December 29, 2015
A retro dance movement that traces its roots back to the 1920s, swing dancing is enjoying something of a renaissance in St. Louis. Various different formats are included under the umbrella of “swing”, from the Jitterbug to the Lindy Hop, and of course, the St. Louis Shag (titter ye not!), but they all have one thing in common – buckets of energy! Next time you’re in town, why not strap on those dancing shoes and give it a go? Here’s our guide to the best places to go swing dancing in St. Louis.
The Grand Hall at the Grandel Theatre, located in the Midtown Arts District, is the place to be for every swing dancer on Tuesday nights between 8.30pm and 11pm. Organised by Lindy Hop St. Louis, every second Tuesday of the month features live music from a local band. Dancing classes for several levels are offered before the dance and can be booked online.
Located in the lower level of the historic Thaxton Building, the Thaxton Speakeasy is an old school lounge that mixes a retro vibe with Zeitgeist modernity. Every Thursday, starting at 9.30pm, swing dancers take over the speakeasy to shake a leg to live jazz music. For novices, free swing lessons are offered in between band sets. Visit the club’s webpage for the weekly password and whisper it to the guy on the door to get a reduced admission. Definitely one of the more authentic places to go swing dancing in St. Louis.
The Cherokee Shake is a new vintage jazz swing night taking place every third Wednesday of the month at Foam. Enjoy some great live music by St. Louis’ finest traditional jazz and swing band, the Sidney Street Shakers. The cosy live music club offers a full bar and a dance floor to get your swing dance on.
Described as the home of all things local, the microbrewery with on-site pub is hosting the Big B Jamboree, an Open Mic Jam Session, every Wednesday night with jazz and swing band Miss Jubilee. Travel back in time to the 1900s to 1950s with the best music from Jazz, Blues and Folk to Country, Western Swing and Rockabilly.
If you want to combine a Southern dinner (including some homemade soup) with some great live blues music, the BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soup is the place to go! The roster features regional and national musicians playing live every night and if you can find the space, you can feel free to dance.
Fans of a more upscale ballroom atmosphere will love the weekly swing parties at the historic Casa Loma Ballroom. Dances take place every weekend with the highlight being the new monthly Southside Stomp, hosted by Lindy Hop St. Louis every last Friday of the month. If you don’t feel confident on the dance floor, you can learn some basic moves at the beginner’s workshops before the parties.
Some local dancing schools and clubs such as the West County Swing Dance Club and the Moolah Shrine Swing Dance Club host weekly swing events at the Moolah Shrine Center. Take lessons according to your ability, so that when it comes to some serious swing dancing in St. Louis you are able to shine on the dance floors (yes, that’s right, floors). Dances regularly take place on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Virgin Atlantic and Delta operate flights to St. St. Louis, making it easy to try out these swing dance clubs on your next trip.
Have you been swing dancing in St Louis? Did you try any of these local clubs? Let us know in the comments section below.
Written by Anne Schwedt