Jun 28, 2011

Friday, July 8 Cocktails at The Commons with The Randys

Join us downtown at Columbus' newest park, Columbus Commons!  We've got beer, hot dogs, a free swing dance lesson, and one of our favorite bands on the planet.  Not bad for a Friday night.
This is a very family friendly event - lots of space for the kiddies to play, the carousel will be running, and Burgers, Dogs, and Fries will be open and selling...well, burgers, dogs, and fries.  And milkshakes!
This week we'll be enjoying Goose Island's 312 Urban Wheat Ale for the free tasting, and other drinks will also be for sale.
The festivities take place in the cafe/carousel area at the south end of the park along Rich Street.
5:00pm ~ DJ & Beer Tasting
5:30pm - 6:00pm ~ Free Beginner Swing Lesson
6:00pm - 9:00pm ~ The Randys
"The Randys play songs you didn't even know you liked with such conviction that you have no choice but to smile along."
-- Columbus Dispatch

Surface is fine gravel, so closed toe flat shoes are recommended!
Parking available across the street at 55 E Rich or at meters in the area. Ample bike racks available and lots of COTA bus routes pass the park too!

SwingColumbus Event Page

Facebook Event

Columbus Commons Website:

The Randys Facebook Page:

The Randys Website:

July is Month of the Newbie!

To help entice everyone to try swing dancing, we have an annual tradition of making July Month of the Newbie with lots of affordable opportunities to take a lesson and practice your skills.  Whether you're a complete newbie, or you've got some experience and want to expand into Charleston or Lindy Hop, this is a great month to go dancing!

Here's the schedule of upcoming awesome:

(and save the date for August 13, when we have Baby Soda from NYC playing LIVE for your dancing enjoyment!!)

Check the links for more info, but just to break it down:

Crash Course Thursdays
These are all completely from scratch, no prior experience needed, no partner needed, just strap on some comfortable shoes and we'll boogie!   Thursdays 7:30-9:30pm at Flex Fitness, $15 each ($5 off for members)
Lindy Hop, 6-count Swing, Partner Charleston, and The Shim Sham will all be taught.

Hot tip - Become a member and save!  It's only $25 per year to become a member of SwingColumbus, and you get discounts on workshops, classes, and the monthly dance.  You also get to vote on our board and are eligible for occasional special offers.  Say you wanted to take all 5 crash courses - you'll save $25 and the membership is already paid for.  Do it..... 

Swingin' Wednesdays
Every week at Nyoh's Buckeye Bar.  A 30 minute lesson is taught at 7:30pm and then we dance to DJs 8pm-11pm.  They have AWESOME happy hour specials for us and the food is great.  Only $3 cover!

Cocktails at the Commons - July 8th
We've got a free beer tasting, we've got a free 30 min beginner swing dance lesson, and we've got one of our favorite bands in the universe playing in Columbus' brand new lovely downtown park.  It's all free.  And if you chicken out and just sit and eat a hot dog and watch the rest of us dance, no one will be the wiser.

The SwingColumbus monthly dance is FREE in July! 
In celebration of Month of the Newbie we invite you to join us for a 1 hour lesson and 3 hours of DJs for FREE.  Our monthly dance has been going for about 8 years now and is a welcoming, low pressure environment to practice your moves and play around inventing new ones!

Mar 25, 2011

JAM with JAG in April

In honor of April being Jazz Appreciation Month, here are some upcoming events from Columbus' Jazz Arts Group!

SwingColumbus is proud to be a Jazz Academy Community Partner, which means if you're a member of SwingColumbus, you can enjoy discounts to these fantastic workshops and classes.  Check the links for pricing and ticket or registration information. 

The Jazz Academy's COOL SCHOOL: "Cool Jazz on the West Coast" led by Vaughn Wiester
March 27, 2011, 2 PM
Jazz Academy at the Lincoln Theatre (Columbus, OH)

Vaughn Wiester
Cool jazz caught fire on the West Coast, particularly in Los Angeles during 1952 and 1953. Characterized by tight arrangements, restrained sounds and thoughtful solos, the cool jazz era (1948 – 1960) produced great artists and recordings and influenced many styles of music to come. Join Vaughn Wiester to listen to and learn about great musicians such as Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker; groups like the Modern Jazz and the Dave Brubeck Quartet; and, explore the historical context of this influential musical movement.

