American culture has embraced ballroom dancing in fits and starts. In the jazz age nothing was more hip, then the late 50's and early 60's saw the Latin dance craze. After that the practice fell out of fashion, replaced by more trendy styles like disco and breakdancing. It wasn't until the mid-1990's that a new generation rediscovered flashy classics like the Jitterbug. These days, ballroom dancing has worked its way back into the hearts and feet of Americans young and old. In the city of Seattle there are a number of thriving schools of dance, as well as regular dancing events and venues.
Seattle Parks and Recreation has put together a series of free outdoor dancing events throughout the Summer to promote the city's beautiful downtown green spaces. Ten events beginning tonight (July 2nd) and running through early September will provide Seattleites with an opportunity to get some fresh air, meet some new people and enjoy a variety of different dance styles with live music from local performers.
July 2nd: The first event is at Occidental Park tonight. The theme of the evening is classic R&B and swing. The lesson begins at 6:00 PM and the dance goes from 7:00-9:00. Kevin Buster's Lunch Money is the house band for the night.
July 9th: Also at Occidental Park with a lesson and dance, join Tangabrazo for a night of alluring tango dancing.
July 16th: The final event at Occidental Park centers around salsa and Latin dancing. The band for the evening is Cambalache.
July 23rd: The next two dancing events of July will take place at Freeway Park. On the 23rd Portage Bay Big Band will lead another swing dancing event.
July 30th: The last July Dancing 'til Dusk event will be a little different. With house band Conniption, come learn a series of Contra folk dances for a more community-based experience.
There are four events in August. The following three will take place at Freeway Park.
August 6th: Join Maia Santell and House Blend for a mix of East and West Coast Swing as well as the less formal Blues style.
August 13th: For another night of salsa and Latin dance, come down for Tumbao.
August 20th: The first official Dancing 'til Dusk ball blanc, featuring the Steve Rice Orchestra. Wear something white and enjoy a variety of ballroom classics like waltz, swing, foxtrot and polka.
August 27th: The last event of August is at Occidental Park. DJ Gatorboy will present a night of Cajun, Zydeco and modern dance music.
September 3rd: The final event of Seattle P&R's Dancing 'til Dusk Summer dance series will take place at Occidental Park. It is another ball blanc with mixed styles including waltz, swing, foxtrot and polka, this time with house band KGB. Immediately after the dance, there will be a screening of the film Shall We Dance starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Whether you're a seasoned dance floor veteran or a newcomer with two left feet, don't be afraid to embrace the fun pastime of the ballroom at Seattle's Dancing 'til Dusk events in two of the city's most beautiful downtown parks.