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Carolina Swing Dance: An On-Campus Experience You Never Knew You Needed 

April 13, 2023 |

By Sophia Raspanti 

Most UNC students relate Phillips Hall to difficult math problems and overwhelming physics lectures, but for a small group of students, Phillips transforms into a spirited dance hall in the evenings. As night falls on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the sounds of lively jazz music can be heard from Phillips room #385, as students are transported back to the 1920s for an hour of swing dance. It’s hidden spaces like these that encapsulate the vibrant experience of campus living; but, it’s truly the students of Carolina Swing Dance that make evenings in Phillips so magical.  

While many students new to dance may feel initial hesitation, the student leaders of Carolina Swing Dance make comfort and confidence a priority, creating a warm and welcoming environment for everyone. “There’s no partner or experience necessary!” club president and graduating senior Nita Prabhu states on Heellife, “Just bring your lovely self and a can-do attitude!” 

“We don’t have strong rules here… you don’t have to be a dancer, you don’t have to be particularly good at it,” laughs Casey Lepley, an assistant teacher of Carolina Swing Dance Club, “We’re here for an hour to put our phones away, talk to people, learn something, and overall de-stress.” True to her words, every and all students are welcomed with open arms to dance, swing, and meet students with similar interests.  

While many students regularly attend the club for lessons and dance, many curious students studying late in Phillips also pop their heads in from time to time. Some club members have recollected on their chance discovery of Carolina Swing, which is a testament to one of the many joys of living on campus: unexpected but exciting discoveries and a chance to try something you may have never done before. “I feel like Carolina Swing Dance fits into the Carolina Community because it is open for everyone regardless of your experience,” Casey laughs, referring to a handful of students hard at work who take a few moments to enjoy the music and dance.  

Additionally, due to the evening meeting time, many students living in on-campus residence halls are happy that Phillips is just around the corner! In a funny coincidence, all of the student leaders of Carolina Swing live on campus, most of them only a 5 to 10-minute walk away.  

In addition, the social aspects of Carolina Swing offer a nice opportunity for students to meet, connect, and make new friends. Many of the students involved also hold other important roles on campus, including leading other clubs, or working as Residence Hall Advisors in nearby living communities.  

The students of Carolina Swing reminisced on how the club has brought them together, with Annie Veum and Maddie Behnke, both assistant teachers who are planning on leading the club next year, reminisced on how their close friendship blossomed through swing dance. Club president Nita Prabhu recollected on how her freshman year roommate introduced her to the world of swing, which has become a meaningful part of her experience at UNC.  

As the semester draws to a close, the students of Carolina Swing have begun to prepare for leadership changes and an exciting new year. However, there are still many evenings left in the semester for students that would like to experience swing in Phillips #385.   

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