Midsummer Night Swing

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Country and Region United StatesNew York
Type of Festival Dance
Location of Festival New York, New York, USA
Festival Contact Information

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.
70 Lincoln Center Plaza, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10023 USA
Email: customerservice@lincolncenter.org

Festival Description

New York’s most fabulous outdoor dance party – Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing marks its 25th Anniversary season this summer by inviting New York’s iconic dance bands to bring live music to Damrosch Park. Taking place Tuesdays through Saturdays, June 25—July 13, Midsummer Night Swing will bring together people of all ages, at every skill level, and from dozens of different ethnic and economic backgrounds for evenings of social dance. Says Bill Bragin, Director of Public Programming for Lincoln Center, “In its 25 year history, Midsummer Night Swing has been responsible for helping revive social dancing, not only in New York but around the country and abroad. This anniversary year we celebrate the magic of dancing to some of New York’s greatest bands, along with some of the best from around the globe.”

On June 25 the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, which is also celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year, will play big band classics by Duke Ellington and others, ideal for swinging the night away. “Expect some 25th Anniversary surprises: special guests, celebratory first dances, old friends, and a few symposiums to celebrate our quarter century,” says series producer Jill Sternheimer. The total of 15 nights of dancing will bring sizzling salsa, smokin’ boogie woogie, lively lindy-hopping, torrid tango, funky R&B;, and rollicking rock ‘n’ roll onto the stage and out onto the elevated dance floor in Damrosch Park on West 62nd Street, between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues.

Festival Dates June 25 - July 13, 2013
Festival Links


Festival Events:

