By Pamela L. Berman
Photo Credit: Kevin Yatarola
With a summer of fun well underway – and already pulling me in a hundred delightfully distracting directions – I was afraid I’d come a little late to my favorite dance party this year. Fortunately, as last Saturday night attested, Midsummer Night Swing at Lincoln Center is still in full swing and jumpin’ like the Savoy, jumpin’ at the Woodside, jumpin’ like Jack Flash, jumpin’ like I can’t come up with a good finish – but, surely, it is still jumpin’ through July 16. So you have plenty more time to get out there and shake it, baby, shake it.
And that’s just the prelude to this beloved cultural center’s tantalizing, annual kiss of summer…
Photo credit: Natasha Razina/Photo Credit: Pascal Victor/ArtComArt
In 2011, all of Lincoln Center is even more alive and hot, hot, hot during the months of July and August! With the multi-Tony award winning War Horse stabled at the Vivian Beaumont Theater and the American Ballet Theater in residence at the Metropolitan Opera House, the acclaimed Lincoln Center Festival (through August 14) is back with new delights including the Cleveland Symphony and Royal Danish Orchestra, the Mariinsky Ballet of St. Petersburg, Peter Brook’s A Magic Flute, England’s Royal Shakespeare Company and Ireland’s Druid Theatre Company…all doing that voodoo that they do so well. And with seductive offerings from other countries and companies, frankly, you may as well just pitch a tent on the plaza and plan on camping out, because what’s the point of going anywhere else? You won’t want to miss one iota, not one delectable morsel, of these magnificent arts.
Photo credit: Mark Bussell
Of course we all know that Lincoln Center is the greatest place to bring friends and visitors any time of the year, but summers are even extra special. Indeed, with two Brits and my dance partner in tow over this past holiday weekend, we salsa’d towards the beat of Damrosch Park to watch and hear Aurora y Zon del Barrio whip up the crowd into appreciative hip swaying, finger popping, fancy footwork. My New York friend, a former Flamenco dancer, could pinpoint the Latin countries of origin from which many couples on the floor hailed, just by the way they moved! Now that’s talent. We did a little investigation – and would you believe that he was 100% correct!
It was just the perfect summer evening, cooling off as the music got hotter. We danced a little, ate a little, entered a raffle and just people watched. And amidst all the accomplished dance … my favorite couples? Daddies dancing with their little girls in their arms, Mommies with their little boys. Everyone looking so relaxed and happy, teaching new generations their own special cultures and traditions of music and dance.
Photo credit: Tito Puente, Jr.
Upcoming performances include eclectic offerings from Irish fiddles to Texas swing, hot jazz to jump blues, 80′s rock retro to German jive, more varieties of Latin sizzle, and lots of celebrated names and performers from the world of international music.
So whether you sign up for dance lessons, come to socialize, or just float ethereally around the park, Midsummer Night Swing is a lovely stop after work, or an energizing way to begin a night on the town.
And by the way, my Brits were pretty darn impressed, I can tell you. Between the music and dancing, and topping off their visit with a boat cruise on the Hudson to watch the fireworks up close and personal on July 4th…well, seeing my guests’ looks of awe was just a spectacular way to enjoy the holiday. Though I couldn’t resist asking why they were having such a good time when we were, after all, celebrating having gotten rid of them. Good thing the English have such a sense of humor.
For tickets and more information about Midsummer Night Swing, the Lincoln Center Festival, and all the spectacular arts and events playing at Lincoln Center and its various venues this summer, please visit:
(Though you may want to hurry, as tickets sell out quickly for these limited engagements. I’m just sayin’…)