I love trying out new Swing dance venues, so I was excited to check out Fourth Saturday Swing in Long Beach last weekend when Jonathan Stout and His Campus Five were playing there. I was not disappointed!
The venue is at the Psalm 30:11 Dance Studio near downtown Long Beach and only a short distance from the 710 freeway exit. Parking was a bit tricky. There is a small parking lot across the street which can only accommodate about twenty cars. We managed to find street parking two blocks away, which was kind of a score. There is also a paid lot just down the block from the studio. Check the signs carefully.
The venue is a dance studio, but it has a warm feel to it. Go up a carpeted flight of stairs to the studio to find a very large wooden floor, perfect for Lindy. There are chairs along the walls where most people stash their stuff. One wall is mirrored. The décor is a bit dated, but from the signs you can tell a lot of love went into this place over the years.
There was a lesson from 8-9PM by award-winning Balboa instructors Chris and Beth Grover. We arrived after 9PM and the band had already started playing. There was a good sized crowd there, with a diverse mix of skill-levels from beginners to professionals. There were dancers from both Los Angeles and Orange County. I’d say the majority were twenty and thirty-somethings, with some old timers like me thrown in there as well. There were slightly more follows than leads, but I think that equalized somewhat towards the end of the night. Overall, it was a friendly crowd. Expect to dance with new people when you go here.
Later on in the night, there was a vibrant jam session with an energy reminiscent of Camp Hollywood!
Fourth Saturday Swing is the creation of long-time Swing dancer and instructor Alice Pye. Since she is a dancer, you can rest assured that the music will be from the best Lindy and Balboa bands, and tonight was no exception, with Jonathan Stout’s band rockin’ the house ‘till midnight. Last month featured the excellent Hedgehog Swing. Alice told me that when she is not able to get a live band, she will get one of the top local Swing DJs.
After the event, there was a “secret” off-site gypsy jazz jam at a well-known nearby burger joint featuring members of Jonathan Stout’s band and Hedgehog Swing. This has become somewhat of a tradition which I hope continues!
My Overall Impressions
I like this place! It has a great floor, lots of space, a nice warm feel, a wide age-range of friendly dancers of all skill levels, and excellent music. The location of the venue means that dancers from both Los Angeles and Orange County will be there, so you’ll probably dance with someone new.
I’d say the only gripe anyone had was the heat. The windows were completed steamed up, to give you an idea. But that’s the sign of a hoppin’ Swing venue, right? A friend told me that the neighbors complained the last time they opened the windows, so they have to keep most of them closed. Dress accordingly.
I highly recommend checking out Fourth Saturday Swing, especially when there is a live band playing. If you live far from Long Beach, come on out early and make a day of it! There are tons of things to do in Long Beach (see Alice’s picks below). I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday night: dinner in Long Beach, followed by a walk along the Pine Avenue pier with an amazing view of the Queen Mary. Then, Swing dancing at Fourth Saturday Swing with a late night Gypsy jazz jam afterwards till 2 AM!
Alice’s Recommendations for Fun Stuff in Long Beach!
Alice was nice enough to write up a great list of things to do in Long Beach for ya’ll:
There are a ton of great food places on 4th street as well like Lola’s, which has a lot of amazing vegan options.
Jonathan Stout actually always goes to 320 Main for incredible drinks and food which is in seal beach which is approximately 10-15 minutes from the studio. And Jonathan REALLY knows his drinks.
There’s also donation-based yoga classes (anyone is welcome!) in the park on Sat and Sunday mornings:
Also just half a block away from the studio is an incredible place called Fingerprints Music that it’s kind of legendary in long beach. They sell a bunch of old vinyl, books, cds, and a lot of other really really cool gifts.
Attached to it is Berlin which is a really cool bistro/coffeehouse and they serve alcohol too! :) Right beside berlin is the paid parking lot, and right across the street is the one that might be free.
Man, that was a lot! haha! I hope it’s helpful!
Thanks Alice!!! Fourth Saturday Swing is at the Psalm 30:11 Dance Studio, 530 E 4th St, Long Beach 90802. Cover is $10 when there is a live band, $8 otherwise. Hope to see you there soon! – Brian
p.s., in case you’re wondering, Psalm 30:11 is “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy”.