The best dance event…EVER.

(Migrated from Facebook)

The best dance event I ever attended in the 9+ years I’ve been dancing was the Basie Centennial Ball in 2004 in NYC. Peter Zellner and I flew up together; we were the only two people from Atlanta who really were serious about going to the event.  We stayed at Josh Boroff’s tiny penthouse apartment in Brooklyn.  Only the 3 of us stayed there (me, Peter, Josh) because a ton of other folks were staying at Devona’s place up the way.  Basically from the very first night we stayed up until maybe 6 or 7am each day and then crashed.Thus began a weekend schedule of waking up around 3:30/4:00 in the afternoon, going out for “breakfast” and then wandering around New York until it was time for the evening dance. And then we’d dance until we shut down the late night, pretty much. Rinse, repeat.

The first night I was there we danced at Fram. It was PACKED. After a while we decided to go for food, so a bunch of us walked around the corner to this diner where subsequently legions of Lindy Hoppers descended and completely overwhelmed the poor, unsuspecting waitstaff. We were leaning backwards over booths talking to people at other tables, wandering around, sharing food, all that wonderful craziness of 3am diner runs with dancers. It was awesome.

The next day, I think, we went to this great breakfast place and met up with all the people at Devona’s. Then we wandered around Brooklyn and ate sweets at this yummy yummy tea shop, where a very kind Canadian in our group picked up the tab. It was delish.

Here we are at the breakfast place, waiting for our food.

The afternoon dance I recall because I ended up dancing on the stage with Andrew, because (again) it was so crazy crowded.

On the outdoor stage.

Of course we ended up missing all of the classes, all of the events pretty much, including the “great day in Lindy” photo, because we were too busy staying up late, waking up late, being lazy bums with a group of awesome people.

Next most important memory was trying to get to the actual main Basie dance with the band. Peter and I ended up getting on a train but GOING THE WRONG WAY, so we rode it all the way to the wrong end of the line before we figured it out. That was really annoying. But eventually we got to the dance and I got un-frustrated because it was such a big deal. I remember chatting with Amy Winn in the little lobby area. Going inside, I don’t think I’d ever been on a dance floor that packed before, and I probably never will be again. There had to be over 1,000 dancers there. I think someone said 1,200.

At the main dance.

The Mama Lu Parks Dancers performance was amazing. I watched it from the balcony with Shawn Hershey. I couldn’t believe they were doing aerials! And then of course the Hellzapoppin contest was full of such great energy. It was fun to see the variety of people out there dancing their asses off.

Then, perhaps the all-time most memorable moment of the weekend happened after the main dance. We walked down to the subway station, still totally high from the dance, and someone said something to the effect of “I wish we were still dancing.” Then Martin Beally whips out these speakers right there in the subway stations and starts playing music from an iPod. It was the. best. lindy. bomb. ever.

Best Lindy Bomb Ever with Iain.
Best Lindy Bomb Ever — Josh and Sylwia
Best Lindy Bomb Ever — the crew

We wound up eventually at some random spot for food again over late night.

Late night food!

Sunday was a blur. I remember Nicole singing with her band. What I do I know is that we shut the late night down. To the point that when we walked out at the end of it, there were men in business suits in taxis going to work in the bright, bright sunlight. I think someone said “I’m melting!” when we walked out the front door. So rough. But it was the best weekend ever.

Late-night bal with Devona.
Chatting with Amy.
Peter at the late night.
Marcelo drew this picture of us dancing.
*Thanks to Martin Beally for letting me post a bunch of his photos.
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1 Response to The best dance event…EVER.

  1. The Riz says:

    Well.. If we all make it to Frankie’s 95th, you may find yourself on a dancefloor that’ll be just as packed!

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