Free Jazz Band "Swing Dance" at new Rec Sports gym
Dancing feet will fill the new Feature Gym at the France Cordova Recreational Sports Center on Friday, Feb. 1, when Purdue Bands' stages its annual Jazz Swing Dance that's open to the campus and the community.
Three bands will energize the evening, providing continuous music for dancing from 7:30 to 10 p.m. -- the American Music Repertory Ensemble, the Lab Jazz Band and Concert Jazz Band.
The Feature Gym, with its high ceiling, its windows and a hardwood floor with markings that match Mackey Arena's floor, will re-create the feeling of vintage sock hops in the gym so popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Purdue's Night Train Swing Dance Club will also offer free lessons and demonstrations from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 1. Dancers from the club will stay and dance along with the crowd to provide inspiration to those wishing to duplicate their moves.
Admission to all the evening's activities is free. The Cordova Rec Sports Center is located on the corner of Third Street and Jischke Drive. Entrance to the Feature Gym is on the right just inside the main doors.
The evening music will be a mix of contemporary swing like Brian Setzer's "Jumpin' East of Java" and old big band favorites by Glenn Miller, George Gershwin, Cab Calloway and Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey. Much of the evening's music was made popular in the 1940s when ballrooms were crowded with dancers.
Purdue Bands introduced the Jazz Swing Dance 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 limit your mobility, dancing is a great stress-reliever," says Bands public relations director Kathy Matter.
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 Bands & Orchestra, which sponsors the event, offers a more formal jazz/dance event in its "Evening of Romance" set for 8-10:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, in the Grand Ballroom of Four Points by Sheraton 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.