Jodie Watley, Harlem Renaissance Orchestra Come to Lincoln Center

June 4, 2015

JodyWatley (2)The 27th season of New York’s greatest outdoor dance party – Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing – takes over the open-air ballroom in Damrosch Park (West 62nd Street between Columbus &; Amsterdam) from Tuesday, June 23 through Saturday, July 11.  

Midsummer Night Swing will bring together people of all ages, at every skill level, and from diverse social and cultural backgrounds for 15 evenings of social dance.  Dance genres presented this summer include swing, mambo, tango, hustle, salsa, disco, blues, Lindy hop, waacking, and jitterbug. The bands come from across the country and around the world to play for the most demanding and appreciative audiences they’ll ever play for – New Yorkers.

Classic rocker Nikki Hill and her band will perform songs made famous by the architects of rock ‘n’ roll as well as original numbers of her own. The next evening, iconic 80s diva Jody Watley pays homage to her days as a dancer on Soul Train and will also show off her distinct moves and voice with her group SHALAMAR®. In the all-American spirit, Dr. K’s Motown Revue will bring back the hits of the beloved Detroit sound just in time for Independence Day. Ending Midsummer Night Swing is the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra’s 11th Annual Tribute to Illinois Jacquet, the influential musician and bandleader who was one of the several artists who helped spark Midsummer Night Swing.

Tickets and passes go on sale May 20. Multi-evening Midsummer Night Passes are priced at $84 for six dances, and $170 for the full season.  Four dance passes are available for $60. Tickets for individual evening events are $17.

Dance Ambassador. For $100, a group of four friends getting together for one night of open-air dancing will receive admission for four, bag check for four, and one complimentary glass of wine or beer per guest.

Each evening of Midsummer Night Swing is a ticketed event. The night begins with a dance lesson at 6:30 pm for all skill levels with some of New York’s foremost instructors. Lessons are included in the price of admission. Live music and dancing begins at 7:30 pm until 10 pm. Dancing continues until 11:30 pm on June 25 for the Silent Disco.

  • The Swing box office is located in the lobby of Avery Fisher Hall at Broadway and 65th Street. Tickets for   individual events and passes can be purchased in advance at the Avery Fisher Box Office or beginning at 5:30 pm on the night of the event at a box office in Damrosch Park.  All major credit cards will be accepted.  Tickets and passes can also be purchased through CenterCharge, 212-721-6500, or at Twitter users can follow Midsummer Night Swing @LCSwing for ongoing news and updates.

Rain Policy Midsummer Night Swing makes every effort to present each event of the season, as long as unpredictable weather allows. Performance cancellations due to inclement weather will not be announced until 8:30 pm on show night. In the case of cancellation, ticket holders are entitled to exchange for another performance or a refund. Pass holders are not entitled to a refund. If a performance has begun and is cancelled after 8:30 pm, exchanges or refunds are not offered.

Silent Discos Following their success the past two seasons, there will be a Silent Disco, powered by Quiet Events, on June 25. At the Silent Disco, dancers are provided with wireless headphones to listen to extended DJ sets after the live music ends at 10 pm.  While casual observers see a seemingly bizarre public ritual as dancers revel to the “silent” beats, the dancers are actually a part of an exhilarating public/private dance party.  On June 25, Mobile Mondays! DJs Operator Emz, Joey Carvello, and Natasha Diggs will spin different sets in each headphone channel, creating simultaneous and ever-shifting dance parties.  Silent Disco will continue on the dance floor until 11:30 pm.  Wireless headset is free with that night’s live show ticket, or $5 at the door for Silent Disco only, subject to capacity.

Midsummer Night Swing Artist Spotlight Schedule:

Wednesday, June 24 Nikki Hill Rock ‘n’ Roll Nikki Hill sings raw rock ‘n’ roll with strength, passion, and honesty.

While her debut album in 2013 created a huge buzz about the singer and her band, it is in live performance that she really explodes. Hill has been called “The Southern Fireball” and “the new Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll” for her unique voice and embrace of American roots music.  She and her band have jaws dropping to the floor from the U.S. to Europe to Australia and back. Lesson: Simone Coonrod of Swinging with Simone® teaches Jitterbug DJ: The Golden Gup

Thursday, June 25  Mobile Mondays! Live with Jody Watley featuring SHALAMAR®  Disco, Funk

The beloved and beautiful Jody Watley got her start as a “Soul Train“ dancer before forming the group SHALAMAR® with two male friends from that show.  They had a number of hits in the late 1970s and early 80s, including “Make That Move,“ “Take It to the Bank,“ and “For the Lover in You.“  Watley went out on her own in 1982 and had huge success with songs including “Looking for a New Love“ and “Real Love“ that showcased her distinctive style, voice, and singular dance moves. The body-popping style of dance that SHALAMAR® is famous for, known as waacking,  will be taught prior to the show, and the DJ crew Mobile Mondays! will be on the decks to continue the dance vibe.  Lesson: Princess Lockeroo teaches Waacking DJ: Mobile Mondays! with DJs Operator Emz, Joey Carvello, Natasha Diggs Silent Disco powered by Quiet Events at 10 pm

Saturday, July 4 Dr. K’s Motown Revue  Soul, Rhythm &; Blues

One of America’s greatest musical gifts to the world is the sound of Motown. Born in Detroit, Motown music quickly captured the American audience, both black and white, and it spread to Europe and the rest of the world in short order.  It is not just the songs that people take to heart, but the memories that are associated with them.  The Supremes’ “Baby Love,” Smokey Robinson’s “Ooo Baby Baby,” and the game-changing “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye are touchstones in American culture. Dr. K’s Motown Revue faithfully brings the sound of Motown back to life, delivering the vocal sounds, memorable licks, and tight arrangements that drive audiences to the dance floor. Lesson: Joe Palmer teaches West Coast Swing DJ: Qool DJ Marv

Saturday, July 11 Harlem Renaissance Orchestra: 11th Annual Tribute to Illinois Jacquet  Big Band Swing

Dancers will jump to the big band sound of the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra, a group that was formed more than twenty years ago to revive the great sounds from the big band era.  The band recognizes the masters of the big band sound: Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton and Midsummer Night Swing favorite, Illinois Jacquet, and plays their music as if it were yesterday.  Band leader Ron Allen has taken the orchestra to perform at the JVC Jazz Festival, the Rainbow Room, the Copacabana, the legendary Apollo Theater, and a decade ago was selected by Jacquet’s longtime companion, Carol Sherick, to carry on his legacy as the perennial closing night band for Midsummer Night Swing.  Lesson: Margaret Batiuchok teaches Lindy Hop  DJ: Odysseus Bailer

  • On the 11th there will also be the 7th Annual Ambassador’s Prize Dance Contest, honoring the late Frankie Manning, “Lindy Hopper extraordinaire.” The contest is open to everyone and it takes place during the break between sets of the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra.
  • FREE Talk: Tap dancer and choreographer Michelle Dorrance will discuss tap dance’s influence on the Shim Sham, from 5:30 to 5:50 pm.




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