Did you know Denver has a swing dancing scene? If you are an accomplished swinger, a middling dancer of the jitterbug, or someone wanting to learn a new, pleasurable way to get in your aerobic exercise for the week, come to the Mercury Cafe. Colorado Jazz Workshop big bands will be swinging there on the following dates:
- Feb 5-Monday Big Band
- April 8-Saturday Big Band
- May 20-Wednesday Big Band
Swing lessons will be available on each date; cost is $9; time is 8 to 11 PM.
Denver is an ironic place in which a new swing boom might take place, as it almost killed “King of Swing” Benny Goodman’s career right before his big national breakthrough at Los Angeles’ Palomar Ballroom on August 21, 1935. Former Elitch Gardens proprietor Jack Gurtler told Denver historian Corrine Hunt, “Benny Goodman bombed in Denver!”
In the early 1930s, there were two basic kinds of jazz, broken down along racial lines. For black audiences, there were the adventurous, virtuoso sounds of artists typified by the brilliant inventions
of Louis Armstrong. Then there was “sweet” jazz, a kind of sentimental and bland puree ladled out to white, mainstream culture by such men as the original “King of Jazz,” the internationally famous Denver native Paul Whiteman.
However, visionary composers and arrangers such as Duke Ellington, Eddie Durham, Don Redman and, most prominently, Fletcher Henderson, were crafting a new, hot sound. ...
Tiffiny Wine, who teaches and hosts numerous classes and dances at Denver’s Mercury Café, explains, “Early jazz, ragtime, was kind of like rock ‘n’ roll in that only the ‘bad kids’ did it. The flapper era came out of that music, and the Charleston was the biggest dance craze that ever hit the country.”
Click to read the rest. See you at the Mercury; put those dates on your calendar right now. Swing dancing is good for body and soul!
Image credit: 1940s.org.