Executive Team 2018

The Queen’s Swing Dance Club is excited about the upcoming 2018-2019 year. QSDC will be celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, and Meet in the Middle will be also celebrating its 5th anniversary. This year’s executive is comprised of undergraduates, graduate students, and two alumni. Our stories about why we joined QSDC originally are all diverse and different, but what remains the same is our love and passion for swing. Whether you are a student or a member of the Kingston community, we look forward to meeting you.

A photo of Jordan Brezer

Jordan Brezer

President of QSDC
3rd year student in Law
Favourite Swing Song: Valerie

“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, it’s how you learn and find your personal style.”

Jordan only joined swing dance last year, but he felt like giving back to the swing community that gave him so much. He was dragged out to QSDC by one of his good friends last September, and after that, he was hooked. His a-ha moment came when he stopped becoming concerned with mistakes. He says that “when you stop worrying about messing up, you stop messing up…you just discover new moves.”

A photo of Harry Chandrakumaran

Harry Chandrakumaran

Vice President – West Coast and Blues
Queen’s School of Medicine student
Favourite swing song: Way Down We Go – Kaleo

“There’s a moment in a dance where you and your partner are just reading each other perfectly. It happens rarely, but there are some dances where you feel in tune with every subtle movement, you are in sync with each other’s footwork, and where you both are smiling ear to ear. That’s is the greatest feeling you can feel in swing!”

Harry originally joined because like most things, it was due to peer pressure. 4 years ago, one of his dear friends dragged him to his first lesson, and he has been hooked ever since. Harry believes that swing dancing has been an important part of his life for the last few years. He has met some of his closest friends through swing dancing and has connected with people from around the world. Harry joined the club exec team to bring this joy of swing to others at Queen’s. His advice to new dancers is, “Be comfortable with looking stupid. Swing dancing is a fun, goofy, funny and funky dance. You have to be okay with looking like a goofball from time to time.”

A photo of Greg Hicks

Greg Hicks

Vice President – Lindy DISCO
Multiple-degree Queen’s alumni
Favourite swing song: Lavender Coffin – Lionel Hampton and his Orchestra

“Finding out that just walking cool-like is good enough sometimes.”

Greg currently works at the university as a clinical trial auditor. Greg Hicks has been dancing with the club for 5 years, but this is the first year he’s taken on an exec position. As the Lindy DISCO (Dance Instruction and Coordinator), Greg is responsible for organizing the Monday night dances. Furthermore, Greg is chair of this year’s Meet in the Middle sub-committee. Greg’s advice to new members is that “Feeling awkward and weird is a part of the process.”

A photo of Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke

Treasurer
Fourth year student in Languages, Literature, and Cultures
Favourite swing songs: The Shim Sham song, and any Nina Simone blues song.”

“Just go for it! Everyone sucks when they first start. If you don’t try and fail, you’ll never improve.”

Sam Cooke is a Languages, Literature, and Cultures student who will be away during the first term in China. She has been swing dancing for over 2 years and started dancing because she liked the music and wanted to give it a try. Sam likes the swing community and wanted to join this year’s QSDC executive to help keep the club going strong. Her most profound moment in swing was joining troupe. She says that it taught her moves that allowed her to focus on having fun in social dancing.

A photo of Jenn Li

Jenn Li

Secretary
First year Master’s student in Neuroscience
Favourite swing song: Too many to list and they change all the time

“Don’t worry too much about everything, just have fun!”

3 years ago, Jenn really wanted to start to dance and didn’t know where to go. She says that “ the swing community was great and everyone was so nice so I decided to stay.” Jenn, who also completed her undergraduate degree at Queen’s, decided to continue to help out with the Exec this year because she wanted to help out the swing community and be a part of its growth. Jenn’s most profound moment in swing was when she realized that “You are the harshest judge of yourself. If you stay in your head too much you can’t enjoy the dance.” Wise words indeed.

A photo of Elmar Tirta

Elmar Tirta

Web Master
Fourth year student in Computer Science
Favourite song: I have no favourite, but perhaps one day I’ll find a song I’ll fall in love with

“Ask people to dance, especially if you feel intimidated. No matter what your experience level is, it is always fun to dance with someone new.”

Elmar has been swing dancing for only one year, but has been very keen on joining the executive team and becoming involved with the swing community. He loves the QSDC and wants to to do whatever he can to help make it a better place.

A few years ago, Elmar saw the demos of swing at the Queen’s Sidewalk Sale and was fascinated by the dance and absolutely loved the music. He was so drawn to it that he joined and hasn’t looked back.

Elmar’s a-ha moment is a very poignant one that many have experienced. He says, “Personally, I’ve always felt a little bit body-conscious about myself. I’ve thought, ‘I don’t have upper body strength’, or ‘I’m a small guy’ , or ‘I am less than perfect.’ But, Queens Swing has showed me, in real time, the variety of body types that are healthy, happy, and normal! No one matches the platonic ideal of perfection, and it’s absolutely a blast dancing with whomever I meet! From tall men to small women, from small men to tall women, no matter what kind of body you wear, there is a person, who is worth loving, who is worth becoming friends with. It’s one of those things that has really helped me grow as a person, and I feel so much more comfortable being myself because of it. I’ve learned that no matter what you are, you are okay.”

A photo of Michael Li

Michael Li

Promotions
Chemistry graduate and Final Year Concurrent Education student
Favourite swing songs: This Can’t Be Love – Diana Krall | Kozukuri Baby – Kansas City Band

“The night after Meet-in-the-Middle, I was sitting in my apartment and realized that swing dance was something I wanted to do for a very long time!” 

Michael Li started dancing in the 2017-2018 academic year. A couple of members of QSDC encouraged him to come and try it out, and he’s incredibly glad he did. It wasn’t too long after joining that Michael fell in love with swing, and wanted to take a bigger part in helping out. Michael’s advice to new people starting swing is “Don’t be afraid to ask people to dance! There’s no such thing as mistakes, just happy accidents!”

A photo of Kim McFarlane

Kim McFarlane

Swing Rep – Organization
Multiple-degree Queen’s Alumni
Favourite swing song: Only the Good Die Young – Billy Joel | Feelin’ Good – Michael Buble

“Swing is not just dance. It’s also family. The people that I’ve met have become friends and have been there in the highs and lows.”

Kim McFarlane started swing dancing in April 2012 with QSDC and originally saw it as a form of socializing and exercise. Kim is a teacher in the Kingston area, and is proud to serve as your rep this coming year. Her intention to join the executive team was to bring a community voice to the table. Kim’s message to new members is “It gets better. Just keep going and keep coming back. I wasn’t going to come back after the first night but I was encouraged each week to keep trying, especially by my mother. Eventually, the lightbulb went off, and somehow I started getting it, and I realized ‘Hey, this is fun!’”