One of my favorite things to do in the summertime is Lincoln Center’s annual dance event, “Mid Summer Night’s Swing.”
Lincoln Center’s 21st Anniversary season of Midsummer Night Swing is in full swing in Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park, W. 62nd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues through July 25.
“The series offers an array of dance music genres including salsa, swing, rockabilly, r&b, tango and rock ‘n’ roll,” says Bill Bragin, Lincoln Center’s Director of Public Programming.
Midsummer Night Swing’s evenings of dance are ticketed events, beginning at 6:30 pm with a dance lesson for all levels, which is included in the price of admission. Live music and dancing is at 7:30pm until 10pm.
Multi-evening Swing Passes are priced at $80 for six nights, and $145 for the full season. Tickets for individual evening events are $15, and the Kid’s Day! event is $5, with children under 5 free.
Pick up your tickets at The Swing box office, located in the lobby of Avery Fisher Hall, Broadway and 65th St. Tickets for individual events and passes can be purchased in advance or on the night of the event at a box office in Damrosch Park. All major credit cards will be accepted. Tickets and passes can also be purchased through CenterCharge, 212-721-6500, or by logging on to http://www.MidsummerNightSwing.org.
The schedule for Midsummer Night Swing:
Thursday, July 16
Ponderosa Stomp: The Get Down – Soul/R&B Soul, R&B, Funk
Featuring William Bell, Harvey Scales, and The Bobbettes with The Bo-KeysNew Orleans’ renowned music revue, the Ponderosa Stomp, decamps to New York for several nights of great live music. The first night will showcase Stax/Volt recording artist and songwriter William Bell, whose strong yet smooth voice sang “You Don’t Miss Your Water,” among other R&B classics. Harvey (“Disco Lady”) Scales, also on the bill, has been active since the 60s. He credits James Brown’s funk as being a major influence on his music. The third headliner will be The Bobbettes, the first all-female R&B group to have a major pop hit record with “Mr. Lee.” All three acts will perform with those champions of the Memphis soul sound, The Bo-Keys.
Lesson: Dave Maxx & MAK 3 Dance Club featuring Chicago’s DJ Lady C
DJ: Meredith Ochs – Sirius XM
Friday, July 17
Ponderosa Stomp: The Best Dance in Town – Rockabilly
Featuring Joe Clay, Carl Mann, and The Collins Kids with Deke Dickerson & The Eccofonics
Night two of Ponderosa Stomp will celebrate with a night of rockabilly starting with singer Joe Clay. Clay, a contemporary of Elvis Presley’s who mined the same rock, R&B, and blues roots, had some early hits before being rediscovered in the 1980s by British audiences. Carl Mann, singer and pianist, is an alum of Sun Records (as was Presley) who recorded a rockabilly version of Nat King Cole’s “Mona Lisa”, among other songs, that have fanatic fans to this day. The Collins Kids were juvenile rockabilly stars in the 1950s, singing hits aimed at a young audience. Larry Collins was a lightning-fingered double-neck guitar whiz from the age of 10, and the brother and sister (Lorrie) still perform together. All three acts will perform with Deke Dickerson & The Eccofonics, one of America’s foremost purveyors of roots music. These two nights of Ponderosa Stomp will be followed by a third, July 19th, when Lincoln Center Festival presents a Tribute to Wardell Quezergue, the composer/arranger responsible for shaping southern music and the soulful sounds of the Mississippi delta and New Orleans into giant hits.
Lesson: John Knapp & Meredith Snead – Shall We Dance?
DJ: Todd-O-Phonic Todd, WFMU
Saturday, July 18
New Swing Sextet
A New York-based salsa band that was wildly popular in the 1960s and 70s, New Swing Sextet has reformed and is playing concerts dates all over the world as well as making recordings of classic pop songs given a salsa treatment, including “My Favorite Things” and “Che Che.”
