The annual three-week Midsummer Night Swing in Lincoln Center winds up this week with more top bands and orchestras for dancing or just listening. As always, the bands rotate nightly among classic ballroom and swing to Latin, jazz, blues and pop rock. Midsummer Night Swing is Tuesday to Saturday, 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., in Damrosch Park. Tickets are $17, or you can purchase a bulk pack at discount, and a free lesson at 6:30 p.m. precedes the live music, because dancing is not a spectator sport. Here’s the schedule for this week …
Tuesday, July 10 — Las Reinas de la Salsa: Mambo Legends Orchestra featuring Cita Rodriguez, Yoko la Japonesa Salsera, and Nayibe la Gitana paying tribute to Celia, Graciela, and La Lupe –Three longtime members of the Tito Puente Orchestra came together as the Mambo Legends Orchestra with the goal of bringing the sound of the 1950s and 60s Palladium-era music to an international audience. The Mambo Legends Orchestra keeps the sound of the Big 3 – Machito, Tito Rodriguez, and Tito Puente – thriving and moving forward, integrating new performers into their classic sound. Tonight the vocalists honor three great female salsa singers – Celia, Graciela, and La Lupe. Dance lesson is salsa.
Wednesday, July 11 –Cristian Zárate Sextet featuring Leonardo Suarez Paz – Argentine Tango with composer, arranger, and pianist Cristian Zárate, winner of Argentina’s prestigious Clarin Award leading musicians through the music of tango’s Golden Age, the 1940s and ’50s. Buenos Aires and New York collide as Zárate is reunited with his longtime collaborator, the virtuoso violinist, vocalist, and dancer Leonardo Suarez Paz. Zárete was music director for Tango Argentino on Broadway, and Paz played in the group on stage. Few can match the extraordinary talent and passion of this dynamic ensemble of tango sensualists. Dance lesson is tango, of course.
Thursday, July 12– The Losers Lounge: The King of Pop vs. Prince — This is a collective of some of New York’s best musicians and singers performing great songs of the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. Started by session keyboardist Joe McGinty in 1993, Loser’s Lounge has performed nearly 300 shows honoring 50 different artists. With a song list that pits the music of the Jacksons, from Motown classics of the Jackson 5, to favorites from Prince, Sheila E., and Morris Day & the Time. Dance lesson is West Coast Swing.
- On the 12th there will be a costume contest for those wearing the best Jackson or Prince-inspired ensembles. So get out the sequined gloves, the red military jackets, the purple satin pants, and the Janet Jackson bustiers and compete for prizes during the intermission between sets. There’s also a Silent Disco following the live music, so you can continue dancing via music heard only on your headphones.
Friday, July 13– Mestres do Forró Nordestino: A Tribute to Luiz Gonzaga — Northeastern Brazil dance party featuring Maciel Melo, Biliu de Campina, & Walmir Silva with Quarteto Olinda, making their US debut. Forró music, and its earlier style called baião, originated in the northeastern province of Brazil called Pernambuco. The music is lively, accordion-driven, danceable – “music for all the people” – and it is danced at the Feast of St. João every year in June. Campina, Melo, Silva, and Claudio Rabeca (of Quarteto Olinda) are four of the finest forró musicians from the region. They are making a rare visit to New York, including Melo’s very first performance outside of Brazil. Dance lesson is Forró.
Saturday, July 14 from 3:00 to 4:30pm — special FREE Kids’ Dance — Kids get in on the act with a special afternoon session (ideal for the entire family) with teacher Rodney Lopez from Dancing Classrooms – seen in Mad Hot Ballroom, the 2005 documentary about teaching ballroom dance in NYC public schools. He’ll get youngsters off on the right foot, teaching them the basics of ballroom, tango and swing.
Saturday, July 14– Harlem Renaissance Orchestra: A Tribute to Illinois Jacquet — Jump to the classic, big band sound of the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra, formed more than twenty years ago to revive the great sounds from the big band era, including Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton. Take the A train, or the 1 train, and join the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra, which traditionally closes the annual Midsummer Night Swing outdoor music and dance festival. Dance lesson is swing, of course.
- On the 14th there will also be the 4th Annual Ambassador’s Prize Dance Contest, honoring the late Frankie Manning, lindy hopper extraordinaire.
For a full listing of free and cheap outdoor events and festivals in NYC this summer, check the NYC Summer Events Calendar page.