Programming 2013:
  • Tuesday, June 25
    • Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis Big Band Swing
      Composed of fifteen of the finest jazz soloists and ensemble players working today, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra has been the resident orchestra at Jazz at Lincoln Center since 1988. It performs in concert halls, jazz clubs, dance venues, public parks, with symphony orchestras, with ballet troupes, and with an ever-expanding roster of guest artists across the US and around the globe. It has released 14 recordings under the lead of Music Director, trumpeter, and composer Wynton Marsalis, winner of nine Grammy Awards. The orchestra’s vast repertoire includes historic compositions and arrangements by Duke Ellington (the focus of June 25th’s performance), Count Basie, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Charles Mingus, Chick Corea, and many others, as well as Lincoln Center-commissioned works by Benny Carter, Wayne Shorter, Chico O’Farrill, Marcus Roberts, and others, including Wynton Marsalis. The evening’s special guests include legendary musician and dancer Dawn Hampton, who will dj a set of music to kick off the season, and the “Queen of Swing,” Norma Miller, who will show off her original, 1940s Savoy Ballroom dancing style.
      Lesson: Adam Brozowski teaches Jazz and Lindy Hop, with special guest Norma Miller
      DJ: Dawn Hampton
  • Wednesday, June 26
    • Leonardo Suarez Paz’s Cuartetango Meets Cristian Zárete Tango
      Leonardo Suarez Paz, the internationally acclaimed fourth-generation tango artist and porteño, directs the Cuartetango Music & Dance Company, sharing his unparalleled experience in the genre as a virtuoso violinist, vocalist, dancer and composer. From the Buenos Aires Tango Festival to the Washington Park Music Festival, this dynamic ensemble stays true to the authenticity, power, and the uniquely urban “swing” that’s characteristic of tango, showing it to be a sophisticated, moving, and daring genre. For the first time in 15 years, since they collaborated on the show Tango Argentina on Broadway, acclaimed Buenos Aires-based Cristian Zárete will join Paz for a night of both their original works and beloved music from the 1940s and 50s golden age of tango, elevated with the contemporary harmonies and rhythms of nuevo tango. Lesson: Jorge Torres teaches Tango
      DJ: Ko Tanaka
  • Thursday, June 27
    • Mitch Woods & His Rocket 88s Boogie Woogie, Jump Blues
      Taking their inspiration from the jump n’ boogie bands of the late 1940s and early 50s, Mitch Woods & His Rocket 88s breathe fresh life into the music that gave birth to rock n’ roll. For more than 20 years they have been the torchbearers of a great American blues heritage, playing the music first made popular by the bands of Louis Jordan, Wyonie Harris, and Amos Milburn. With a big dose of pile-driving piano and New Orleans’ R&B;, powered by Amadee Castenell’s saxophone, Mitch Woods & His Rocket 88s have created their own brand of music they call “rock-a-boogie.” Lesson: Swingin’ with Simone reaches Lindy Hop
      DJ: Meredith Ochs
  • Friday, June 28
    • Spanish Harlem Orchestra Salsa Dura
      Putting a contemporary spin on the Latin jazz big band music of the Palladium Ballroom as well as the classic Fania era, Oscar Hernandez and the Grammy-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra brings its incendiary brand of salsa to Damrosch Park with hard-hitting dance floor blazers. This 13-piece band tours worldwide and has recorded four CDs, including its most recent, Vive El Tradicion.
      Lesson: Carlos König teaches Salsa
      DJ: Ron McGugins
  • Saturday, June 29
    • Calypso Rose Calypso, Soca
      The first woman to win the crown of Calypso Monarch (the yearly competition originally called Calypso King until Calypso Rose took the title), Tobago-born Calypso Rose has been the reigning “Queen of Calypso” for more than 50 years. In 1966 she wrote “Fire in Meh Wire,” which was translated into eight languages and became one of the international anthems of the genre. Her energy and charisma has led her to share a stage with some of the biggest stars in music, including Miriam Makeba, Tito Puente, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, and many others. A documentary of her life – Calypso Rose the Lioness of the Jungle – was broadcast on PBS throughout 2012 and has re-invigorated the career of this musical legend.
      Lesson: Royelle Mckenzie teaches Calypso and Soca
      DJ: Back to Basics
      Presented in association with the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute.
  • Tuesday, July 2
    • Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks Ballroom, Big Band Swing
