Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Get into the swing of things at BPL

Swing’s the thing this summer.

Thursdays outside the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch, practice your lindy hop and put a feather in your hair as the Park Slope spot hosts its Plaza Swing Series, with dancing outdoors on its expansive plaza — an untapped natural dance floor if there ever was one.

Local bands providing the music to get you moving. Next up, it’s Matt Munisteri on July 15, playing New Orleans swing and the music of Sidney Bechet, Bob Crosby, and Eddie Condon. Other acts throughout the summer include Paul Shapiro.

Each week, it’s also a different style of dance, from New Orleans swing to the musette style to the classic swing steps from the 1930s set to the likes of Fats Waller and Teddy Wilson.

But “once the music starts, anything goes,” said Meredith Walters, the library’s manger of adult programs. “Any dancing is OK, as long as you’re having a good time.”

For fans of other city events such as Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing series, a new venue to dance outdoors is welcome.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to bring attention in the neighborhood to lindy hop and to the public library, both of which I am a huge fan,” said Veronica Wong (pictured with dance partner Brian Lawton, an avid swing dancer who lives in the city. “I know there are tons of swing dancers in Brooklyn, and I am sure there are many, many jazz enthusiasts/swing-dancers-to-be in Brooklyn, so I hope that the series can replicate the success of Midsummer Night Swing.”

For those new to swing, or need some brushing up on their skills, dance instructor Eve Polich will be holding lessons before each session.

Most of all, feel free to dress up.

“It’s great to see people in swing-era duds, in feathers and bright red cocktail dresses,” said Walters. “It looks great too, with the sun setting to have folks dressed up to the nines.”

Because even if you can’t dance like a swing star, you can still look like one.

Plaza Swing Series at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch [Flatbush Avenue at Eastern Parkway in Grand Army Plaza, (718) 230-2100], July 15 at 7 pm, with a lesson at 6:30 pm. Free. For info, visit www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org.

Photo by Stefano Giovannini


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