Otters twirl and trot with the swing dance club

Otters were transported back in time as they danced classic swing dance moves under the lofted ceiling of the old church on the California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) campus on Nov. 1.

The “Swing Dance Club: Swingin’ Otters” has been an established club on campus for several years. It brings Otters together to learn moves like the Charleston and a variety of styles including East Coast swing.

Treasurer Maria Leftheriotis recalled some highlights from her time in the club like when members participated in swing dance events for veterans in Marina, as well and when the Swingin’ Otters collaborated with Japan club for a multicultural dance event.

Leftheriotis also recalled how hard the pandemic was for the club. Distance learning was particularly tough because the foundation of their meetings and events relies on people dancing together as partners – a near-impossible feat when separated by distance and a computer screen. 

However, with the return to in-person learning, the swinging Otters are back to grooving together on campus.

The club atmosphere is welcoming to all skill levels and attracts a wide range of students. 

Transfer student Sarah Brown stumbled upon the club meeting by accident and joined in the fun.

“It was fun,” Brown said. “It was interesting and easier than I thought, but still took a lot of brain power!” 

Brown danced with international student Thibaut Labatut, a returning attendee and enthusiastic swing dance fan. Labatut and Brown quickly advanced from beginning steps to more complex turns.

Throughout the meeting, club president Avalon Surratt along with dance partner Nate Walton patiently demonstrated moves of increasing difficulty.

The club played a curated Spotify playlist with traditional swing dance songs as well as electro swing remixes. 

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