Thursday, July 7, 2011

Put on Your Dancing Shoes & Head to Lincoln Center By July 16

It is currently July 7 and Lincoln Center's annual Midsummer Night Swing is in full swing (pun intended).  This summer season dance event began on June 27, and has only eight evenings left, with the final dance lesson and promenade happening on July 16.

For $17 per dance (pay at the door for single tickets), or $90 for a 6-dance pass or $160 for a season pass, Midsummer Night Swing invites guests of all ages and dancing abilities to dance outdoors, in various styles, right next to Lincoln Center's famed Metropolitan Opera House, at Damrosch Park, located on West 62nd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. 

Each evening begins with a group dance lesson, taught by expert dance instructors, from 6:30 p.m. sharp until 7:15 p.m. (dance floor opens at 6:00 p.m.). Following the lesson, a different band will be featured each night, providing live music for guests to dance until the stars come out. There is a different theme each night, and the lesson for a particular evening will focus on the style of music that the accompanying band best represents. While Midsummer Night Swing once really was only  for Swing-dancers, lovers of other dance styles such as Tango, Samba, R & B, Salsa, Blues, Rock & Roll, Jazz, New Wave and more can now find an evening they can enjoy. 

Western Swing Dancing Demonstration
(Picture by Miki S.)
Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a "Hot Jazz, Western Swing" night with a close girlfriend, Miki S. (who, incidentally, took most of the photos in this post). She told me to wear "cute shoes," and I obliged. I had never attended a Swing night before, and when I arrived I expected that Miki and I would be dance partners for the group lesson, and throughout the evening. 
Miki S. Dances With a Western Swing Partner
(Photo by WGINY/Heather K.)
To my surprise, when I stepped out onto the dance floor, shortly after the lesson had already begun, Miki was busy dancing up a storm with someone else. As this is New York, there is not necessarily any rhyme or reason to who dancers should partner up with, except that one person should be a dance "leader" and the other should be a "follower." To be blunt, if you are straight and fall into the typical dance roles society has come to expect of you, where the man is the leader and the woman is the follower, I suggest coming with someone of the opposite sex. If you gay or lesbian, then decide beforehand who will lead and who will follow, and bring your partner.

Even if you are single or cannot find a dance partner to accompany you, there is no need to worry as, once the lesson ends, the evening eventually comes to resemble something like a junior high school dance -- single gals (and some guys) waiting on the sidelines waiting for a boy (or anyone who is a "leader") to ask for their hand. And arriving with a dance partner does not in any way mean that you will dance more than a few songs with him or her. It appeared to be commonly accepted that everyone just switched partners throughout the evening and danced with strangers. It was a great way to not only meet new people, but to really learn the dances, as each person you partner up with will have a different skill level and may even teach you a thing or two. Throughout the evening, there are also designated professional dancers stationed around the floor who can help you with your moves and/or share a dance with you.

The dancing begins at 7:30 p.m., following the group lesson, and the band then plays until approximately 8:30 p.m. before taking an intermission and then starting up again from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Last night's featured band was the Western Swing trio, Hot Club of Cowtown, who are from Austin, Texas, but are currently touring. Hot Club's fresh, folky-country style was the perfect accompaniment to the dance moves we had learned during the lesson.

"Hot Club of Cowtown" Provides Some Western Flair For Dancers
(Photo by Miki S.)
One last caveat: leave your briefcases at home, if possible, and put your keys/cellphone/money/ID in a clothing pocket. There are absolutely no bags allowed on the dance floor, not even tiny, tiny purses. You will be required to check your bag(s), for a $3 fee, before entering the floor.

For more information about Midsummer Night Swing, click here.

See the full schedule here.

Not to Worry, Someone WILL Ask You to Dance
(Picture by Miki S.)


  1. I am looking forward to dancing with you this Saturday for your birthday.The swing dance looked like a lot of fun. I got your invite on Google but no thanks. It's just another version of Facebook.Love MOM

  2. Thanks, Anonymous MOM. I look forward to dancing with you on Saturday as well. This Saturday evening, July 16, will be the final night for Midsummer Night Swing this year, so it should be great.