January 27, 2020 – Sweethearts and friends can take a dance class and then practice their steps to live music at the annual Valentine’s Day swing dance party Friday, Feb. 14, 2020. The swing dance lessons start at 6:30 p.m. and the Santa Fe Big Band will play two sets beginning at 7:30 p.m. The party is held in the lobby of the Jackson N. Sasser Fine Arts Hall at the Santa Fe College Northwest Campus. Finger foods and nonalcoholic beverages are included in the admission price. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person or $20 per couple. Tickets are available by calling the Box Office at 352-395-4181, at the door or online at sfcollege.edu/finearts.
Members of and vocalists with the SF Big Band are students in the college’s Music program.
“Swing is a jazz musical style that dates back to the beginning of the 1920s and the big band era,” explained SF interim associate professor of Music and Band Director David Smith, who will conduct the student musicians at the dance. “Back then, jazz was the most popular form of music; it was played in ballrooms and hotels for entertainment and dancing. Composers and bandleaders such as Duke Ellington and Count Basie contributed to the popularity of swing music; it stood the test of time and the music and dances it inspired are still popular today.”
Smith lists Count Basie’s “One O’Clock Jump” and Duke Ellington’s “Cotton Tail” and “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue” as his favorite swing tunes. Other bandleaders who helped to make swing popular include Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and Les Brown.
Created by African-American, swing dance is a partner form that evolved multiracially along with the popularity of swing jazz. This year’s Valentine’s Day dance selections will include standards by Duke Ellington, Count Basie and other composers such as: “My Funny Valentine,” “Blue Skies,” “In the Mood,” “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Jumpin’ at the Woodside,” and “Molten Swing,” just to name a few.
For more information about the event or the Santa Fe College bands, call David Smith at 352-395-5313.