On Thursday, Sept. 21, Miami Activities and Programming (MAP) hosted a Taylor Swift dance party in Central Quad from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Somehow, Taylor Swift has risen to an even more successful place in pop culture over the last year than she ever had before. Between the success of her 2022 album “Midnights,” which sold over 1.578 million copies in its first week, her “Eras” tour being projected to gross over 2.2 billion dollars its North American leg alone, plus shows in South America, Europe, Asia and Australia, Swift has had quite the year.
At the same time, not all fans were able to participate in Swift’s recent tour. Many were unable to get tickets, and more didn’t even try due to the pricing of tickets and increase in hotel and food costs.
MAP’s decision to plan the Taylor Swift dance party event was influenced by all of these things, as well as a desire to provide widely-appealing entertainment for students. Maggie Hayes, the Director of Special Events at MAP, spoke about what went into planning this event.
“We ended up going with Taylor Swift because she was on her ‘Eras’ tour ... I figured coming back to school after that it would be really nice to relive that experience,” Hayes said.
Hayes also mentioned that she is a Swiftie, and her favorite album is “Fearless.”
Earlier in the week, MAP spent its Tuesday afternoon hosting a pop-up table to advertise the dance party outside Armstrong Student Center, passing out eras-themed cookies, flyers and MAP gear. The event was also advertised on Instagram.
The dance party took place in the northern section of Central Quad, where a DJ and his booth were set up for the evening. There were also several tables filled with water, lemonade, cookies and MAP items.
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Toward the left of the quad were 10 tables with chairs, where the majority of students initially congregated at the promise of friendship bracelet making supplies — an homage to the popular bracelet-trading fan project from Swift’s tour. Unfortunately, it seemed that there weren’t enough supplies for everyone, as the majority of students sat and chatted, waiting for the dancing to really begin.
There were four large red trash cans at the corners of the space, each of them with a printed-out image of one of Swift’s ex-boyfriends on them, including Joe Jonas, John Mayer and Jake Gylenhaal, as well as Swift’s rumored summer fling, The 1975 frontman Matty Healy. While this was a funny inside-joke for many Swifties, Swift herself has taken issue with centering her art and accomplishments around the people that she dates through music videos like “The Man.”
The first song of the night was “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince,” which is Swift’s opening number on her “Eras” tour. Though this song would typically build hype for “Cruel Summer,” a chart-topping fan favorite, the next several songs selected by the DJ included much sadder, slower numbers like “The Archer,” “champagne problems” and “Better Man.”
Ally Seacor, a junior accounting major whose favorite Taylor Swift album is her self-titled, spoke about the slow start to the event.
“It’s kind of sad … I love all Taylor Swift music so I’m not complaining, but it’s just slower than I expected,” Seacor said.
While attendees found their footing at the event, the energy of the night did pick up after a brief technical difficulty, with songs like “You Need To Calm Down,” “22” and “Shake It Off.” Groups ranging from four to 20 students clustered around the quad, singing and dancing carefreely until the event started to wrap up around 11 p.m.
Delaney Barrett, a junior English education major whose favorite Taylor Swift album is “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version),” said that the event meant a lot to her.
“I have been a Swiftie since I was 5 years old,” Barrett said. “I often felt like I grew up with [Taylor Swift] as I listened to her music.”
Barrett also mentioned that she found it beneficial to be at an event centered around Taylor Swift because of the way that her fans are treated on Miami’s campus at large.
“Honestly, I really love meeting fellow Swifties, I often see a lot of them wearing merch on campus,” Barrett said. “I will say, there is definitely some negativity and hostility towards us … we’re often made fun of and told we have bad taste in music, which is honestly very hurtful given that music is subjective.”
The evening came to a close with “Style,” a fan-favorite single off “1989,” one of Swift’s most successful albums to date. On Oct. 27, “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” will be released – and it seems Miami’s Swiftie community will celebrate once more.