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Archive of Dance Forum Articles From June, 1999
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Trip to Chicago
Hi Frank and Carole,
I went out Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and saw a different band each night. The Chicago-local bands that I saw are roughly between 7 and 10 members strong; the musicians are in the 20 to 40 year old range and are quite good. The bands usually feature a male as well as a female vocalist. Covers range from $5 to $8. National acts play as well, but with so much competition, the covers for these acts are lower than they are around here. For example, Indigo Swing played Liquid a month ago for around $15 cover.
There are venues in the city and in the suburbs. Liquid is a very popular place in the city for swing dancing. It has a floor about 2x the size of Lulu's. It used to be a country western dance bar, but switched to swing last year. They have dancing every night of the week, and give free passes away Thursday and Friday nights, good for free admission on subsequent Thursday and Friday nights. So I paid cover on Thursday, got a free pass as I left, which I used Friday night to get in free. Then as I left Friday, I got another free pass. Too bad I had a Saturday flight!
Liquid is a great place. I saw the Vanguard Aces, the Riff Rockets, and the Rhythm Rockets play there. The Rhythm Rockets were my favorite; they have a big horn section. They also have incredible stamina; on Friday they played from 9PM to 1:30PM. Liquid has a cadre of good Lindy dancers, a sizeable East Coast (six count) swing community, and a lot of beginners. Though it is well attended weekday evenings, it usually thins out by 11PM. It supposedly gets real crowded during the weekends though. They only give out glasses of water if you buy some other drink first; their pineapple juice is pretty good.
Another place to dance on Friday is in the coffee bar at the University of Chicago. They clear out the tables and chairs to give a space about the size of the Chevy Chase Ballroom. The coffee bar has a nice wooden floor, and solid looking granite counter tops. The guys who organize this and spin the CDs know some of DC's more popular local dancer/ performers from a visit they made to our area recently. They recommend a place I didn't get to go to, the Logan Square Auditorium; they say it has a big, big floor and that a lot of good dancers hang out there. The folks who dance at the University of Chicago seem to be powered by some form of mysterious energy; they are indefatigable, and have a radiant glow. After the UC event ended at 12PM, I went uptown to Liquid, where the Rhythm Rockets played until 1:30AM.
Another place in Chicago that has bands is the Green Mill. This is where Al Capone used to hang out. The dance floor here is real small though, so I didn't stay to hear the band that was playing Tuesday night, but went to Liquid instead. On Wednesday night, I checked out The Hot House; it was only a couple of blocks from my downtown hotel. It is a nice elegant looking place, but they were going to start the band an hour or so late, so I went to Frankie's Blue Room instead. Frankie's Blue Room is in a town in the west suburbs of Chicago called Naperville, 35 minutes from the downtown loop area. I had a lot of fun at FBR; there was a large number of good Lindy dancers, a good band, good dance partners, and free water. The floor is about the size of the CCB. There are a number of other places to go in the suburbs, but I didn't get to check them out due to lack of time. One place I wanted to check out was the downtown Congress Hotel, where Benny Goodman, the King of Swing, played a six month show, way back when. Unfortunately, they didn't have anything special to commemorate the event, other than a general "famous people have been here" plaque.
Things are different in Chicago. People seem friendlier. You order pop instead of soda; you do a swingout, instead of a whip. Bottles of seltzer water cost $1 in the supermarket, not 50 cents. And while I love DC for all of its big band swing dances, Chicago has DC beat big time in the sheer quanity and quality of its popular and cheap live band weekday dance venues. Its a great place to have a swing dance vacation!
2. Lessons At Nick's
Everyone's seen that fabulous Hollywood-style Lindy that was first introduced to our area by Eric and Sylvia last year. Steve Bailey and Carla Heiney will start teaching beginner Hollywood-style Lindy at Nick's Nightclub in Alexandria, Virginia! The class is every Thursday night starting June 17, 8 to 9 p.m. The cost is the $96 for the 8-week series; open dancing with the DJ from 9 to 11 p.m. is free to class members and $5 for others. Learn this great style from two of the very best! You must be an intermediate-level dancer to take this class.
