Swing Dance to Open Elliott Hall of Music Stage for Dancing

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue Bands’ annual Swing Dance at Elliott will open Elliott Hall of Music’s stage to dancers on Friday (Feb. 1).

Live music for dancing, provided by American Music Repertory Ensemble and Purdue’s Lab and Concert jazz bands, will run from 7:30-10 p.m. Members of the Purdue Night Train Swing Dance Club will offer a free swing dance lesson and demonstration prior to the event at 6:30 p.m.

Dancers from the club will stay and dance along with the crowd to provide inspiration to those wishing to duplicate their moves.

The Swing Dance at Elliott was introduced in 2001 as an informal dance primarily for Purdue students, and students and community members have responded in force, said Kathy Matter, Purdue Bands public relations director.

“We’ve had great crowds no matter what the weather,” she said. “When you’re feeling cooped up, when icy winds and weather are limiting your mobility, dancing is a great stress reliever. The casual atmosphere of the Elliott stage encourages people to just get out on the floor and have fun. Consequently, we have very few wallflowers at this event.”

The band department’s nickname for the annual event is the “underground swing dance” because it’s held in a location that’s usually off-limits to students and the public, Matter said. Those attending don’t use any of the traditional entrances to the building. Instead, signs will guide visitors to a loading dock entrance on the north side of Elliott.

The dance music will be a mix of contemporary swing, old standards, a few ballads for slow dancing and some specialties like the “Beer Barrel Polka.” Much of the evening’s music was popular in the 1940s when ballrooms were crowded with dancers.

Admission to the swing dance is free. 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 cannot be guaranteed.

Purdue Bands & Orchestra, which sponsors the event, will offer a more formal jazz and dance event during its Evening of Romance set for 8-10:30 p.m. Feb. 15 in the University Plaza Hotel Grand Ballroom, 3001 Northwestern Ave., West Lafayette. The cabaret-style event will include a dessert buffet and music for dancing by the Purdue Jazz Band. Tickets are $19.50 per person. For ticket information, call (765) 494-3933.

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