Kats Korner Spotlight

Bennett and Beth at Kats Korner, used with permission by Bennett Wood

Bennett and Beth at Kats Korner, used with permission by Bennett Wood

Jaime Faulkner, Editor In Chief, 2012-2013

Horizon Honors is known for the quirkiness of its students and their pastimes, so a recent dance craze for jazz and swing at our school isn’t exactly a surprise. A growing number of Horizonites have spent their Saturday nights at Kats Korner, a swing dancing club operating out of the New Horizon School for Performing Arts on Saturday nights. Kats Korner opened in 2002 in their current tiny venue, providing a select crowd of eager young dancers and skilled older folks a place to interact and learn from each other. Kats, as it’s called by regulars, has grown tremendously in the last few years, with lots of help from Horizon students. Stephanie Yamamoto, grade 12, has been swing dancing for the last three years. “Basically, I am addicted to swing dancing,” she explained. “It’s hard to focus on anything negative when you’re whirling around the dance floor. And it really isn’t as hard as it looks; you can get away with dancing the night away by knowing the basic step and turns.”

As for the growing number of her peers joining her on the dance floor, she said, “I just think Horizon kids are braver when it comes to trying things that are unconventional and new to them.” Bennett Wood, grade 10, is a new but devoted dancer. “I started attending the Kats Korner sometime in mid-September,” he told me. “The students at Horizon have been coming to Kats for a fun new experience and to learn something new!”

It’s certainly a learning process; every night at Kats starts out with a lesson at 7 o’clock where the club’s manager, Dabney Hopkins, gives a beginning lesson that builds into a new intermediate dance move each week. The lesson transitions into free dance, when the veterans arrive and mingle with new dancers. While Kats attracts a surprisingly young crowd, there are still plenty of older dancers who jived their way through the swing craze the first time around and have returned to help revive the scene. Wood expressed his excitement at what this means for the development of his own skills: “Personally, starting as a sophomore in high school is exciting because that means I can only improve from here. Some people who attend Kats are well into their 30’s or even their 40’s and 50’s. When I grow older, I want to be just like them.” Kats has hosted several competitions and events with live bands over the last few years, and celebrated their 13th birthday last month. Coming up soon is their 1950’s prom on May 11th, an event with a live Buddy Holly cover band and a jiving lesson from national swing champions. If you’re interested in giving Kats a swing, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Kats-Korner /331711830071?fref=ts and come find yourself on their dance floor.