On Thursday, June 30th, 2016, Lindygroove celebrated its 15th anniversary with a huge dance featuring Jonathan Stout & his Campus Five featuring Hilary Alexander plus the Grand Slam Sextet.
Lindygroove is the largest weekly Swing dance event in Southern California (and perhaps the entire Western United States), happening every Thursday night at the historic 1926 Masonic Hall in Pasadena.
I got there early that night, because I knew it would be crowded. Folks who arrived later reported lines to get into the parking garage, and a long line to get in.
After a few DJ’d songs, Lindygroove founder and organizer Lance Powell took to the stage to thank everyone for coming and marvel at fifteen years of Swing dancing there.
Many Swing dance events have too much talking, especially on special occasions like this, but Lance kept his kept his comments short and kicked off the night with Jonathan Stout’s band, allowing everyone to start dancing almost immediately.
Everyone I talked to agreed that the band(s) put on an amazing performance that night. Many of the beginner dancers had not seen a live band at Lindygroove before, so they were pleasantly surprised. The veterans had high expectations of the band and they were definitely not disappointed!
The band lineup changed between the Campus Five and the Grand Slam Sextet, sometimes as often as every other song. Bandleader Jonathan Stout explained that the Sextet was inspired by the Benny Goodman sextet, which featured clarinet and vibraphone prominently.
The only minor complaint I heard was the slightly long delay between songs, possibly caused in part by the lineup changes. These mild gripes were probably just awkward conversation to fill the time between when someone asks you to dance and when the music starts, rather than genuine criticism.
My pet peeve is songs that are too long and seem to go on forever, but most of the songs that night were the perfect length and some left you wishing for more (which is how it should be). The bands were great!
By the peak, the floor was packed and it was hard not to dance without getting bumped. It also was pretty sweltering. If there was a way to get some air flowing from the outside, that would have been ideal. But then again, a hot dance hall is an indication of a great event!
Overall, it was an awesome evening of dancing and seeing old friends, many of whom showed up just for this occasion.
Towards the end of the night, there was a jam circle of course, and later everyone stopped dancing to just watch the band. What a night!!
Video by Steve Kim
I believe the Southern California Swing dance community owes a huge “thank you” to Lance, Vicki, and the whole Lindygroove team for putting on some of the best Swing dance events for 15 years virtually without interruption. I especially want to recognize them for bringing so many beginners into the scene with their lessons before the dance and beginner-friendly atmosphere.
Here’s to 15 more years of Lindygroove!
Were you at Lindygroove’s fifteenth anniversary? If so, please leave your comments below! – Brian