Underground swing dance opens Elliott stage to dancers
Opportunities to dance on the Elliott Hall of Music stage usually remain reserved for professional companies putting on lavish shows. But an "Underground Swing Dance," sponsored by Purdue Bands, with help from Purdue Night Train Swing Dance Club, opens Elliott’s spacious wooden stage to all dancers on Friday, Feb. 2.
For several years American Music Review and the Purdue Lab and Concert Jazz Bands have played for dancing in the Purdue Memorial Union ballrooms. "But we’re constantly looking for new ways to have fun with music. That led us to the idea of having an ‘underground’ dance in a usually off-limits location," says Purdue Bands spokesperson Kathy Matter.
Admission to the swing dance, which begins at 7:30 p.m., is free. The event is open to those who simply enjoy music from the big band era and want to listen, as well as to those who want to dance. Members of the Purdue Night Train Swing Dance Club will put on demonstrations, and will dance along with the crowd to provide inspiration to those wishing to duplicate their moves.
Much of the evening’s music was made popular in the 1940s when ballrooms were crowded with dancers. "Music then really was for dancing, particularly with swing bands and big bands," says American Music Review director William Kisinger, whose band and singers pay homage to the era.
"We’ll play a mixture of styles from swing to cha cha. There might even be a waltz," he says. Music titles reflect the good-time feeling of the music of the era - "Chattanooga Choo Choo" Frank Sinatra’s versions of "Night and Day" and Les Brown’s theme song "Leap Frog." There are also a smattering of rock and roll tunes like "Bad Bad Leroy Brown" and "Rock Around the Clock," and a modern swing tune "Jump, Jive and Wail."
Emphasizing the "underground" nature of the dance, those attending will not enter Elliott through its normal entrances. The loading dock entrance, which will be marked with signs, will be used. It is conveniently located on the north side of Elliott just off the Armory parking lot.
Purdue University Bands, which sponsors the event, offers opportunities for dancing in a more formal setting in an "Evening of Romance" Valentine’s event on Saturday, Feb. 10 at the University Inn.
The Purdue Jazz Band hosts the cabaret-style event that includes hors d-oeuvres and desserts. For ticket information call 494-3933.