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.

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

  Read more >>

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 >>

News Blurb: Tango & Salsa Sundays Spice Up Summer at The Claremont, Berkeley, CA

When dancers check in at The Claremont Hotel Club and Spa in Berkeley, CA , the passion of tango and salsa will capture their heart and move their feet. On the last Sunday of each month, through November 18, 2012, dancers of all levels can shimmy the night away for only $20 per person with live music and instruction from industry professionals with over 20 years of experience. “Tango/Salsa Sundays are a great opportunity for dancers of all levels to have some fun, while enjoying the beautiful venue The Claremont Hotel Club and Spa offers,” said Bruce Carlton, general manager of The Claremont. Stella Ling and Ashvin will lead Tango Sundays, while Salsa Sundays will be taught by Yismari Ramos Tellez and Erick Barberia.  Each instructor brings their distinctive styles and knowledge to the dance floor delivering exciting Tango + Salsa classes each month. Tango Sundays will take place on the last Sunday of August and October, while Salsa Sundays will occur in September and November. All dance series will begin with a complimentary class from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and end at 12 midnight.  Classes are fun and open to all levels, giving dancers the opportunity to learn proper walks and foot placements in a relaxed and highly constructive atmosphere. A series finale October Dance Weekend will take place between Friday, Oct. 26, 2012 and Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012 and dancers can choose to participate in as many activities as they like. The festivities will begin with a welcome reception followed by an Argentine Tango “Milonga” or Tango dance party, on Friday, Oct. 26, 2012. On Saturday, guests will have the opportunity to take all-day dance classes and the night will conclude with Meritage’s Argentine Winemaker and a second Milonga. Sunday will include all-day dance instruction and an Argentine Spa Treatment option, followed by a “Light Flights & Bites” celebration and a final Milonga. For more information and to register, visit www.claremont-hotel.tix.com.  Read more >>

News Blurb: Fall Back and Swing Dance into the Season at Sugar Ridge, Antigua, West Indies

Sugar Ridge, Antigua’s chicest boutique hotel, is offering North Americans smitten with “Dancing With the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance,” the opportunity to join the swing dance craze. After months of preparation, the Big Band Era of the 1940s once again comes alive beginning October 21st. For one week (October 21 – 28, 2012), Sugar Ridge will be crawling with saddle-shoed hep cats who love to jitterbug all night long. “Swing is on an upsurge,” said Patricia Fitzpatrick, co-founder of Ambassador Productions. The Sugar Ridge hotel package includes seven nights’ accommodations in a luxurious hillside contemporary guestroom, Round trip airport/hotel transfers, Welcome Reception with rum drinks and steel drum band, Wednesday Meet The Band waterfront luncheon at Jolly Harbor, complimentary dance lessons Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons with professional dancer Jonas Bielkevicius, five live Big Band Shows at Sugar Ridge, Saturday Night Swing Dance Contest with prizes given for Best World War II period costumed couple and Best Swing Dance Couple and more. Sugar Ridge is an exclusive contemporary boutique hotel set on the beautiful and enchanting island of Antigua. Visit www.sugarridgeantigua.com.  Read more >>

News Blurb: The Jamaican Independence Celebration Foundation Inc. and the Consulate General of Jamaica Announce Date for Jamaica’s 50th Independence Gala, NYC, August 18th

It is time to pick out those ball gowns and tuxedos and mark August 18th, the date of this year’s gala celebrations in honor of Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of Independence. The Gala organized by the Jamaican Independence Celebration Foundation Inc. and the Consulate General of Jamaica will take place at The New York Hilton Hotel. The 50th Independence Gala, mandated the official Jamaica 50 celebratory event, will begin with cocktails at 6:30 pm, followed by dinner at 8.00 pm.  Guests will dance the night away to the pulsating tunes of Jamaica’s pre-eminent reggae band Fab 5, who will be performing their record breaking hits until 3:00am. “We invite all Jamaicans and Jamaicans at heart to come and join us in toasting Jamaica’s golden celebrations,” said Paulette Willoughby, chair of The Jamaican Independence Celebration Foundation. “The event will be one to remember for many years to come.” Tickets to the Independence Gala are priced at $200 per person and ticket outlet locations will be announced shortly.  For more information and advance ticket sales, call 212-935-9000.  Read more >>