Lesson: Tony Meredith & Melanie LaPatin – http://www.DanceTimesSquare.com
DJ: DJ Nelson Torres
Tuesday, July 21
Catherine Russell and Cat & the Hounds Swing Band Small Band Swing, Blues
Catherine Russell is a genuine jazz and blues singer with a voice that is dusky, feminine and soulful. The daughter of Louis Armstrong’s longtime musical director, Luis Russell, and outstanding bassist and vocalist Carline Ray, Russell has performed with such noted artists as Cyndi Lauper, Steely Dan and David Bowie. Her first two CDs – Cat and Sentimental Streak – won accolades from sources as diverse as The Wall Street Journal and France’s Prix du Jazz Vocal 2008. Her talent can stand comparison to her prodigiously gifted forebears.
Lesson: Joe Palmer – joepalmerdance.com
DJ: Dave ‘Shorty Dave’ Jacoby
Wednesday, July 22
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy Swing
Swing, Jump Blues
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is the band most responsible for reviving swing dancing in the 1990s, and they are also known for playing on the hit TV show, “Dancing With the Stars” and in the movie “Swingers.” Their horns moan, the rhythm section slips and slides, the vocals scream and croon – guaranteeing that everybody is up jitterbugging and skip jiving with the best of them. This evening’s show will include a tribute to the consummate entertainer, Cab Calloway.
Lesson: Erik Novoa – SwingShoes.net
DJ: Juke Joint Johnny
Thursday, July 23
La Excelencia Salsa Dura
New York’s new La Excelencia plays sizzling salsa dura, as raw and tough as the city it calls home. The voices are loud, the percussion louder, the horns loudest of all. Their lyrics are about the struggle of life in the city. La Excelencia is, according to Latin Beat magazine, “the real thing”, music to be celebrated, listened to, danced to.
Lesson: Stepping Out Studios
DJ: DJ Andreas
Friday, July 24
La Sonora Dinamita Cumbia
A Columbian group now based in Mexico, La Sonora Dinamita is one of the first cumbia groups to reach international success (in the early1960s) and it is now one of the most important bands in the genre under the leadership of Fruko, of Columbian salsa powerhouse Fruko y sus Tesos. The band plays cumbia, an African-rooted style from the Atlantic coast of Colombia, and it is the most popular dance style throughout Central America and Mexico. The tempo is moderate and the steps are easy, but the sizzle is there. Baile!
Lesson: Lucy Cruz
DJ: Monk-One (Wax Poetics, NYC Trust)
Saturday, July 25
Harlem Renaissance Orchestra with special guest Houston Person Lindy Hop, Big Band Swing, Jump Blues
The evening includes a special tribute to the late band leader, saxophone great and former Midsummer Night Swing headliner Illinois Jacquet.
Jump to the big-band sound of the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra, a group that was formed more than twenty years ago to revive the great sounds from the big band era. The band recognizes the masters of the big band sound: Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton and many others, and plays their music like it was yesterday. The band’s special guest is the soulful sax player Houston Person, known for his distinctive sassy sound and for his years performing with the great Etta Jones.
Lesson: Margaret Batiuchok, NY Swing Dance Hall of Fame, Harvest Moon Ball Champion
DJ: Larry Kang
Special Event for Midsummer Night Swing 2009:
Saturday, July 18 from 3:30 to 5:00pm
Kids’ Day! with Rodney Lopez and American Ballroom Theater
($5 per person, children and adults; children under five are free)
Ballroom, Tango, Swing for kids
Kids can get in on the act with a special afternoon session (ideal for the entire family) with Rodney Lopez from American Ballroom Theater, featured in the documentary “Mad Hot Ballroom.” He’ll get youngsters off on the right foot, teaching them the basics of ballroom, tango and swing.
Programs and artists subject to change.
Twitter users can sign up to follow Midsummer Night Swing @lc_swing for ongoing news and updates.
Midsummer Night Swing is made possible in part by grants from Daisy and Paul Soros and Charina Endowment Fund.
Sponsored by American Ballroom Company and Bloomberg.
Additional support for Midsummer Night Swing 2009 is provided by Amtrak, Nanoosh, Great Performers Circle, Chairman’s Council, and Friends of Lincoln Center.
Operation of Lincoln Center’s public plazas is supported in part with public funds provided by the City of New York.
Movado is an Official Sponsor of Lincoln Center, Inc.
WNBC/WNJU are Official Broadcast Partners of Lincoln Center, Inc.
For information and program updates for Midsummer Night Swing visit MidsummerNightSwing.org or call 212-875-5766.
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