      Formed in 1976 and alumni of the very first Midsummer Night Swing season, Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks are a quintessentially New York big band, known internationally through performances, recordings, film soundtracks, and TV broadcasts. Most recently, the band won a Grammy Award for their work on the HBO series, Boardwalk Empire, and they have performed in movies including Francis Ford Coppola’s The Cotton Club, Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator, and the mini-series Grey Gardens and Mildred Pierce. Band founder Giordano is also “an invaluable historical resource” (The New York Times) of the music of the 1920s and 30s, and he has used that knowledge to inform the band’s film and TV work. The Nighthawks have a standing weekly gig at Sofia’s Restaurant in New York’s Times Square, where their many fans can revel in the bold and brassy big band sound that makes the band famous.
      Lesson: Eva Carrozza teaches Ballroom and Swing
      DJ: Heather Flock
  • Wednesday, July 3
    • Urban Guerilla Orchestra R&B;, Motown, Soul
      Representing the gold standard of the play-anything, brass-bolstered party band, the Urban Guerilla Orchestra is the sum of its members’ collective experience, which include gigs with everyone from Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder to Alicia Keys. The nine-member group has been playing together for many years, continuing the “TSOP” (The Sound of Philadelphia) soul tradition that had its heyday in the 1970s with the songs of Gamble and Huff for Teddy Pendergass, Harold Melvin, and groups like MFSB and the Three Degrees. Urban Guerilla takes that great tradition and funkifies it into the here and now.
      Lesson: Lawrence Bradford teaches Hand Dancing
      DJ: Qool DJ Marv
  • Thursday, July 4
    • Battle of the Big Bands: The George Gee Swing Orchestra vs. Mora’s Modern Rhythmists Big Band Swing
      As the only Chinese-American swing big bandleader in the world, New York’s own George Gee has been leading a group of the city’s finest musicians for more than twenty years at concerts, swing dance events, and as the house band at the popular club Swing 46 in Manhattan’s theater district. On July 4th, George Gee and his Orchestra will embrace the high-stepping swing sounds of Chick Webb, the bandleader who discovered Ella Fitzgerald, from Harlem’s historic Savoy Ballroom. As the centerpiece of a national series of bouts which will include Los Angeles and Washington DC, Gee will do battle against Dean Mora’s California swing outfit, the Modern Rhythmists, noted for the more mellow Tommy/Jimmy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, and Benny Goodman-like sounds of LA’s Palomar Ballroom during the between-the-wars era.
      Lesson: Jaime Shannon and Tony Fraser teach Collegiate Shag
      DJ: Adam Lee
    • Costume Contest
      On July 4th there will be a costume contest for those wearing the best red, white, and blue vintage costumes. Dancers dressed as Uncle Sam, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Betsy Ross, or Rosie the Riveter (or anyone else) will compete for prizes during the intermission between sets.
  • Friday, July 5
    • Jonathan Toubin’s Soul Clap & Dance Off featuring Young Jessie and King James and the Special Men
      New York Debut of King James and the Special Men
      Jonathan Toubin, the internationally famous DJ behind the New York Night Train parties, has built his career on a vast collection of obscure 45 rpm records and the “ultimate sonic boom” sound that they provide. Toubin only plays 45s at his events, as these records were recorded in the 1950s and 60s, which in Toubin’s opinion, was the zenith of American music. On July 6th Toubin will spin his finest “maximum rock and soul 45s” for an outdoor version of his Soul Clap party, complete with a Dance-Off competition. Musical guests will be King James and the Special Men, a group of top New Orleans session musicians who deliver old-school R&B; straight from the Ninth Ward. They’ll be making their New York debut, along with re-discovered soul vocalist Young Jessie, formerly with The Flairs and The Coasters, and also known for his solo hits including “Mary Lou” and “Hit, Git and Split.”
      Lesson: Spencer Weisbrod teaches Jitterbug
      DJ: Jonathan Toubin
      Silent Disco by Frisco at 10 pm
  • Saturday, July 6
    • La Sonora Carruseles Salsa dura, Boogaloo
      Hardcore, driving salsa of the 1970s – salsa’s golden age – is played with abandon by La Sonora Carruseles, a band from Colombia that is beloved by salsa lovers around the world. Their spidery piano lines, tight polyrythm, explosive brass riffs and staccato cowbell patterns are hard to resist, reinvigorating a classic style with power and bravado. Not content with revitalizing old-school salsa, La Sonora Carruseles also plays the sweetly nostalgic dance music known as boogaloo. They imbue these musical styles from the past with expert musicianship, an infectious sense of fun, and a respect for the traditions that bring legions out onto the dance floor. They will be joined by Miami powerhouse vocalist Elaine Hernandez, “La Sirena de la Salsa.”
      Lesson: Rodney Lopez teaches Salsa
      DJ: DJ Turmix
  • Tuesday, July 9
    • Ray Gelato with the City Rhythm Orchestra Swing, Jump Blues
