Swing dance opens Elliott stage for dancing
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Opportunities to dance on Elliott Hall of Music’s spacious wooden stage usually remain reserved for professional companies putting on lavish shows. But Purdue Bands’ annual “Swing Dance at Elliott,” opens the hall’s huge stage to all dancers on Friday, Feb. 2.
Live music for dancing, provided by American Music Repertory Ensemble and Purdue’s jazz bands, runs from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Members of the Purdue Night Train Swing Dance Club will offer free a swing dance lesson and demonstration prior to the event, starting at 6:45 p.m..
Dancers from the club will stay and dance along with the crowd to provide inspiration to those wishing to duplicate their moves.
The Swing Dance at Elliott was introduced in 2001 as an informal dance evening primarily for Purdue students and they’ve responded in force. So has the community. “We’ve had great crowds no matter what the weather. When you’re feeling cooped up, when icy winds and weather are limiting your mobility, dancing is a great stress-reliever,” says Bands public relations director Kathy Matter.
“The casual atmosphere of the Elliott stage encourages people to just get out on the floor and have fun. Consequently, we have very few wallflowers at this event.”
The Band Department’s nickname for the annual event is the “underground swing dance” because it’s held in a location that’s usually off-limits to students and the public. Those attending don’t use any of the traditional entrances to the building. Instead, signs guide you to a loading dock entrance on the north side of Elliott.
Music is a mix of contemporary swing, old standards, a few ballads for slow dancing and some specialties like the “Beer Barrel Polka.” Much of the evening’s music was made popular in the 1940s when ballrooms were crowded with dancers.
Admission to the swing dance 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. Because of the nature of the event, however, seating is very limited and can not be guaranteed.
Purdue University Bands, which sponsors the event, offers a more formal jazz/dance event in its “Evening of Romance” set for 8-10:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, in the University Inn Grand Ballroom in West Lafayette. The cabaret-style event includes a dessert buffet and music for dancing by the Purdue Jazz Band. For ticket information call 494-3933.