Jazz Academy's COOL SCHOOL: Birth of the Cool Tour
April 1-30, 2011
Columbus Museum of Art (Columbus, OH)

In honor of Jazz Appreciation Month and in partnership with the Jazz Arts Group, the Columbus Museum of Art invites you to take a special Guide-By-Cell tour inspired by the Birth of the Cool. Discover the works of artist Man Ray, Rosemare Bearden, Stephen Longstreet and more. Come be moved by music and art.

The Columbus Museum of Art is open Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM and Thursdays from 10:00 AM to 8:30 PM. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for students ages 6 to 17 and free for children. For more information visit columbusmuseum.org.

Jazz Academy's COOL SCHOOL: "Jazz and Poetry" workshop led by William Evans
April 2 & 16, 2011, 4 PM
Thurber House & Columbus Museum of Art (Columbus, OH)

William Evans
Explore the relationship of jazz and poetry, its rhythmic and lyrical styles and its historical context, particularly in relationship to the cool jazz period of post-war United States. On Saturday, April 2, join William Evans at the Thurber House and begin writing your own poetry/spoken word. Learn poetry mechanics and basics; create, improvise and explore poetry and music in this unique workshop opportunity. The class will join together again on Saturday, April 16, in the galleries of the Columbus Museum of Art to perform their new written works with a live jazz trio amongst period artwork. Don’t miss this opportunity to express your creativity and spend time with others in this unique workshop format.

Jazz Arts Group's Inside Track series - Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
April 3, 2011, 7:30 PM
Capitol Theatre - Riffe Center (Columbus, OH)

Jazz Arts Group's Inside Track series makes a surprise stop at the Capitol Theatre - Riffe Center on Sunday, April 3 to welcome back 24-year-old New Orleans singer / songwriter / multi-instrumentalist and all-around musical powerhouse Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews & Orleans Avenue, with special guest Stretch Lefty. Rare indeed is the artist with the virtuosity to draw the unqualified respect of some of the most iconic legends in jazz and the ability to deliver a high-energy funk rock show capable of mesmerizing international rock stars. Surrounding Andrews is his band, Orleans Avenue - Mike Ballard on bass, Pete Murano on guitar, Joey Peebles on drums, Dwayne Williams on percussion and Dan Oestreicher on baritone sax – delivering an explosive, homegrown combination of funk, rock, R&B, jazz and hip-hop they call "Supafunkrock."

Jazz Arts Group's PBJ & Jazz series - Joe Hunter
April 9, 11:00 AM
Lincoln Theatre ballroom (Columbus, OH)

In celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month, the Jazz Arts Group of Columbus (JAG) welcomes the piano stylings of Joe Hunter to the Lincoln Theatre ballroom on April 9 for the season finale of PBJ & Jazz presented by Bob Evans Farms. PBJ & Jazz concerts are 1-hour long interactive concerts designed to introduce jazz and American music to young children and their families. Featuring some of Columbus’ finest musicians and ensembles, PBJ & Jazz concerts are hosted by former Columbus Music Hall owner and retired music educator Rebecca Ogden and are a great introduction to live music for the youngest audience member.

Columbus Jazz Orchestra's "A Night at the Apollo" featuring Marva Hicks
April 13-17, 2011
Southern Theatre (Columbus, OH)

Beg, scream and shout as the CJO pays tribute to the soul of American culture, the Apollo Theater!

The world famous Apollo Theater is so much more than a historic landmark – it is a source of pride and a symbol of brilliance of American artistic accomplishment. With its rich history and continued significance, the Apollo Theater, considered the bastion of African-American culture and achievement, is one of the most fascinating chronicles in American history. We’ll celebrate music greats like Dinah Washington, Gladys Knight, James Brown, Otis Redding, Same Cooke and many others whose careers were launched by this legendary finishing school!

Jazz Academy's COOL SCHOOL: "Birth of the Cool" workshop led by Mark Flugge
April 16, 2011, 2 PM
Jazz Academy at the Lincoln Theatre (Columbus, OH)

Birth of the Cool is the name of a compilation album by American jazz musician Miles Davis, but has come to signify a movement in American music. Cool jazz, which became prominent during the Second World War, stands an important reaction to bebop, (characterized by fast tempos and instrumental virtuosity) in that the music was intricately arranged with a composed sound along with improvised sections. Join Mark Flugge to learn about this important era in American music history – from the arrangements and instrumentation to the historical context and the artists associated with the movement.