3. Lessons at Bailey's
Dana Larson and Larry MacDonald will be teaching Lindy and Collegiate Shag at Bailey's Tavern starting on June 24. Cost is $48 for a six-week course offered from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday evenings, June 24, July 1, July 8, 22, 29, and August 5. No class on July 15 due to Indigo Swing dance. Make-up sessions available. Cost includes drop-in lesson 8:30 - 9 p.m. and dancing to DJ Ben Rathbone from 9 to 11:30 p.m.
The classes will cover the fundamentals of both Savoy and Hollywood Style slotted swing outs, basic moves of Collegiate Shag, and fun transitions to use in going from Collegiate Shag to Lindy. Students should be familiar with basic 8-count lindy. No experience necessary for Collegiate Shag.
To register, send check to Larry MacDonald at the following address and show up at Bailey's on June 24!:
Arlington, Virginia 22201
Be sure to provide return address and phone number with your payment. For questions, call Larry at (703) 243-2059.
Balboa Class Cancelled!
It is, of course, very heartwrenching for us to cancel these classes. We were looking forward to teaching them, and we know that you were looking forward to learning Balboa from us. But we felt that it was better to tell you now, then to make the decision after the first class. This way, you have more time to find an alternative. We hope that this decision will not discourage you from taking a class with us in the future.
For those of you who sent me checks, I will void the checks and mail them back to you this week.
Deb and I did realize that there were some risks associated with changing the night from Tuesday to Thursday, and the location from Maryland from Virginia, and in offering a class over the summer. So we will still consider offering Balboa I and II classes in the fall. Whether we do so will depend on how many email expressions of interest we get. We would also like to know what people think as to which would be the best night (or at least, acceptable nights) for the class, and whether it is better to offer it in Maryland, D.C., or Virginia.
This August we will be studying directly with Balboa great Maxie Dorf. So, come Fall, we should have even more to offer the D.C. swing dance community.Iver and Deb
Grand Opening of the Mood Swingin' Supper Club
Whether you like to Dance, or Dine, the Latin Palace is for you! The largest building (25,000 sq. ft.) in Fells Point, The Latin Palace, has an abundance of attributes that will entertain anyone. From the Five Star Chef in the kitchen, to the gargantuous dance floor, you can select one of TWO floors that best accomodate your Sunday experience...no matter whether you're in the mood for dining or just to dance.
The highly elevated stage is ideal for both upstairs and downstairs enjoyment. While downstairs, relax in comfortable lounge style seating, and dance your hearts out on the HUGE dance floor. Doors open at 5:00 PM Mood Swings Big Band performs from 6pm to 9pm. Cover charge is $10 More information: Call 410-252-4924 or 410-522-6700
The Latin Palace is located at 509 S. Broadway near the corner of Eastern Avenue and Broadway in Fells Point, MD. Guests currently must be 21 years of age or older with valid ID.
Footnote to our Toronto Visit
In the first case, I am the third of the six children of William McElcheran, whose public work of sculpture you featured in your article, and who passed away as you noted on the 13th day of February 1999. Bill McElcheran was an artist of note in Canada and internationally, as well as an architect, urban planner, musician, man of letters, and really lousy businessman. He is sorely missed.
The second intersection is the triumphant progress of the mighty Maple Leafs of Toronto from the venerable Maple Leaf Gardens to the shiny new Air Canada Centre which you witnessed. I marched beside my daughter with the only females involved in the parade, the Swansea Girls Hockey Association from west end Toronto. I am glad that you enjoyed your visit to my city, and hope that you have the opportunity to return. You obviously took the time to explore beyond the CN Tower, Skydome, and the Eaton's Centre, however There is lots more to see.
