This year on Apr. 8-10, to the unawares of the majority of Mines campus, one group of dancers took second at the Intercollegiate Swing Battle. Ten students who have been working at odd and frequent hours made the 45 minute drive to CU Boulder to compete against three other schools, CSU, CU Boulder, and Utah State University.
The three nights of competition presented an array of dancing activities including ample amounts of social dancing and several different competitions. Matty Groce, Caleb Jhones, Tanner Jones, Robinson Merillat, Ze Ong, Gracie Petty, Grace Sanderson, Jen Silva, Dylon Thierry, and Kathleen Whalen comprised the ten members of Mines’ Swing Team A, who won second place in the Team competition. Their number was choreographed by Matty Groce and Gracie Petty.
Besides the team competition, Matty Groce competed in the singles’ Charleston. Dylon Thierry and Tanner Jones put on their matching purple shirts and blue jeans (coincidentally) for the slow dance competition. Kathleen Whalen and Caleb Jhones joined in on the Strictly Lindy competition and a handful of couples participated in the Jack and Jill dance competition.
Regardless of their involvement in the competitions each member put in many hours of their time. The team held five set practice hours as well as helping out during dance club lessons, which added another hour and a half on top of all the individual outside practice. The team showed great dedication to their craft, even though for some, this has been their first year with swing dancing.
Each of the members came from different dancing backgrounds or no dancing background at all.
“I was teaching [swing] to elementary school kids,” said Petty.
“I did like country swing back when I was in high school,” said Merillat. For Thierry and Jones it was purely a whim to start dancing.
“Most of [the freshmen] just started learning swing this fall,” said Silva.
The returning members, consisting of four juniors, one sophomore, convinced their latest additions (five freshmen) to join at the opening ballroom dance of the fall semester.
“[The opening ball] was just like super fun!” said Kathleen Whalen.
The Slide Rulers are a dedicated group of dancers who love to have fun with each other and express themselves through the art of dancing. Though they all came to the medium through varying unconventional means, they each are finding their own joys in the art form.
Above: The Slide Rulers took second at the Intercollegiate Swing Battle. They competed against dancers from CSU, CU Boulder, and Utah State University. Photo by Jessica Williams.