Summer in the City

Swingin’ Seattle

If you can’t dance with the stars, at least you can dance under them.

By Alexandra Notman and Mary Pritchard July 28, 2010


If you’re looking for a way to burn off that happy hour energy after work, or maybe you’re scrounging for a cheap date (hey, we won’t judge), then we’re here to let you in on a secret: People are dancing outdoors all over the city this summer. They’re even getting dance lessons. For free. Free!

Sound too good to be true? We checked out the Dancing Til Dusk blues and swing night yesterday at Westlake Park and witnessed firsthand how DJ and instructor Ari Levitt could teach a group of 40+ strangers the basics of what he calls “the walking blues.”

“Teaching beginners is all about taking it down to the simplest level, and for dancing, that’s shifting your weight," says Levitt. "If you can walk and hold hands, then you’re already halfway there.”

Read: You don’t have to be a Dancing with the Stars aficionado to participate. You don’t even have to bring a partner. Levitt—a dance instructor since 1991—and his dance pal Whitney Evans led the crowd through the paces, “and transfer, 2-3-4, pulse, 2-3-4," all the while encouraging couples to ask questions and “snuggle up” to their partners if they felt comfortable.

Event organizer Lilli Ann Carey sees as many new faces as regulars each night of Dancing Til Dusk, and when they have live bands perform—like last Tuesday—crowds of 300+ gather to shimmy, shake, and swing.

Check out our slideshow for some photos from last night’s blues and swing night at Westlake Park, and see below for the remaining Dancing Til Dusk events.
All photos by Alexandra Notman

Dancing til Dusk: 16 Glorious Nights of Dancing Outdoors in Downtown Parks
Lessons from 6-7
Dancing from 7-9

‘Swing the Blues and Back’ Tuesdays in Westlake Park
Aug 3 Glenn Crytzer and the Syncopators (big band swing)
Aug 10 Blues Night with DJ topher Howard
Aug 17 Solomon Douglas Swingtet (swing and blues)

‘Dance a little Romance’ Thursdays in Freeway Park
July 29 Maia Santell and House Blend (swing and blues)
Aug 5 John Holte’s Radio Rhythm Orchestra (big band swing)
Aug 12 Tangabrazo (tango)
Aug 19 Joker’s Wild, A Ball Blanc with waltzing, swing and more

Thursdays at SAM’s Olympic Sculpture Park
Aug 26 Tumbao (salsa)
Sept 2 KGB, a Ball Blanc with waltzing and more
Sept 9 Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, Big Band Swing, Part of the Art of Jazz program in connection with Earshot Jazz

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