Lindy Hopping Mountain Climbers Wanted
Lindy in San Francisco (approx Sept 17); camp under the stars and hike to summit of Mt. Whitney (basecamp by Sept 19, dance on summit Sept 23, return to SF by weekend). Need to recruit 1-3 "dancing sherpas" with backpacking/strong backs and camping experience by beginning of July for the team. Take a week off work the third week of September and get a plane ticket out to San Francisco (take advantage of current fare wars) for an incredible way to get a head start on the millenium while also helping to make a difference. Sleeping bags, tent, major gear donated for mission by wellknown sporting goods outlet, other angel sponsors and proceeds from "unplugged" benefit concert afternoon Aug 28.
In memory of my youngest brother Steve, who was killed by a 31-yr-old woman drunk driver, when he was only 33: Mt. Whitney summit vision. storytelling through creative action rather than abstract reports and numbers. Brothers, sisters, friends are still killed every day in this country -- when someone as popular as my brother is killed, the equivalent of a planeload of 400 people or more are affected. Planeloads of people going down every 23 minutes, one person is killed by a drunk driver every 23 minutes. Here's what makes this spiritual fun, swing dancing on the tallest mountain in the united states as a symbol of how to LIVE. Creative risks vs risks that can be avoided. With fun and laughter and pushing boundaries and creative joy. Mt. Whitney: 14,496 feet=23 in numerology. You have to enter a lottery just to get a permit to climb Mt. Whitney, incredibly hard to get. Not only did I win the lottery, I got a permit which allows summit on the crash anniversary--September 23. With a full moon scheduled to be overhead as we leave from basecamp lot #23. No tears or victim mentality allowed, rather something joyful and athletic since he was an amazing athlete and best known for his laughter. The last thing he was doing before he got a ride home from the wrong person was DANCING.
All age groups except for 21-35 yr old have changed their driving behaviors in last ten yrs, and fatalities numbers have gone done in all age groups except for this age group. In the 20 and 30-something age group, alcohol-related fatalities have gone UP in the last five years.
Fidgety Feet Classes
Only one more week until the Fidgety Feet classes! We're getting lots of inquiries, but the main message is that yes, there still is room--even in the most popular Alley-Oop Aerials class. Here's a quick rundown of what's happening:
Swell Swing Techniques for the Hep Cat
We're a selfish pair because we really want to work with people to improve their swing dancing. Then, we'll all have better folks to dance with! This class is great for the dancer who has learned a lot of moves, but wants to know how to look better and lead and follow better. Whether you're a fairly new dancer or more seasoned, you'll finish this class a more sought-after dance partner. Also, if a couple signs up for both Alley-Oop Aerials and Swell Swing, they can take this class at the same rate as the aerials class($90/couple). That's a huge savings!
Cost: $75/person for 6-week class, or $90/couple for those also signed up for Alley-Oop Aerials. Classes start June 17.
Beginning Hollwood Swing for the Intermediate Level Lindy
No one in the D.C. area--let me repeat--no one knows and does the Hollywood style as well as Jeff Booth and Nina Gilkenson. Just watch them dance--they're incredible! Moreover, they are fabulous teachers (they're even coaching the Fidgety Feet team in this style right now--as our next performance routine will be in the Hollywood style). Jeff and Nina will take you through basic and complex moves, focusing on balance, execution and styling. If you're hungry for Hollywood, this is THE class to take.
Cost: $95/person for 8-week class. Classes start June 15.
Beginning Lindy Hop
Matt Smiley and Gretta Thorn came to Fidgety Feet last year as fairly green swing dancers--but just look at them now! They are proof positive that anyone can smoke the dance floor in just a short amount of time. They've designed a beginner swing class to get you there.
Cost: $95/person for 8-week class. Classes start June 15.
Cool aerials--many of which have not been taught in other area classes. These are not ballroom aerials but wild, punchy aerials the send both the guy and gal upside down. Get out in the swing jam or wow your friends. Designed for intermediate level dancers and above. You must have a partner to take this class.
Cost: $90/couple for 6-week class. Classes start June 14.
