Dancers 'sizzle,' swing at Sugar on Top event

Collegian Photo By: Kelley KingErin Blose (freshman-secondary education) swing dances with Eric Margusity (freshman-graphic design) at Sugar on Top Thursday night.


The Sizzle Sticks and the Penn State Swing Dance Club took over Sugar On Top, 121 1/2 E. Beaver Ave., Thursday night with moves that swept attendees off their feet.

Jennie Lavine, clarinetist of the local swing band the Sizzle Sticks, planned the swing-dancing event.

“I walked in [Sugar On Top] one day, and I saw how the floor was a perfect set-up for something like this,” Lavine (graduate-biology) said, adding she likes to support local businesses in any way she can.

Last night’s event was the debut performance for the Sizzle Sticks, Lavine said. The band formed a few months ago.

“The members of our band are already great by themselves, but in the past few months, we have been able to work well together,” she said.

The band, which features guitarist Stacy Glen Tibbetts, bassist Andre La Velle and violinist Jeff Yelton, covers swing music from the 1920s to the 1940s, Lavine said.

They also played an original song from Tibbetts’ upcoming album “Out on the Town,” set to be released on Dec. 8.

Tibbetts said the song from the album that the band played, “Little Black Thing,” is about a woman getting dressed up to go out for a night of fun.

“It’s such an honor and privilege to play my own music,” Tibbetts said.

“And having other people play my music is an even bigger honor.”

Andrew Selzer, a co-president of the Swing Dance Club, said swing dancing is a very sociable experience and a great alternative to a typical college party.

“Plus, cupcakes don’t give you hangovers,” Selzer said, referring to Sugar On Top’s cupcakes.

Club member Stephanie Helmick (junior-art education) said one of the first things she learned in swing dancing was how to read her partner’s body and movements.

“The girl normally [follows], so it’s almost like we are a shopping cart,” she said.

“We just have to follow wherever the guy leads us and feel the emotion he feels.”

Elaine Meder-Wilgus, owner of Webster’s Café, said she was happy with the turnout for the event.

“I can’t keep still when I see the students dancing,” Meder-Wilgus said. “They make it look so easy.”

Gina Domenick, baker for Sugar On Top and Sweet-Gees, said she didn’t know so many students were interested in swing music and enjoyed dancing to it.

Swing Dance Club member David Smith (junior-physical education) said he came from a football practice to the swing dance event.

“It’s a cheap workout, and it’s a lot of fun,” Smith said. “It’s great because [the Swing Dance Club] accepts any level of dancers.”

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