Jazz Arts Group's Inside Track series - "Birth of the Cool"
April 29-30, 2011, 8 PM
Lincoln Theatre (Columbus, OH)

As jazz's bebop movement flourished during the late 1940s with its fast-paced rhythms from virtuosos like trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and saxophonist Charlie Parker, trumpeter Miles Davis headed off in a new direction. Taking cues from the innovations learned in Parker's group, Davis, along with his nonet, recorded 12 songs in a two-year span that, when released together on one album, became known as Birth of the Cool.

JAG's interpretation of Birth of the Cool will be a recreation of the iconic 1949-50 Miles Davis recording sessions and a retrospective of mid-century art, design, and music. This is a multimedia event in collaboration with and narration by Denny Griffith, president of the Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD), and will feature visual elements, including period furniture, on stage. The performance will include local musician Mark Flugge as musical director and will feature the great Jim Powell on trumpet.

Mar 2, 2011

New Lesson Series Format!

Last October we brought in two awesome Lindy Hop instructors who are part of a dance studio called Studio 88 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  Patrick Szmidt and Natasha Ouimet are really passionate about their teaching methods and after some great long conversations with them about lesson planning and curriculum development we were inspired to take a long look at our own lessons. 
Photo by David Heasley

Our goals are:
  • To make the intermediate classes begin from a higher level
  • To clearly differentiate one series from another
  • To create better swing dancers through strategic skill building
New Swingology Lessons Structure
We now have a beginner level with 3 courses that can be taken in any order, followed by an intermediate level of 4 courses that can also be taken in any order.  Balboa was taken out of our core offerings and basic Charleston was integrated into some of the Lindy Hop classes. 

Beginner Level - Swing 1
No experience required.  All classes begin from scratch and include the basics of frame and connection, a few moves, and some social dance ettiquette.  The two Lindy Hop classes will include different moves to develop your skills for level 2. If you have never taken dance lessons before, we recommend starting with 6-Count Swing before trying Lindy.

Swing 1a Swing 1b Swing 1c
Beginner 6-Count Beginner Lindy Hop Beginner Lindy Hop

Note:  Beginner 6-Count Swing (aka East Coast Swing or Jitterbug) is also taught before each of our Swingin' Tuesdays, as well as before the monthly Saturday dance at the YWCA, so there are lots of chances to learn and practice! 

Photo by David Heasley
Moving up to level 2 isn't just about completing all the level 1 classes - you should feel comfortable with the basics before you move up to level 2, so that we don't need to re-teach the basic steps.  If you're not sure if you're ready to move up, just ask one of our instructors to dance and they can give you feedback.

Intermediate Level - Swing 2
These classes will begin assuming you are comfortable doing the basics of Lindy Hop:  swingout, sendout (swingout from closed position), and Lindy circle.  Rather than starting from scratch, we'll review the basics at a higher level, adding more frame, connection, and momentum concepts to what you already know.  These 4 classes are NOT sequential - take them in any order and feel free to repeat as many times as you want!

All classes will include frame/connection exercises, plenty of moves, mixing of 6 and 8 count patterns, and you'll learn more about Lindy Hop culture and history.  Shown here are just a few examples of moves you'll study in these classes:

Swing 2a Swing 2b Swing 2c Swing 2d
Play it Cool I Will Survive! Let's Get Tricky Connection is Everything
- Slower Tempos
- Switches
- Texas Tommy
- Musicality
- Faster Tempos
- Side by Side Charleston
- Transitions
- Swingout Variations
- Swivels!
- Musicality
- Tandem Charleston
- Moves that challenge your connection
- Sugar Push

In addition to stepping up our lesson series, we are committing to offer more frequent crash courses and mini-workshops so that we can bring you more opportunities to learn 6-Count and Lindy Hop.  We'll also offer workshops covering Balboa, Blues, and Charleston to expand your swing vocabulary.

Feb 28, 2011

Team Results (and Video!) from Dayton Smackdown 2011

The 4th annual Dayton Swing Smackdown took place over the weekend in the adorable historic town of Miamisburg, Ohio.  The team competition included 64 dancers in 8 teams who have been working in their spare time, between classes and jobs, to put together fantastic and entertaining routines!  This is an enormous feat and congratulations to everyone for putting on a great show!

The team competition had 2 parts, one was the choreographed full team piece, the other (with lesser weight on final scores) was the Strictly, where each team elected one or two couples to improvise to fast and medium tempo music.

Results were:
1st Place: Team SwingColumbus
2nd Place (and also taking home the Collegiate Cup!): University of Dayton Swing Club
3rd Place: Ann Arbor

The videos:

1st Place

University of Dayton Swing Club
2nd Place

Ann Arbor
3rd Place

The Ohio State University Jitterbucks

The Ohio University 'Everyone Wants to be a Bobcat'
(music was yoinked by YouTube - thanks Warner Music Group!)

