Welcome back to the latest edition in this series where we chat with swing dancers, young and old (in their dance journey!), and learn more about who they are in the dance scene and outside.
This month we're featuring musician, dog-dad, and fellow dancer, Ridwan!
We chatted with Ridwan to learn about how we started dancing, his advice to newcomers, and more.
Q. Hi Ridwan! Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Ridwan: Hi I'm Ridwan! Having grown up in Belfast, I moved to Cambridge ten years ago to study and now work in the city. Music has always been a big part of my life - to listen, play (and now dance to!)
Q. What styles of swing dance do you dance?
Ridwan: I dance Lindy Hop, Collegiate Shag, and Balboa.
Q. How did you start dancing Lindy Hop?
Ridwan: It started with a wedding in Poland where, as the Polish do, I danced until the sun came up. That was the spark that made me want to learn how to dance "properly" (whatever that meant). A friend mentioned that swing dancing was really fun and friendly. I took her advice and gave it a try.
Shortly after that, I took my first lesson which was in Cambridge in October 2022, so it's been over a year of dancing!
Q. What was the turning point, where you knew you’d love swing dancing and there was no turning back?
Ridwan: It happened quite quickly, just a few months after I had started. I found myself staying until the very end of every dance evening! Also, I started counting down the days until the next dance event and trying to find any excuse to dance some more 🙈
Q. What is it that you enjoy most about swing dancing?
Ridwan: It's just really fun! I like finding a way to make my partner laugh. I enjoy the playful aspect as well as the feeling of connecting with another person and just vibing.
Q. How has swing dancing influenced or impacted your life outside of dancing?
Ridwan: Dancing has improved my confidence. I used to struggle with social anxiety from time to time, but dancing has helped me to become much more relaxed and at ease in uncomfortable situations.
Dancing has also given me more insight into musical expression. It's taught me how I can be more deliberate when I perform music when I want to express certain feelings as I learn how others feel the music too.
Q. What do you like about the dance community in Cambridge?
Ridwan: I like that the Cambridge swing dance community is really friendly. It feels like a lot of people working very hard to make sure everyone has a good time and providing the means for people to enjoy themselves. I like that they have plenty of taster sessions for lesser-known kinds of swing dancing too.
Q. What advice would you give to someone interested in starting their own Lindy Hop journey?
Ridwan: Nobody starts as a great dancer. You will have bad dances. Focus on the good moments and having a good time, rather than technical perfection. It will get better with time, I promise!
[Editor’s note: You can learn about our classes, workshops and more on the Cambridge Swing Dance’s website.]
We hope you enjoyed that piece and getting to know more about one of the dancers from our scene!
Swing dance is fun and easy to get started with Cambridge Swing Dance.