News Blurb: Sunset Salsa Fires Up The Meatpacking District, NYC

Back by popular demand as one of the city’s most successful dance festivals for the 4th consecutive year, Sunset Salsa kicked off a 13 week series of free outdoor salsa dancing on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at the 14th Street Triangle in the Meatpacking District. “It has been amazing to be a part of Sunset Salsa and to watch how it has grown over the past four years, attracting people from all over the world,” says Talia Castro-Pozo, world renowned dancer and founder of Sunset Salsa.  In collaboration with the Chelsea Improvement Company, salseek.com, a multimedia digital magazine featuring the best of Latin dance and music, Top Tier Hospitality, Afterwork Salsa Mondays at Taj, and 1800 Coconut Tequila, Sunset Salsa attracts over 8,000 salsa lovers throughout the summer, while creating an exhilarating festival in the heart of downtown Manhattan. Every Thursday night, starting June 7th to August 31st, the 14th Street Triangle, located between 9th Avenue and 14th Street, across from the Apple Store, will transform into a night-time Salsa soiree kicking off with a free salsa lesson with Talia Castro-Pozo and international guest instructors at 6:30 p.m. and dancing till 9 p.m. with music by DJ Woody Partial benefits of this year’s festival will go to support the educational programs of Global Potential, a non-profit organization that empowers youth and communities to energize each other through education, international service work and cultural exchange.  Since 2007, Global Potential has provided 375 inner-city youth with transformative life experiences, increasing self-esteem, leadership, and college entry. For more information, visit www.salseek.com and www.sunsetsalsa.com.
  Read more >>

Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame

Take a step into the Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame located in Euclid and you’re instantly surrounded by Cleveland’s polka history. With plaques of big names like Frankie Yankovic, Johnny Pecon and Johnny Vadnal adorning the perimeters, the museum takes visitors on a journey involving legendary oompah bands, vintage accordions, ornate performance costumes and images and video of this post-war, ethnic folk dance that reflected a time of happiness and prosperity. Admission is free to the four-room museum, but it’s always nice to toss a donation their way (or purchase a fabulous polka CD in their gift shop). For more information, visit www.clevelandstyle.com.
  Read more >>

News Blurb: Lincoln Center Announces Midsummer Night Swing, June 26 – July 14, 2012, NYC

Tickets are already on sale for Lincoln Center’s 24th season of “Midsummer Night Swing” taking place Tuesdays through Saturdays, June 26—July 14.  The Swing’s 15 dazzling nights of dancing, and one free daytime lesson for children, take place at the bandshell and elevated dance floor in Damrosch Park, on West 62nd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. “Midsummer Night Swing” offers an array of dance music styles including salsa, swing, tango, rock ‘n’ roll, and bhangra. The series opens on June 26 with a look back at the Mad Men era of the fifties and sixties with The Nelson Riddle Orchestra paying tribute to the music of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald.  The lush orchestrations, the swelling strings and romantic melodies defined cool in that era and made the dance floor the only place to be.  Subsequent nights will bring sizzling salsa, New Orleans jazz, lively lindy-hopping, torrid tango, and rollicking rock ‘n’ roll onto the stage and out onto the floor.  Another of the many highlights, and new this year, will be a night celebrating the centennial of Luis Gonzaga, the father of baião, the popular dance music from the northeastern region of Brazil. The night begins with a dance lesson at 6:30 pm for all levels with some of New York’s foremost instructors. Lessons are included in the price of admission. Live music and dancing is at 7:30 pm until 10 pm, and dancing continues until 11:30 pm on July 7 and 12 for the Silent Discos. Silent Discos will take place on the dance floor around Damrosch Park when the sound system is turned off, the dance party keeps going – the DJ broadcasts directly to dancers’ headphones, provided by Silent Frisco. Passers-by will see hundreds of people dancing to seemingly no music – a silent disco. Multi-evening Midsummer Night Passes are priced at $80 for six nights, and $160 for the full season.  New this year are the Latin Pass for $60 for four nights of Latin dance, and the Swing pass for $60 for four nights of swing dance. Tickets for individual evening events are $17. For more information, visit www.MidsummerNightSwing.org   Read more >>

News Blurb: 2012 Tribeca Film Festival Features Dance Features and Shorts

The 2012 Tribeca Film Festival features dance films and includes “Ballroom Dance” directed and written by Christian Bonke and Andreas Koefoed;“BAM150” directed by Michael Sládek; “Fame High” directed and written by Scott Hamilton Kennedy and “Prima” directed and written by Miguel Calayan.“Ballroom Dancer”, in Russian with English subtitles begins as a comeback story and evolves into a movingly intimate tragic romance. “BAM150” is a testament to the power and stamina of the institution that made Brooklyn Academy of Music a cultural mecca. “Fame High” is a tribute to discovering your passion and deciding whether you have the talent to take it to the next level. “Prima,” a short film from the Philippines is about a ballerina who leaps and spins in front of an invisible audience until she falls limp on the ground and returns to reality – alone in a room on a wheelchair. The Tribeca Film Festival was founded in 2002 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal & Craig Hatkoff as a response to the attacks on the World Trade Center. Conceived to foster the economic and cultural revitalization of Lower Manhattan through an annual celebration of film, music and culture, the Festival's mission is to promote New York City as a major filmmaking center and allow its filmmakers to reach the broadest possible audience. Though the Festival is anchored in Tribeca, events take place in neighborhoods throughout Manhattan, including film screenings, concerts, a family street fair, panel discussions, and other special events. For more information, visit http://www.tribecafilm.com.  Read more >>