Phillip Kunz (right) teaching a basic swing dance at Royal City Swing’s New Year’s Eve party. (Royal City Swing photo)

Cloverdale banker shares his love of swing dancing

Cloverdale’s Phillip Kunz shows dancing newcomers how to get into the swing of things

For Phillip Kunz, 2017 went out with a swing.

He stood in the centre of a long hall with his dance partner, wearing suspenders, a newsboy cap and a headset microphone. A circle of onlookers stood poised around them, each partnered and prepared to learn a little swing.

Kunz took his partner’s hand and began to dance. Slowly.

Their feet moved: rocking back, then stepping. Coming closer, they stepped to the side. Then the other side. And again. His audience followed; some awkwardly, some expertly.

Kunz continued. Rock, step, step, step; and again. His hands moved for the first time, pulling his partner in towards him. Then a spin, a sultry sashay up the dance floor, a pivot, and a walk back.

There was no music — it was a demonstration and introduction for newbies in the crowd. When he finished, the swing music came on and the dancers hit the floor.

“It looks formal nowadays, because comparing it to club dancing, it obviously looks much more structured,” Kunz, 31, said about swing dancing. “But for its time, it was considered the very casual dance.”

Plus, he added, “everyone that does it has a really good time.”

That was clear on Dec. 31, during Royal City Swing’s New Year’s Eve party, where sprightly men spun dressed-up ladies around the floor. Kunz, after his role as teacher was over, demonstrated the moves he had learned in his five and a half years since he started dancing.

A lanky Cloverdale banker — a commercial account manager for agriculture at BMO — Kunz doesn’t look like a natural jitterbug.

“People who know me through work can’t picture me dancing,” he said. “I’m pretty reserved probably, so I guess it’s a bit of a shocker for people that know me.”

But he always had the itch for dancing, and five and a half years ago decided to give it a shot. By happenstance, he landed in the swing dance community.

“For about the first month, it was a labour of love,” Kunz said. “It still is, I’m not a natural at all … So it was a lot of people being very kind to me, and patient and encouraging. And that’s why I kind of stuck with it.

“That, and I loved it right away, even though I couldn’t do it.”

Although he first started in Abbotsford at Suburban Swing, he eventually started dancing with New Westminster’s Royal City Swing. For a while, Kunz was dancing every weekend night: Fridays in New Westminster, Saturdays in Vancouver and Sundays in Abbotsford.

“If you’re really into it, you can dance almost every night,” he said. “It’s kind of like a little counterculture.”

Every night is a big commitment, however, and Kunz has downgraded his dancing days to just Friday nights, although he has upgraded his skill level.

“I don’t remember the date or the time, but I can remember feeling like I was in control of certain moves and actually being able to decide ‘I want to do this’ and have it go with the song,” Kunz said. “It doesn’t always work — it’s touch and go — but when it does work it feels pretty good.”

Now, Kunz is practiced enough to teach different swing dances during Royal City Swing’s Friday gatherings. He doesn’t do it often — he’s only taught a handful of times — but he loves it. His next lesson is on Jan. 26, and Kunz is inviting people to come try it.

“The music is incredible, and just the whole vibe and atmosphere whenever you walk into a lively dance,” he said.

“The first class is definitely the most intimidating, because you’re coming not knowing anything. But if it’s like me and it grabs you right away, you fall in love with it and stick with it and see where it takes you.”

Kunz will be leading the beginner lesson on Friday, Jan. 26, from 7:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The floor then opens up for dancing until 11:45 p.m. Royal City Swing is located at the Sapperton Pensioners Hall, 318 Keary Street. For more information, visit www.royalcityswing.com.



editor@cloverdalereporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Spreading Christmas cheer around Aldergrove

Easing the pains and difficulties of hard times is ‘reason for the season’

120 turn up for Aldergrove blood clinic

More volunteer help welcomed by Canadian Blood Services

VIDEO: Langley Olympians host intra club meet

Some swimmers hope to set new club records

Dear Santa

Here’s a selection of letters to Santa from Langley children. Watch for more in during the holidays.

Candy Cane Run rolls through Murrayville in Langley

Annual food bank fundraiser by firefighters

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Boeser has 2 points as Canucks ground Flyers 5-1

WATCH: Vancouver has little trouble with slumping Philly side

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

Hundreds attend Hells Angels funeral in Maple Ridge

Body of Chad John Wilson found last month face-down under the Golden Ears Bridge.

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Gas prices to climb 11 cents overnight in Lower Mainland

Hike of 17 cents in less than 48 hours due to unexpected shutdown of Washington state pipeline

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

Most Read