Douglass Dining Center was converted into a dance floor when the Eastman Big Band played at the Big Band and Swing Dance. The event, which took place on Friday, Feb. 29 from 9 p.m. to midnight, drew in both students and Rochester community members.
The night was sponsored by the Ballroom Dance Club, Eastman School of Music Students’ Association and the 2010 Class Council and was co-sponsored by the Undergraduates’ Music Council, After Hours, Sigma Nu Fraternity and No Jackets Required. The Big Band and Swing was a spectacular social event. There were refreshments, raffles and prizes, lively music and impressive dancing.
Raffle tickets were handed out at the door. Black and red balloons formed arches over the band stage and the entrance. There was a table of refreshments in the back for hungry dancers or parched band members. Once the music started, there was a flood of people on the dance floor. There was absolutely no hesitation. Spectators watched from the balcony as people danced below.
The music was excellent and could be heard from outside of Douglass. The 20-piece Big Band from Eastman played a variety of songs that had over 100 people dancing. Included in the playlist were songs such as “In the Mood,” “April in Paris” and “Midnight Serenade.”
“It was amazing,”Big Band baritone saxophone player and freshman Karl Stabnau said. “We put a lot of hard work into preparing these songs. Seeing the people dance to the music we were playing just made us swing harder. It was great to see our practice pay off.”
Vocal Point also made an appearance and performed two numbers during the band’s first break.
“The music was fantastic!” freshman Frances Wang said. “The atmosphere was fantastic! It really gave the feeling of the times when Big Band and Swing was prevalent. Everyone was dressed up and looked so snazzy. It was obvious that UR Ballroom put a lot of work into planning and it certainly paid off!”
The Ballroom Dance Club spent many weeks giving swing lessons to prepare for the event. They even gave a free “crash course” an hour before the event. Members of the organization were there to help people who did not know how to swing or who wanted to learn new moves. Some of the people who did not take the classes were able to pick up on it very quickly.
“I felt like everyone was at the same level,” freshman Renato Rengifo said. “I just learned how to swing two days before this and I didn’t feel like I was any worse than the rest of the people, minus the UR Ballroom people, of course. I was not embarrassed at all!”
The Ballroom Dance Club took to the floor for one song and gave the crowd an example of what swing dancing is all about. Six of the members gathered together on the dance floor as the rest of the room watched in awe.
“They were absolutely amazing!” Rengifo said. “I wish I could move like that!”
That seemed to be the reaction of everyone in the crowd.
People clearly had a wonderful time at the Big Band and Swing. UR Ballroom did a fantastic job planning and running it. The Big Band did an amazing job with the music. Not only did it play well, but it also entertained the crowd. As the evening came to a close, the Big Band played an upbeat song that would leave people swinging all the way home.
Vanderland is a member of the class of 2011.