New Orleans 11th Annual Swing Dance Festival Honors Marriage of Jazz Music and Dance

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Learn to dance, witness swing battles and hear New Orleans’ greatest bands at the New Orleans Swing Dance Festival and Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown.

Dance competitions are just one of the highlights of the 11th annual swing dance festival.

New Orleans Swing Dance Festival

"Hoping to honor the timeless marriage between jazz dance and live music, our festival includes dance lessons, dance competitions, outdoor concerts, a second line parade, parties and more."

Swing dancers and jazz fans from around the globe will gather in New Orleans, LA Thursday, Sept. 27 through Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 as they transport to a time when swing was king and everybody danced for the 11th annual New Orleans Swing Dance Festival and Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown.

"Hoping to honor the timeless marriage between jazz dance and live music, our festival includes dance lessons, dance competitions, outdoor concerts, a second line parade, parties and more," says Event Director Amy Johnson. "We really try to make this an event for all ages and all dance levels."

The event kicks off Thursday evening with a free pre-party at Maison with music by The Shotgun Jazz Band. Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings, the world’s best swing dancers compete in exciting events set to the tune of New Orleans’ best dance bands.

Working in conjunction with the French Market, the New Orleans Swing Dance Festival and Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown will host free outdoor concerts on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday featuring two outdoor dance floors and swing dance shows. Afternoon concerts will feature Aurora Nealand’s Royal Roses (Friday), The Jazzsmiths featuring Cristina Perez (Saturday), and Showarama Hot Jazz Trio (Sunday). Sunday also features a free-to-enter Intergenerational Dance Contest at 1:45 p.m. Couples must have a 30-year age difference and can sign up prior to the contest at the French Market dance floor.

Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. - 1:15 p.m., the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park will host dance classes in Lindy Hop, Blues Dance, Traditional Jazz and Balboa-Swing, taught by international instructors. Classes are for all levels and take place at The Old US Mint. All daytime events are free and open to the public.

Friday night’s after party takes place at The Wax Museum with music by The Smoking Time Jazz Club, Saturday features a party at Generations Hall with music by the Showdown All-Stars led by Ben Polcer featuring Meschiya Lake, and Sunday night dancers will gather at Generations Hall with Meschiya Lake & The Lil Big Horns. After parties on Friday and Saturday are held in partnership with the Old US Mint and will be held from 1:30 a.m. – 4 a.m. Luke Winslow King & The Rag-Time Millionaires will provide the grooves on Saturday.

The free official after party takes place Sunday at 1:30 a.m. with 7inch Soul, an all vinyl dance party in the Penthouse at Maison on Frenchmen Street. Event director Amy Johnson will spin vintage R&B, soul, & funk records until the sun comes up.    
Late Sunday afternoon, dancers will meet at the French Market Flea Market Stage for a Lindy Hop Second Line Parade. Winners of the “Showdown” battle will lead the parade with Darryl “Dancin’Man504” Young and music by The Royal Street Wreckers.
To close the festivities, dancers trade in their swing shoes for sneakers for the highly anticipated “Musician vs Dancers Baseball Game” at St Roch Field on Monday at 2 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and is sponsored by Three Muses.

Weekend package tickets are sold online for a discount, or tickets can be purchased individually at the door for all events. Evening events cost $60 per show; after parties cost $25 per night on Friday and Saturday. For additional details, please visit the official website at http://www.lindyshowdown.net.

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Tiffany Napper
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