Dance Travel News

News, reviews, features and announcements for people who like to dance and also like to travel. Here you'll find out where to go out dancing around the US and abroad. In Dance Travel News you'll find feature articles, news blurbs, reviews and announcements of upcoming dance events, dance weekends, supper clubs with dancing to live bands, dance cruises, dances benefiting charities, outdoor dancing, dance festivals, and dance performances. Check here regularly, and become a fan on our Facebook page, Dance Travel News, for reviews and news items about where to enjoy ballroom dancing, swing dancing, west coast swing, foxtrot, rumba, mambo, waltz, cha cha, salsa, tango, hustle, country 2-step and more, plus ballet, modern dance and jazz. Submit dance related news to editor Lisa Skriloff at lisa@multicultural, 212-242-3351.

News Blurb: LUIS BRAVO'S FOREVER TANGO RETURNS TO BROADWAY

Luis Bravo’s internationally acclaimed entertainment phenomenon Forever Tango, will return to the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York city, for ten weeks only with performances beginning Tuesday, July 9, 2013 through Sunday, September 15, 2013. Five-time Grammy Award-winner Gilberto Santa Rosa will star as the first special guest star for the first three weeks of the engagement.   Read more >>

News Blurb: New Film, “Musical Chairs,” Features Competitive Wheelchair Dance

The new film, “Musical Chairs” is a unique blend of dance, drama and romance of two New Yorkers, Armando Ortiz from the Bronx and Mia Franklin from the Upper East Side, who come together through their love of ballroom dancing featuring both disabled and able-bodied performers in its rousing dance scenes. The film stars newcomers Leah Pipes and E.J. Bonilla pair as unlikely lovers in contemporary New York who must face a number of challenges, both separately and together, before finding one another--and themselves.  Also starring Tony-winner Priscilla Lopez, Jaime Tirelli, Laverne Cox, Morgan Spector, Auti Angel, Jerome Preston Bates, Nelson R. Landrieu, and Angelic Zambrana, Musical Chairs was produced by Janet Carrus and Joey Dedio. Musical Chairs is about Armando (Bonilla) a Bronx-bred Latino who aspires to be a dancer but whose only way in is as a handyman at a Manhattan dance studio, and Mia (Pipes), an Upper East Side princess who is the studio's star performer. Top dancer, Mia gets in a tragic accident leaving her wheelchair-bound, her love interest introduces her to wheelchair ballroom dance and helps Mia rediscover her passion for dance, and for life. Though worlds apart, their shared passion for dance promises to bring them together until a tragic accident changes Mia's life forever, and she finds herself wheelchair-bound at a rehab facility, with her dreams of a dance career shattered. Fortunately, Armando has enough dreams for both of them and, when he hears about a wheelchair ballroom dance competition that will soon be held in NY, he sees a way to return something to Mia that she thinks is lost forever.  At first she is reluctant--wheelchair dancing, though highly popular overseas, is something she never even knew existed. But, with the help of several other residents at the rehab center, Armando organizes an intense training program that will bring them all center stage and in the spotlight. Musical Chairs, the latest film by renowned director Susan Seidelman screened at The International Film Festival of Manhattan. Producer Janet Carrus, long active in charities benefiting the disabled, and herself an ardent ballroom dance enthusiast, who first had the idea of building a film around the phenomenon of wheelchair ballroom dancing, an activity long popular in Europe and Asia, but which is only now developing a wider following in the United States. For more information, visit http://www.musicalchairsthefilm.com/  Read more >>

News Blurb: 6th Annual International Waikiki Hula Conference Pays Tribute to 50 Years of Merrie Monarch Festival

Hula enthusiasts from around the world are invited to celebrate the art of hula in its native surroundings at the 6th Annual International Waikiki Hula Conference, May 17 to 19, 2013 at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. Open to dancers of all experience levels with an interest in hula, the conference will bring together hundreds of hula lovers for a weekend filled with hula, chant, history, crafts and more. The conference workshops, mele (songs) and hula will pay tribute to and celebrate the Merrie Monarch Festival’s 50th anniversary. The festival honors the legacy of King David Kalākaua, which perpetuates traditions, native language and the arts. The workshop mele and hula will be taught by award-winning kumu hula (hula teachers), some of whom have also competed on the famed Merrie Monarch stage. “The International Waikiki Hula Conference brings together members of the worldwide hula community with some of the industry’s most renowned Hawaiian cultural practitioners to perpetuate the authentic art of hula,” said Marnie Weeks, International Waikiki Hula Conference producer. “We hope that visitors and locals alike will join us in extending the celebratory spirit of the 50th Merrie Monarch Festival for this special weekend of appreciation and respect for hula.” With over 80 Merrie Monarch-themed workshops at this International Waikiki Hula Conference, attendees will have the opportunity to learn hula with special significance to kuma hula. Attendees also will learn about Hilo, Merrie Monarch’s hometown, and its special places through songs such as “Hilo Hula,” written in the 1940s by Joseph Nohea Kalima and taught by his granddaughter, kumu Iwalani Kalima. In addition to learning mele and hula, participants will have the opportunity to attend workshops and seminars covering related aspects of hula, such as making an authentic ti leaf Hilo-style neck lei or an ipu heke (double gourd drum) with one of Hawaii’s master implement crafters. The International Waikiki Hula Conference offers individuals the rare opportunity to come to Hawaii to learn, share and experience hula in the land of its birth, with a variety of respected hula masters. Visit www.waikikihulaconference.com Read more >>