Miami University - Miami Swingers

Miami University - Red Hawks

Lexington, Kentucky - Rhythm Cats

Feb 11, 2011

March 5, 2011 History of Blues Lecture and Performance from Chris Thomas King

The Jazz Academy is hosting a free lecture that sounds perfect for you Lindy Hoppers who are into blues dancing!  Chris Thomas King is a talented blues guitarist and singer who grew up in Louisiana and is very much a blues historian (see Smithsonian video below).  He appeared in the move 'Oh Brother Where Art Thou' in the role of real life blues singer Tommy Johnson, depicted as a hitchhiker who claims to have sold his soul to the devil.  He has continued to act in and score music for film, including the Ray Charles biopic 'Ray'.  Mr. King will be giving a lecture/workshop in the afternoon and performing in the evening on Saturday, March 5.  

Blues Roots workshop with Chris Thomas King
Registration Fee: Free
Saturday, March 5, 2011, 2:00 pm

Workshop Description:

Chris Thomas King will introduce the roots of blues and jazz, including New Orleans jazz and delta slide guitar. King will discuss and perform some early forms on acoustic guitar and harmonica, then connect those forms and rhythms with contemporary musical styles, including pop and hip-hop. There will be lots of time at the end of the workshop for questions and discussion.

Join Chris Thomas King that evening at 8:00 pm in the Lincoln Theatre as part of the Inside Track concert series. For tickets and information click here or call 614.469.0939.  Tickets are $25 and $30.  Columbus band (soon to be national!) The Floorwalkers will also perform.

COLUMBUS ALIVE/INSIDE TRACK HAPPY HOUR EVENT: Columbus Alive will also host a post-concert happy hour event at Black Creek Bistro (51 Parsons Avenue in Olde Towne East) immediately following the concert featuring dinner and drink specials including a signature concoction created especially for the Chris Thomas King concert.

Feb 10, 2011

SwingColumbus to Perform in ‘Jukebox Review’ fundraiser for Honor Flight

Dancers from Team SwingColumbus are excited be doing the Lindy Hop on stage with a big band as part of a musical celebration fundraiser for WWII vets.  Honor Flight is a national organization with regional chapters whose mission is to fly veterans to Washington D.C. to see the WWII memorial.  The Columbus chapter of Honor Flight holds an annual variety show fundraiser.   This year will be SwingColumbus' second time performing in the show.

It is pretty expensive to make these flights happen.  To support Honor Flight, you can donate, host a fundraiser, or become a volunteer.  A variety of people volunteer for everything from administrative tasks, to piloting a flight, to accompanying veterans on the trips. 

Or, of course, you can attend the variety show on February 13th!

SwingColumbus is thrilled to be supporting this worthy cause!

Event Info:

Jukebox Revue
featuring local and regional talent performing music from the Big Band era.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 13 at 2 p.m.
Westerville Central High School, 7118 Mount Royal Ave., Westerville

Music from the Big Band era, featuring the swingin’ sounds of The Continentals Band, 7 year-old piano prodigy Gavin George, and Award-winning accordionist Joe Natoli. Lots of fun and surprises!

Expect the return of the Big Band sounds, great performances from local and regional artists and a few surprises. “Bob Hope had the right idea with the USO tours,” said David Colley, a Westerville resident who volunteers on the Honor Flight committee. “We’ve adopted that vision of bringing that era back and being entertained by that classic variety-show format. This event is going to be a lot of fun for a great cause, and help the vets of WWII in our area who so deserve to take the Honor Flight for their day of honor.”

Tickets are $20 general admission and $10 senior, child or veteran. World War II veterans are admitted free of charge but will need to obtain a ticket in advance. Tickets can be puchased in advance in a number of ways:
  • in person at Westerville City Hall
  • by phone: (614) 839-0189
  • by mail: Westerville Honor Flight Committee, 1260 Autumn Park Ct, Westerville, OH 43081
  • web: via PayPal from the Westerville Honor Flight Website
In 2007, WOSU Columbus followed an Honor Flight group to DC and created this fantastic video:

Jan 29, 2011

Upcoming Swingin' Tuesdays thru March 2011

We've got lots of bands booked for the next 2 months at the Shrunken Head!  We've been having loads of fun dancing every week and seeing people's mad skills getting ... madder... every week!  The bands keep telling us how much fun it is to play a gig where they are truly appreciated and not just background music!  Thanks to everyone who's been swinging out every Tuesday!

