Thursday, November 18, 2010

Swingin' at the Donkey.

I recently was asked to do an interview for my university newspaper, "Balaam's Donkey", and had the privilege of getting to work with a dear friend. Here are some excerpts from the article (read: I'm too busy this month to sit down and write any more than I already have ). It was good to have to write in a more formal style than I typically do here, though a bit frustrating. I've grown accustomed to using the words I like to say what I want, and it's hard for me to hear/see my writing style come out in this piece. It seems a bit...well, dry, but not in a "dry humor" sort of way (if you're reading this, Michelle, I don't blame you for editing it. ;)  ). A penny for your thoughts; if it helps, play some classic big band in the background while you read: 

Devoted readers of this fine newspaper are no doubt already familiar with Joshua Aitkenhead, the VP of Spiritual Life for Ambrose Student Council. But in addition to his heart for the Lord and desire to see others grow in faith, Joshua also has a passion for spreading joy through swing dancing, and I had the privilege of hearing about how he hopes to share all three with the Ambrose community. But what is swing dancing?

Traditionally done in rotating pairs, swing is a social dance. Rather than being itself a type of dance, swing combines many dances from the 1920s through to the 1940s such as the Lindy hop, the Charleston, Blues, Balboa and Jazz dancing. While the dancers are required to hold hands, swing is comparably low contact, using open formation, as opposed to the closed formation of other more traditional social dances. The eclectic nature of the dance, the simple core step, and the steady backbeat of the music allow for significant freedom and creativity, as well as being forgiving to people who are still learning. After declining in popularity through the 1960s, swing, or neo-swing, made a comeback in urban centers in the late 1990s and seems to once again be here to stay. Calgary is no exception, and swing has also caught the interest of some Ambrose students, Joshua in particular.

Kelsey: “How long have you been dancing, and what made you decide to start?”
Joshua: “Well, I went to my first actual swing dance event last November and started taking lessons at the UofC in January. I've wanted to do swing dancing since my freshman year, but I never had anyone to go with; last year a good friend told me about this (Swing Dance Calgary) and invited me along, so I went.”

Kelsey: “Why swing?”
Joshua: “It just looked fun. Besides I do like to suit up and swing dance encourages that! Also a lot of other types of dances were just too intimate.”

Kelsey: “I have heard you are hoping to start up a Swing Dance club at Ambrose, what do you envision for this potential club, and why have one here?”
Joshua: “Well, first off, I want to spread the love of dance to the students of Ambrose.
Dancing is not only a great way to socialize and work out, but also a great way to have fun without spending a lot of money. Secondly, I want to have people see that dancing can be done as worship and can teach us about our relationship with God. I long for the days when God will lead me perfectly in a wonderful dance where I can show off His majesty without taking away what He has made me to be. Ask me how I feel when I dance.”

Kelsey: “Um...Joshua, how do you feel when you dance?”
Joshua: “I feel like I am living out a beautiful existence. I feel like I am doing something for the woman I am dancing with in that when I execute a move she ends up looking great and I am overwhelmed by the smile that appears on her face. Because it means that whatever is going on right now in her life, she is happy in that moment, and whatever is going on in my life, I am happy that I brought joy to someone else!”

Kelsey: “Why should students care about this group?”
Joshua: “Why? Students should care for a couple reasons: One, not all of us can sing and yet music is prevalent in our worship services. Sometimes I just dance in order to worship in a service (or at least bob up and down). Secondly, dancing is one of the things that are mentioned in the Bible as being a legit worship experience, but Christians often seem to say it’s wrong. I believe Jesus wants to redeem dancing to what it was supposed to be! And most importantly, it’s a lot of fun!”


Stephen said...

nice job, it's certainly better than most letters to the editor in the Star Tribune :)

Kelsey Sturm said...

I'll take that as a compliment, low though the standard you're comparing it to may be. ;)

Courtney said...

I appreciate this post a lot Kelsey! Love love love it! I love all the thoughts on swing dancing. And it was great to read it from a guy's perspective. So thanks for reposting it! ;)

Joshua T. Aitkenhead said...

Hey I remember this! Would you mind if I posted our little chat in my blog (and possibly facebook)?

Kelsey Sturm said...

@Courtney: Glad you enjoyed it! Feel free to come join us dancing anytime. ;)

@ Joshua: Dude, you're in it. Feel free to post it wherever you see fit.

Joshua T. Aitkenhead said...

gonna post it on a bathroom wall.

Kelsey Sturm said...

Do it.