Church sanctuary where the first swing dance class will be held.
Swing dancers boast you can burn up to 450 calories an hour. Catie’s objective is to offer a fun time.
“It’s social. You’re smiling while you are doing. You’re not running on a treadmill wishing you were doing something else. You are having fun, being physically active and connecting with other people,” described Munguia.
After one class Catie promises you’ll get the swing of things and hopefully enjoy it enough to want more.
The first introductory class is Sunday, Feb. 23 at 2 p.m. at the Austin Heights Baptist Church on Appleby Sand Road in Nacogdoches. The class is free. A partner isn’t needed, but comfortable shoes are suggested.
Munguia says if there’s enough interest she hopes to continue the lessons somewhere in town and begin to have social dances as other swing dance groups are doing around the world.