It was so amazing to be back and in the role of instructors, judges, and emcee again at the NYU Intercollegiate Swing Dance Exchange (NISE). Brian created and organized this event for the first time seven years ago while we were still students at New York University, and it’s been so wonderful to be involved every year since! In the morning we taught the beginner track of workshops in which we introduced the group the 6-Count Swing, Partnered Charleston, Solo Vernacular Jazz, and the Swingout! In the evening we transitioned to a night of dancing and competitions of which we judged the competitions, and Brian was on the mic as emcee! Brian also had to step in last minute to perform in a choreography he created for the NYU Swing Kids, the NYU Swing Dance Society’s performance group. It was a remarkable evening, and was special in many ways. It is also so special to us as it marks Samantha’s Swing Birthday! A special note from directly from Samantha about her “Birthday”:
Yesterday was my 5th Swing Birthday! 5 years ago I dedicated myself to this dance, this music, this era after attending the NYU Intercollegiate Swing Exchange. At the time, Brian was a friend of mine at NYU as he was a fellow RA at the residence hall we lived in. I was a dance major at Tisch focusing on ballet and modern, and I decided I wanted to broaden my dance styles and expressed interest in taking class with him as he taught for the swing club on campus. I remember this day five years ago so very well! It was the first time I met Michael Jagger, Evita Arce, Jessi Patz, Felix Pitre, and Laura Jeffers, all who have since became great mentors, teachers, colleagues, and friends. I remember dancing a social dance in the evening with Michael even though at the time I really didn’t know a thing and I was tripping over my feet trying to figure out my single and triple steps… (thank you for having that amazing patience with eager, younger me, Michael!). All five took me under their wing into their dance companies and helped me become the dancer I am today. I am so very thankful for this day five years ago. It set me on a path I couldn’t have predicted otherwise. Here’s to continuing the tradition of inspiring others to pursue this dance for hobby, passion, career, and life!