Here's the lineup for the next 2 months of DJs and Bands.  The DJ listed is also the dance instructor for that week.

  • 2/1/2011    John Vermeullen   (jazz and big band standards) plus DJ Aleks
  • 2/8/2011    The X Rockers  (rockabilly swing) plus  DJ Mandy
  • 2/15/2011    Makeshifts  (rockabilly, and ELVIS!!!  oh ELVIS!!!)  plus  DJ Erwin
  • 2/22/2011    Silky Ray 4 tet   (jump blues)  plus DJ Mark
  • 3/1/2011    Jon Coleman (jazz standards, Rat Pack)   - plus DJ Aleks
  • 3/8/2011    MARDI GRAS PARTY with Chief Johnny Lonesome  (New Orleans piano blues a la Dr. John)  plus DJ Mandy
  • 3/15/2011    Don Norman Band (swingy blues)  plus DJ Erwin
  • 3/22/2011    School Night Jump with Jacob Reed  (jazz standards) plus DJ Mark

Be sure to mark March 8th on your calendar - we're having a Mardi Gras party!  Chief Johnny is bringing his umpteenth Mardi Gras celebration to US!  It will be a special New Orleans themed evening, with special menu items and some audience participation surprises! 

Go to our website for more info about Swingin' Tuesdays at The Shrunken Head!

Jan 18, 2011

Jazz Academy Spring Semester 2011

SwingColumbus is a community partner for the Jazz Arts Group's Jazz Academy.  They offer all kinds of awesome jazz classes, workshops, and seminars for people of all ages and experience levels.   We think they're a fantastic organization that's helping keep jazz alive and relevant!

The Jazz Academy is taking registrations now for Spring Semester and if you are a member of SwingColumbus you can get discounted tuition!  Contact the Jazz Academy for more information.  This week is the last week to register before the deadline for minimum enrollment to be met.  Classes that don't get enough students will be canceled.

Here's the Spring lineup:

The Jazz Arts Group of Columbus offers a stellar line-up of music making opportunities at the Jazz Academy to engage all ages and interests including clinics and workshops with Grammy-nominated jazz trumpeter-composer Dave Douglas, blues guitarist Chris Thomas King, the Columbus Music Co-op and more.

Nationally acclaimed music educator Bradley Sowash offers piano basics in Creative Chords II and group piano lessons in Creative Chords IV. If guitar is more your style,Tim Cummiskey gives you the opportunity to advance your guitar skills with Intermediate to Advanced Guitar Concepts and Chords & Scales to Progressions. Led by Rachel Sepulveda, Vocal Ensemble explores the rewarding journey of singing in harmony with friends in a joyful and supportive environment. Central City Recording's Live Recording Session teaches you the basics – from running Pro Tools™ to setting up a live recording session – then applies what you've learned by setting up a live recording session for the Vocal Ensemble class at the Jazz Academy. And Jumpin' JaKs (Jazz & Kids) will give preschoolers, ages 3-5, the opportunity to explore American music in all of its forms.

Other course offerings include Rock Ensemble with Dennis Hodges, All Ears – Using Your Ears in Drum Set Performance with Cedric Easton and Ryan Jewell, Digital Composition & Recording with James Allison and Practical Music Theory with Stan Smith. Spring session will also include workshops as part of our "Cool School" workshop series.

Jan 3, 2011

SwingColumbus 2010, the Year in Review

2010 has been a big year for SwingColumbus!  We've helped grow our scene locally and regionally, our performance team reached new heights, and we made our major events bigger and better!  Below are just some of the milestones we reached this year:

The Local Scene
  • Completed our first full year of our weekly lesson series Swingology
  • Started the weekly Swingin' Tuesdays at the Shrunken Head (now 6 months strong!)
  • Helped students at Otterbein University start a swing dance club
  • Hosted a swing summit of organizers from scenes in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan
  • Expanded the SwingColumbus Executive Board from 5 to 7 members to encompass the added roles that come with expanding our event and lesson offerings
  • Raised money and collected 42 pounds of food for the Mid Ohio Food Bank at our annual holiday party

Major Events
  • CBUS Lindy and Blues Exchange - we delivered another solid exchange (our 5th!), slightly bigger than past years, with a fabulous Saturday afternoon cookout
  • Rocktober - expanded to about 250 registrants, added new competitions, added a third lessons track, and moved to a hotel setting!

Team SwingColumbus

Thanks to everyone who made 2010 so great!  We're scheming to make 2011 even better!
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