Dance is everywhere. Our TV screens and Twitter feeds are saturated with Miley twerking, Taylor Swift “shaking it off,” and Beyonce achieving perfection. Abby Lee Miller yells at talented little girls on Dance Moms. So You Think You Can Dance always seems to find its way into late-night Youtube binges, and Instagram feeds are cluttered with Christmas trips to The Nutcracker.
In our everyday lives, however, “dancing” rarely means much more than alcohol-induced bouncing on a frat party dance floor. “Real dance,” so to speak, can feel intimidating and inaccessible, but it doesn’t have to. Eugene is full of opportunities to move dance beyond the TV set, and there are options for just about everyone. Follow this guide to spice up your weekend routine, plan a unique date, or just try something new!
Eugene Swing Dance Club
When: Monday nights
Where: The Vet’s Club — 1626 Willamette St.
Extend your weekend (and reward yourself for surviving Monday morning) with a quirky blast from the past! The Eugene Swing Dance Club takes over the Vet’s Club every Monday for a night full of good, old-fashioned fun. A non-profit volunteer organization, the ESDC’s mission is to “enrich Eugene’s dance community and to promote west coast swing,” through this weekly event.
Beginner lessons by experienced instructors begin at 7 p.m., with additional class options for more experienced dancers. Open dancing to a wide variety of music is from 8-10:30 p.m. The evening costs $5 for members or students and $7 for the general public, but your first time is free! All skill levels and backgrounds are welcome, and no partner is necessary.
When: Seven nights a week, dance floor Wednesday-Sunday.
Where: 62 W. Broadway
If hitting the bars is more your style, check out Cowfish Bar in downtown Eugene. Wednesday through Sunday, this bar hosts a wide variety of DJs and attracts a “diverse crowd of dancing souls.” The unique, high-energy atmosphere is worth the trip downtown and highlights the way social dance can be so much more than a glorified mating ritual — it’s a form of self-expression. Themed dance nights like “Everything Thursday,” “Freek-Nite,” and Sunday’s “Keep Your Clothes On Variety Show” keep things interesting and are a nice alternative to house parties or the usual campus bars. Pay the cover charge, buy a drink and you’re ready to dance the night away.
Celebration Belly Dance Studio
When: Times vary
Where: 1840 Willamette St.
Step outside your comfort zone and give belly dancing a try! Celebration Studio offers classes at a variety of times and levels, with pricing options for drop-in and multi-week sessions. Try the Total Beginner Belly Dance Sampler course on Thursdays from 5:20-6:20 p.m. The cost is $65 for a six week session, or $15 for drop-ins. Another course, Basics of Bellydance, is on Tuesdays from 8-9:15 p.m. and costs $48 for a four-week session. Celebration Studio instructors are trained in a wide range of belly dance styles, and the studio offers classes in other movement disciplines as well, from lindy hop to yoga. Visit http://celebrationbellydanceandyoga.com for more classes and information.
Salseros Dance Company: Salsa Dance Fridays
When: Friday nights
Where: The Vet’s Club — 1626 Willamette St.
For just $5 you can salsa your Friday night away at the Vet’s Club, thanks to Salseros, a local professional salsa company. Similar to Monday’s swing dancing, this event begins with a lesson at 9 p.m. (doors open at 8:45 p.m.) Open dancing to a live band starts at 10 p.m., and there’s a bar on site. As with the Swing Dance Club event, no experience or partner is necessary!
In addition to Salsa Dance Fridays, Salseros offers group classes and private lessons at its studio, also located at the Vet’s Club. As an ensemble, Salseros performs throughout Oregon, and more information about both performances and lessons can be found at www.salseros.com.
University of Oregon Dance Classes
When: Times vary by term
Where: Locations vary
Get your dance fix without leaving campus! The School of Music and Dance offers recreational dance classes for credit at a variety of levels. Beginner-level classes in jazz, modern, ballet and tap are all available for winter term. Unique options like African and Chinese dance are offered as well. For more serious students, the SOMD also offers both a minor and major in dance. If you want less commitment (and optional attendance), try the Top 40 and Zumba classes at the newly remodeled SRC and incorporate dance into your workout routine. Check out the UO class schedule and SRC website for more information on both options.