Jitterbug fever hits the Catholic Campus Parish

Tanya Marsh

Tanya Marsh

Newbies and old pros alike convened in the Catholic Campus Parish (CCP) basement Thursday, Oct. 28, for a night of alternative fun: jitterbugging.

Around 60 dance enthusiasts filled the basement for the free informal lessons and dance, which pleased organizers.

“We’re trying to offer things on Thursday nights to counteract drinking,” said CCP Chaplin Father Paul Rutten. “We thought if we offered something fun and free, people would come here instead of going to party – and it looks like it worked.”

Though the large crowd spelled success to organizers, it made the lessons less than ideal.

“It’d be better if they could be somewhere where we can see them,” said freshman Erin Hoyer, dancing with her partner at the edge of the room, far from the demonstration.

Still, she and the partners she danced with didn’t seem to be struggling. They twirled across the floor with ease because of their past experience in high school in Rapid City.

“[In high school] 12 of us were bored over the winter so we learned how to jitterbug,” said Hoyer, an occupational therapy major.

Despite previous experience, she came to the lessons to learn some new moves, a different style and to teach her boyfriend who, being from Sioux Falls, missed out on the Rapid City learning.

Another dancer also came to catch up with his girlfriend’s dance skills.

Freshman Mike Hartung came with friends so he could take his girlfriend, who lives in Grand Forks, dancing.

“My girlfriend knows how to jitterbug already, and she’s really good. I need to learn,” he said.

Other boys came because of their own interest.

Senior Matt Larson and his girlfriend sophomore Erin Appletoft came together, but Larson took the credit.

“It was my idea, actually,” the mechanical engineering major said. “I like jitterbugging.”

Appletoft was hardly drug along.

“My favorite part was getting sweaty with my boyfriend,” she said with a laugh.

Finding a place to practice the new moves can be tricky, dancers agreed. Dance DJs are often unwilling to play suitable music, prompting Larson to joke that he’ll use his skills “in class” and leading sophomore Charles Maude to speculate about jitterbugging with his girlfriend and dance partner freshman Jessie Oyler at their wedding dance.

The DJ for CCP’s jitterbug evening was Steve Devney, a sophomore who began his Hoppin’ Music DJ service this summer. Besides spinning discs, Devney was watching and practicing.

“At all of the events [I DJ] I’m kind of learning as we go, so when I get to be a senior I’ll know how to jitterbug,” he said.

CCP might host more jitterbug dances where Devney and others can polish their skills, but a variety of events are on the agenda for the group’s Thursday nights.

Seth Zilverberg, junior and CCP Pastoral Council president, said, “We’d love for people to come here and have a good time and have a healthful activity for a Thursday night.”

Upcoming Thursdays at 9 p.m., the CCP will offer a Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournament, a “Survivor” night and board games.

Fellow junior and Pastoral Councilor Patrick Andera summed it up this way: “We’re trying to show people that there’s more than just mass.”