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Weekly swing event continues to attract hundreds, even with shifting locations

Grand Rapids Original Swing Society continues to provide opportunities for swing dancing downtown every Tuesday night from 7-10 p.m.

Every Tuesday night during the summer from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m., swing dancing takes place in various locations, including Rosa Parks Circle. Steve Zaagman brings thousands of people from different Grand Rapids neighborhoods together with free swing dancing.

"Ten years ago a girl I liked asked me to teach a class at a college with her," Zaagman says. "It started out with 20 people and continued to grow over the years."

In recent years swing dancing was only held in Rosa Parks Circle, but due to a variety of issues, Zaagman had to relocate.  

"The biggest thing about having Swing at Rosa Park Circle is that it attracts people who aren't there to dance," Zaagman says. Contrary to popular belief, Zaagman clarifies, Swing was not relocated because of unruly crowds. Though it is a part of it, Zaagman explains that the cost of holding events at Rosa Parks Circle is extremely high.

The swing dancing event has been titled the largest swing dancing in the world. In 2012, 756 people came together to be a part of a Guinness world record for swing dancing.

"Swing is a really an amazing event and I look forward to it every week," Olivia Harrington, a regular to the event, says. "It has been insane to see it grow over the years. Even though it is in a different location every week I think it gets people more excited because it's a change of scenery."

Zaagman looks forward to the growing future of swing, with hopes of expanding. Currently Swing is mostly held at the Blue Bridge because it is not as expensive and there is a lot of space. Zaagman wants to "keep the event free" so accommodating and changing locations is essential, he says. Zaagman is currently looking for sponsors, and has a donation box floating around throughout the event.

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