"Dancing Classrooms" Dinner-Dance Fundraising Gala on Feb. 13, 2013

January 2013 -- Musical strains from the Paul Errico Orchestra will fill the air of the Pierre Grand Ballroom and guests will fill the dance floor at “No Feet Left Behind,” Dancing Classrooms’ benefit dinner dance, on Wednesday, February 13.  The black-tie gala is Dancing Classrooms’ major fundraising event of the year. Proceeds will play an important role in helping the organization carry out its mission: To build social awareness, confidence and self-esteem in children through the practice of social dance.   Read more >>

The Edison Ballroom: Joe Battaglia and The NYBB, February 15th, 2013

Swing Into Winter – In recognition of Valentine’s Day, Joe Battaglia and the New York Big Band Headline the Edison Ballroom Swing into Winter on Friday, February 15, 2013. The Edison Ballroom will host big band leader, Joe Battaglia and the New York Big Band.  Having traveled the world performing with icons like Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey, and Tony Bennett, Joe’s brilliant big band sound is considered among the best ever.  He has performed for such dignitaries as Hilary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, and Barbara Walters.  For more than 10 years, Joe and his orchestra performed regularly at The Rainbow Room, Tavern on the Green, and Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing, but this date represents his 3rd anniversary of his performing at the Edison Ballroom.  Joe’s New York Big Band is composed of a 16- piece orchestra as well as accompanying vocalists.  Also featured at this event will be the romantic Latin sounds of Direct Latin Influence, also known as DLI. For more information, please contact info@edisonballroom.com.   Read more >>

News Blurb: Step Up to the Barre for the Latest Dance Fitness Craze

The Ballet Physique, Colorado’s first independent barre fitness studio, is home to a transformational exercise method that fuses elements of strength training, cardio, Pilates and classical dance. Dance is a great way to inspire confidence in women, as well as a fun and healthy way to stay fit throughout one's life.  With the new barre workout series, The Ballet Physique DVD Collection, both experienced and aspiring dancers can now join in on the popular new dance workout trend of barre fitness without leaving home. The Ballet Physique DVD Collection is suitable for every fitness level and includes two distinct routines. These full-body workouts are designed to melt fat, blast calories, flatten abs, and sculpt muscles. The two routines featured in the series are now available to view as a video online including Signature Sculpt and Amped Up. Kristen Zurek, founder of The Ballet Physique, certified fitness instructor and former professional dancer, is the lead instructor in Signature Sculpt, a dynamic 60-minute workout with light weights, intense yet non-impact exercise sequences, and ballet-inspired techniques. Amped Up is a 45-minute express class that focuses on building strength and boosting the metabolism through the use of heavier weights and fast-paced exercises, a perfect workout to maximize calorie burn in a time crunch. Kristin Skordahl, a certified personal trainer and the assistant director of training at The Ballet Physique Fitness Studio, is the lead instructor in Amped Up. The Collection is available nationwide for purchase through Amazon.com. For more information, visit www.theballetphysique.com.  
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Joe Battaglia and The New York Big Band will be Performing at The Edison Ballroom on New Year's Eve

This New Years Eve, the Edison Ballroom will once again host legendary big band leader, Joe Battaglia and the New York Big Band. Having traveled the world performing with icons like Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey, and Tony Bennett, Joe’s brilliant big band sound is considered among the best ever. He has performed for such dignitaries as Hilary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, and Barbara Walters. For the past 15 years, Joe and his orchestra have performed regularly at The Rainbow Room, Tavern on the Green, Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing, and most recently, right here at the Edison Ballroom. Joe’s New York Big Band is composed of a 16- piece orchestra as well as accompanying vocalists. Also featured at this event will be the romantic Latin sounds of Direct Latin Influence, also known as DLI. Visit http://edisonballroom.com/new-years-eve-parties-nyc/.  Read more >>