Fidgety Feet and D.C. Dance Collective are pleased to announce its first classes with visiting instructors from the famed Swedish dance troupe, Basie's Bunch.
Basie's Bunch specializes in dances from Harlem during the 1920's and 1930's e.g. Charleston, Lindy Hop and Blues--featuring everything from the wild, uptempo and acrobatic to tuxedo-dressed, stylish Fred Astaire-inspired numbers. Count Basie is the troupe's greatest inspiration, thus the name, Basie's Bunch. Many in the group compete in Lindy Hop, and five of Sweden's ten best couples are part of the group. Basie's Bunch is made up of both younger and older members--proof that Lindy Hop is a joy for all ages. Basie's Bunch will be offering two Lindy Hop classes at D.C. Dance Collective, the new home of D.C.'s own Lindy Hop troupe, Fidgety Feet. Classes will be held Sunday, June 27 in the late afternoon (so as not to interfere with the Art Deco Show!). Classes are:
Cost to register is just $12 per class. To register, please send check to D.C. Dance Collective, 4908 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20016. You may also call the studio and pay by credit card (202-362-7244). We will also offer on-site registration as class size permits.
All classes will be held at the brand new D.C. Dance Collective in the Friendship Heights area of Northwest D.C. (Friendship Heights metro and south four blocks.) There is plenty of on-street parking nearby.
You can also call or email Tricia Reneau at 703-526-0562 and email@example.com for more information. Keep your eyes out for other Fidgety Feet classes as they are added. D.C. Dance Co. also offers classes in ballet and tap--which can help your dancing enormously!
Philadelphia Swing Dance Contest and Concert
The Battle of the Big Bands at the Mann Music Center, Friday, July 23, will feature three terrific bands, George Gee Orchestra (New York), Bill Elliot Orchestra (Los Angeles) and City Rhytm Orchestra (Philadelphia) in a concert and after-concert dance.
Leading up to the big night, there will be the largest swing dance contest the Philadelphia area has seen since the big band era, as various swing dance venues around the city will hold contests to determine who will dance onstage during the concert, that is, as part of the show. Details can be gotten from Greg Avakian (215-476-8287 or firstname.lastname@example.org) who is overseeing the contests, or from Jane Liebman (email@example.com), who is handling the 3 contest segments at the New Market Cabaret. The locations and dates for the contests follow:
A "Natural Ball" in Atlanta
We'd like to announce a Big Swing Dance Celebration and Invite you to attend A NATURAL BALL To be held in Atlanta on September 3rd, 4th and 5th please stop by our website and register now.
For additional information Please send us an E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org et or call us on our toll free hot line from US & Canada 1 (877) 794-6432 Georgia and International please Dial (770) 931-3568
Swedish Lindy Hoppers, Basie's Bunch, will take the Washington DC area by storm the week of June 27th........and they want to dance with you! Let's show them how friendly DC can be!
Among the thirteen dancers who range in age from 15 to 21 - are Swedish dance champions in Lindy Hop, Boogie Woogie, Rock'nRoll, and the Swedish speciality Doublebug. Dancers from the group represent Sweden in international competitions in both Lindy Hop and Boogie Woogie.
Basies Bunch will be performing, teaching, and dancing socially around town June 27 to July 4. Stay tuned for the final schedule
Come dance in the July 4th Parade!
We've participated in the Palisades Parade for the last several years and it's tons of fun! This year will be even more fun because some of those cute Swedish kids from Basie's Bunch will be dancing along with us! And, we'll have a potluck lunch at Susan Lusi's house after the parade. So come on out, have some fun, and participate in a truly grassroots, neighborhood, July 4th celebration.
The parade route is on MacArthur Blvd, just a few miles from Glen Echo. There is a neighborhood gathering after the parade at the Palisades Playground. We're working on getting access to the fieldhouse to do a little lesson, demo and open dancing. All ages, genders, and skill levels are welcome! Email me for more details.
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