Tyler Swing Thing brings community together through dance

“We are a community first and foremost.”
Tyler Swing Thing brings community together through dance
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 6:07 PM CDT|Updated: May. 24, 2023 at 7:14 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas dancing group offers lessons and forms bonds that last for years.

Tyler Swing Thing is an organization that teaches swing lessons with the intent to bring the community together. The organization was founded by California native Jerry Drake seven years ago. It’s been run by a board of volunteers for three years now.

“We are a community first and foremost and so a lot of us are actually friends outside of swing dancing we hang out, play games, board games, and things and go bowling outside of swing dancing as well,” said Jaime Rhodes, President and Dance Instructor of Tyler Swing Thing.

Rhodes said after COVID-19, she is glad that Tyler Swing Thing offers a space for the community to gather in a healthy and positive way.

“We think it brings the community together. Swing dancing is a physical activity, so it also helps with physical exercise, it also helps with emotional also because you get to come around people who love swing dancing,” said Rhodes.

The lessons take place at a dance studio in Tyler and costs $8 per person.

“We meet here at Artistic Dance Concepts in Tyler on the first and third Fridays of every month with a beginner lesson starting at 7:30 p.m. and a social dance from 8:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.,” said Rhodes.

The group also offers a variety of different types of swing dance.

“We dance East Coast swing, Charleston, lindy hot balboa, working on getting some collegiate Shaq going in the next year or so,” said Rhodes.

The group hosts free dance lessons on the second Thursday of every month at East Texas brewery, accompanied by UT Tyler Jazz band.