Photos courtesy of Alice Pye.
4th Saturday Swing has been thriving in wait for a suitable venue, a place to match the energy and spirit of the rhythmic enthusiasts that frequent the event.
“We’ve been looking to change venues for a while now,” explained Alice Pye, 4th Saturday Swing’s main organizer. “We were in a dinky little studio before, Psalm 30:11 Dance on 4th and Atlantic, but we really wanted a place that would work for us to make this event happen as well as give it room to grow.”
Founded in November of 2011, a small group of attendees danced in a Signal Hill studio once a month, as well as other locations throughout the city. Over the last year, 4th Saturday Swing has gained enough momentum to fill the large, industrial, exposed brick wonder that is the M.A.D.haus space on Pacific Ave. Pye couldn’t be happier.
“M.A.D.haus is amazing because we are surrounded by the really cool historic and also up-and-coming neighborhoods of Long Beach,” said Pye. “There's lots of residential areas and lots of cool places to eat, drink and hang out before and after you go swing dancing.”
The upcoming 4th Saturday Swing on November 22 (not the 29) will be their 2nd Annual Thanksgiving Gypsy Jazz Jam featuring live music by a gypsy jazz band, Hedgehog Swing. A style of music that originated in Paris in the 1930s, Gypsy Jazz, also known as Hot Club Jazz heavily features the guitar, violin and clarinet. Django Reinhardt, who was born in a gypsy settlement outside of Paris, is known for starting the style with with his ensemble, The Quintette du Hot Club.
“It’s really a unique style of jazz that transports you back in time,” said Pye.
Events like swing dancing are all part of Pye’s ultimate goal to get people out of their houses, off of their computers and their cell phones and interacting with each other.
“I think getting people to interact with their neighbors and other people in their local community face to face is really the dream world we should all be working to achieve. Swing dancing is a great way to get people to do that,” Pye explained. “People are forced to introduce themselves, touch other human beings and move their body! It seems so weird and removed from what we all do every day now, but once you take that first step, once you hear that music, it’s kind of magical to see how quickly we can have fun without our phones.”
Pye plans to start hosting and teaching weekly classes in the near future “so we can start forming a really cool swing dancing community in Long Beach!”
The Thanksgiving Gypsy Jazz Jam will officially start at 9:00PM and run until 12:00AM. A beginner class from 8:00PM to 9:00PM is included with the $10 entry fee, no partner necessary.Guests are required to RSVP on Facebook to obtain the password which will be required to enter the building.
“One of my main goals in starting this event was to have it be a part of the Long Beach community and not just a part of the swing dance community,” Pye explained. “I really want to bring more local people in to learn swing dancing and experience the joy that it has given me.”
For those wishing to RSVP to tomorrow's event, click here. Guests who take a picture at the event can instagram it with #4thsaturdayswing as well as tag @4tsatswing. Whoevers’ picture garners the most “likes” will get a free pass to next month’s event. M.A.D.haus is located at 624 Pacific Ave.