Petoskey News Review article 12-7-12
Have a swingin’ good timeCouples enjoy swing dancing in October of this year at the North Central Michigan College cafeteria. The next swing dancing event takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14, at North Central Michigan
College in Petoskey. (file photo / December 7, 201
Once a month, from October through January, the college cafeteria transforms into a swing era ballroom out of history complete with a live big band ensemble.
“Honestly, you don’t hear music played like this nowadays,” said Josh Raber, member of the Up North Big Band. “That’s why it’s so important to keep this history alive.”Live big band music, explains Raber, showcases raw talent and depends on human proficiency. Alternatively, modern music relies on digital correction and electronic manipulation.
Featuring the Up North Big Band, these dances capture the magic and energy of the bygone swing era. The 18-piece orchestra has been performing for almost 20 years; it aims to preserve the sounds of the big band era and specializes in music of the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s.
The next swing dancing event takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14, at North Central Michigan College in Petoskey. The latest dances have averaged 80 to 100 attendees.
Beginners are encouraged to attend a free instructional portion at 6:45 p.m., before the main event starts. Band members instruct attendees in the Lindy and jitterbug dance styles.
“Don’t be afraid to show up and look stupid trying to learn,” advises Raber. “It doesn’t matter what your skill level is; everyone is out there having fun.”
Blissfest Music Organization sponsors this dance series. The group strives to share the cultural significance of big band music and swing dancing, as well as provide an exciting outlet for socialization.
Big band music, commonly associated with jazz and swing music, originated in the 1930s and quickly gained popularity with teenage and young adult audiences. Its upbeat rhythms gave way to iconic American swing-dance styles such as the Lindy Hop, Lindy Charleston and jitterbug.
The series ends its winter season with a dance on Jan. 25; the spring season begins in March. Each event is $10 for adults, $6 for those under 18 years and free for children under 5.
Blissfest Music Organization also hosts country dances at various locations.
For further information about either dance series, visit http://www.blissfest.org. To learn more about the Up North Big Band, contact Josh Raber at (231) 675-8311 or visit the website http://www.upnorthbigband.com.
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