Joe Battaglia and The New York Big Band at The Edison Ballroom

If you like a glamorous Rainbow Room-type supper club evening, with ballroom dancing and a romantic Valentine’s Day vibe, the Joe Battaglia and The New York Big Band event at The Edison Ballroom delivers. The evening includes an all-night-long open bar, 4-course dinner and 4 hours of dancing to the live music of Joe Battaglia’s Big Band sound (with Direct Latin Influence, also known as DLI, playing during their breaks).

The recent September “Swing Into Autumn” event offered all at a value priced $100 per person for a table on the mezzanine level ($150 on the dance floor). Our evening was a swirl of dancing to Moonlight Serenade, Skylark, What kind of Fool am I? and Moon River, (perhaps in honor of Andy Williams whose passing had been announced that week) --- all the songs that inspire a kiss from your partner at the end of each dance. This inimitable experience fills the void left dark by the Rainbow Room’s closing. Our intimate little table for two gave us happy New Yorkers the kind of evening out on a run-of-the-mill Friday night that most couples only see on their anniversary. Two more such evenings are scheduled this year, both holiday events: Nov 23rd, (the Friday after Thanksgiving) and New Year’s Eve. Visit http://edisonballroom.com.

Here’s what you can expect:
The doors opened at 7pm and the music by DLI was underway. As tables were being seated by the hostess, several couples were already on the dance floor.  It was like being at a wedding but you don’t have to wait for everyone to be seated to be served your dinner. Or for the bride and groom to kick off the dancing. We started with our pre-dinner cocktails and ordered our meal. At 8:02 Joe struck up the band, officially starting the evening. His singer, Timatha Kasten was soon onstage and we rose to dance to  “Making Whoopee,” (Busy, is he?)

We looked around. Who are these dancers?, I wondered.  Not the dance school crowd, not the Midsummer Night Swing crowd. We didn’t recognize anyone. Though we overheard two couples recognize each other from the Rainbow Room. Many a couple dipped and one did many aerials. Some dancers were very good. Some were simply having a good time. Tables 5, 6, 7 and 8 ring the dance floor and those couples were enjoying each other’s company. The romantic music inspired one couple seated at a table at the edge of the dance floor to feed each other. (Upstairs Tables 36 and 37 at the balcony edge have the best view of the dancers).

Just the Way you look Tonight? The Way you Wear your Hat? The women were in cocktail dresses, a few in ball gowns; just one in pants; long black gloves, feathers and flowers in hair were spotted. The men in suits and ties. Some jackets came off for dancing. See the guy in spats?

Joe Battaglia took his break at 8:40, and DLI took the stage. We’re taking a 20 minute break, Joe said and at 9 pm they were back on. We were into the rhythm of the evening.

John and I were keeping track of how many different dances we would do to see if we could break our record, a record actually set dancing to Joe Battaglia at the Rainbow Room for my birthday dinner out 4 years ago. At the Rainbow Room we had danced ten different dances styles.

This night, plenty of swing and foxtrot all night long. …..“Just  a Gigolo“…..then Dean Martin classics. “We gotta get up and dance to Dean,” said John who can be counted on to spring up every time any band anywhere plays “Ain't That a Kick in the Head.” We were up and down all evening from the mezzanine to the dance floor. But who could be lazy if you’ve come to dance for four hours.

“Was that a quickstep we did?” I asked John, who was leading so he would know. “No, there’s no room here to do a quickstep,” he said. But knowing I was keeping track he said, “You can say we did an open foxtrot as well as that closed foxtrot.”

Now Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are.” John hesitated. Let’s rumba, I suggested.
Now a song featuring Joe’s trumpet solo (there were more). It was a hustle, an instrumental version of Do the Hustle, which morphed into “Tangerine” (who knew that was a hustle?) and back. But John won’t Do the Hustle, so beating the record was looking doubtful. (Perplexingly he thinks it’s too much work.)

Hey, we can West Coast Swing to “My Heart Belongs to Daddy,” and finally a waltz medly.

When Joe took a break, we took a break and returned to our seats to continue eating our dinner. Like at a wedding, Joe makes the rounds to greet fans and friends at their tables, but collecting kisses and handshakes, not envelopes.