      Vocalist and tenor sax player Ray Gelato has had a 30+ year career that started in jazz bands, first in London and later touring the world, and in the mid-1980s he helped to revive interest in the swing music of the 40s and 50s with his group, The Chevalier Brothers. Subsequent bands, with Ray as headliner, toured the UK, Europe, the US, and the summer festival circuit, spreading the gospel of big band music. Ray became known as “The Godfather of Swing.” His popularity in Italy is intense, and his band has recently released a CD for his Italian fans of “the lost Italian Songbook,” tongue planted musically in cheek. American fans may be reminded of Louis Prima when Ray performs, but his sense of swing is all his own.
      Lesson: Paolo “Lindy” Lanna teaches Lindy Hop
      DJ: Ryan Mascara
  • Wednesday, July 10
    • Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra with special guest Tito Rodriguez, Jr. Mambo
      World-renowned pianist, composer, and educator, Arturo O’Farrill (son of jazz legend Chico O’Farrill) created the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra in 2002 for Jazz at Lincoln Center in order to bring Afro Latin jazz to a wider audience. Now no longer a part of Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra received the Grammy Award for “Best Latin Jazz Album” in 2009 and has recorded numerous CDs and soundtracks for films such as Calle 54 and Chico and Rita. Both through performances across the country and around the world, and through comprehensive education programs in schools and music conservatories, the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra keeps this genre alive. Paying tribute to the classic mambo of the Palladium ‘Big 3’ bandleaders: Tito Puente, Machito, and Tito Rodriguez, they will be joined by Rodriguez’s son, the acclaimed timbalero and bandleader, Tito Rodriguez, Jr.
      Lesson: Eddie Torres teaches Salsa
      DJ: DJ Broadway
  • Thursday, July 11
    • The Loser’s Lounge: Donna Summer and the Disco Divas Disco
      The Loser’s Lounge is a collective of some of New York’s best musicians and singers who perform the great songs of the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. According to The New York Times, they “honor pop stars from these eras and validate the zeal of music fans.” Started by session keyboardist Joe McGinty in 1993, The Loser’s Lounge has performed nearly 300 shows honoring 50 different artists. On July 11th the will celebrate the “Love to Love Ya, Baby” songstress, the late Donna Summer, and her disco sisters: Gloria “I Will Survive” Gaynor, Thelma “Don’t Leave Me This Way” Houston, and, without a doubt, Anita “Ring My Bell” Ward. Lesson: Maria Torres teaches Hustle
      DJ: Freedom Dance Party
      Silent Disco by Frisco at 10 pm
  • Friday, July 12
    • Tipica 73 Salsa, Charanga
      Celebrating their 40th Anniversary this year, and despite many changes in personnel and style over the years, Tipica 73 is now back under the co-direction of two of its founding members – Johnny Rodriguez and Sonny Bravo. Their two sets will explore their early brassy conjunto style, as well as their violin and flute-driven charanga style, the hypnotic Cuban dance music created from strong African rhythms married with French-Haitian contradanse melodies. Charanga carries dancers back to the clubs warmed by the breezes off Havana’s el malecon.
      Lesson: Jimmy Anton teaches Salsa
      DJ: DJ Brian
  • Saturday, July 13 from 3:00 to 4:30pm
    • Kids’ Dance!
      Ballroom, Salsa, Swing, Merengue
      Kids get in on the act with a special afternoon session (ideal for the entire family) with teacher Rodney Lopez from Dancing Classrooms – seen in Mad Hot Ballroom, the 2005 documentary about teaching ballroom dance in NYC public schools. He’ll get youngsters off on the right foot, teaching them the basics of ballroom, tango and swing. The mission of Dancing Classrooms is to cultivate essential life skills in children through the practice of social dance.
  • Saturday, July 13
    • Harlem Renaissance Orchestra: A Tribute to Illinois Jacquet Big Band Swing
      Jump to the big band sound of the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra, a group that was formed more than twenty years ago to revive the great sounds from the big band era. The band recognizes the masters of the big band sound: Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Earl “Fatha” Hines, Lucky Millinder, Lionel Hampton and Midsummer Night Swing favorite, Illinois Jacquet, and plays their music as if it were yesterday. Band leader Ron Allen has taken the orchestra to perform in the JVC Jazz Festival, the Rainbow Room, the Copacabana, the legendary Apollo Theater, and became the perennial closing night band for Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing. With a name that means rebirth or revival, the HRO proves with every performance that they are the guardians of a great musical tradition: the swinging sounds of Harlem.
      Lesson: Margaret Batiuchok teaches Lindy Hop and Shim Sham
      DJ: Ryan Swift


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