Appetizer choices were grilled shrimp with tart mango salsa and avocado; seared scallops with sage brown butter sauce and ricotta cheese ravioli with brown butter sauce. Salad options were baby arugula, endive and goat cheese with raspberry vinaigrette; mixed baby greens with shaved pecorino Romano and balsamic vinaigrette; hearts of romaine with Parmesan croutons and Caesar dressing.

We had asked our waitress to hold each course since we expected  to be gone from the table a lot.

I chose the pan seared grouper with red bill potatoes and fall vegetable medley for my entrée while John went with the petit filet with roasted potatoes and fall vegetable medley in red wine sauce.

Our desserts, molten chocolate cake for me and apple cobbler with vanilla ice cream for him, had to wait while we jumped up to dance to DLI.  Good thing the ice cream was left off because one Latin number lasted almost the entire 20 minute break.

DLI gave us a meringue and when they played the Happy Birthday song in honor of two of their bandmates, lucky for us it was a Cha Cha.  Here we go Salsa to “Mira Como Baila.”

Joe played the last hour, midnight to 1 pm without a break and we got in our tango and--surprise--a paso doble. John claimed he didn’t know how to do that one but I convinced him to dance it by telling him that paso doble means two-step in Spanish (and being a big country dancer he knows that one) plus the “going for the record” factor. ‘You don’t have to be good, just fake it,” I begged. And he did.

“If you like swing dancing and top-shelf drinking, this is a really great value,” John had to say, after a nice long evening (7 pm to 1 am) of both (they had him at Glen Livet.) He compared it to a  recent evening --- a typical dinner with wine and cocktails-- where the bill was over $250 for the two of us. At the Edison Ballroom, we had countless refills of red wine with dinner and my kahlua and his afore-mentioned scotch afterwards.
But why dwell on the value when the singular experience of dancing to the legendary Joe Battaglia Big Band was the priceless experience we came for. When we had danced to them at the Rainbow Room that bill was over $500 (but there I go again about the value.)

At our Edison Ballroom night we were at our 10 dance record. Swing, foxtrot, tango, rumba, west coast swing, paso doble, waltz, meringue, cha cha, salsa.

Would we beat our record? When Joe gave us Barry Manilow’s “At the Copa” I knew I was doomed. John wont hustle, don’t ask him.

At 10 dances, we tied but didn’t break our record. How could we have missed a mambo? I know why we didn’t hustle. But John refused to take the blame for missing the opportunity to beat our record, even though he wouldn’t hustle. “Blame it on the bossa nova, he likes to say.

By: Lisa Skriloff, Editor, Dance Travel News

  (above) Joe Battaglia and The New York Big Band

 

 

 (above) Singer Timatha Kasten

 


   (above) Dancers at Edison Ballroom from balcony view


   (above) Edison Ballroom from mezzanine view


 

  (above) Dancers at Edison Ballroom

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Dancing Onboard the Hornblower Infinity Starlight Dinner Cruise

The evening was Nice ‘n Easy and that was the song that was playing as we were seated at our table onboard the Hornblower Infinity, ready for our dinner cruise in the New York harbor.

“Is that Frank Sinatra?” I asked John sitting across from me. He was ready to dine, drink and dance. “No, it’s Michael Bublé,” he said.

And look at that huge dance floor, I thought. Usually I like being at a table close to the dance floor at any supper club experience we can find around the world for Dance Travel News. And indeed we were shown to table 119 at the edge of the dance floor, so close that our bread crumbs would hit the beautiful wooden floor. But the expectation of cruising right by the Statue of Liberty won out and I asked if we could switch to a table by the window. It was a tough choice but on this warm August evening I went with the table best for a view of the New York City landmarks we would be passing.
And that was a good call because once the ship got underway we didn’t leave the air conditioning to venture outside once.  Read more >>

The Edison Ballroom - Joe Battaglia and the NYBB presents "Swing Into Autumn"

Joe Battaglia and the New York Big Band Headline the Edison Ballroom Swing into Autumn on Friday, September 28th, 2012. The Edison Ballroom will once again host legendary big band leader, Joe Battaglia and the New York Big Band.  Having traveled the world performing with icons like Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey, and Tony Bennett, Joe’s brilliant big band sound is considered among the best ever.  He has performed for such dignitaries as Hilary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, and Barbara Walters.  For more than 10 years, Joe and his orchestra performed regularly at The Rainbow Room, Tavern on the Green, and Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing, but this date represents his 3rd anniversary of his performing at the Edison Ballroom.  Joe’s New York Big Band is composed of a 16- piece orchestra as well as accompanying vocalists.  Also featured at this event will be the romantic Latin sounds of Direct Latin Influence, also known as DLI.  Read more >>