For LI dancers, swing is the thing

Swing Dance Long Island has dances regularly all

Swing Dance Long Island has dances regularly all over Long Island such as this one at Huntington Moose Lounge, here, left, Frank Borrero of Commack dips Beverly Perlow of Amityville. (May 14, 2013) (Credit: Randee Daddona)

Eighteen year-olds do it. Even 80-year-olds are giving it a whirl. In fact, both generations find it to be quite a workout. We're talking swing dancing -- the moves from the 1920s are still alive and kicking at concerts and dance halls.

And this is a particularly big week for swing music and dance lovers. Tuesday night, learn how to swing dance with local nonprofit organization Swing Dance Long Island at the Huntington Moose Lodge. Wednesday, use those skills at the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy show at the YMCA Boulton Center in Bay Shore.

SWING DANCE L.I. For the past 22 years, Tuesdays have been "Swing Dance Night" on Long Island. The weekly engagement, hosted by Swing Dance Long Island, starts with a lesson at 7:30 p.m., followed by an open floor swing dance session.

"People on Long Island are looking for something interesting to do in the evening that doesn't cost an arm and a leg," says Tom Adams, the group's president. "Our club provides a nice environment to learn something new and enjoy the company of others."

Edwin and Maria Urbat of Smithtown are high school sweethearts who married in 1975. For their 25th anniversary, they started to take up dancing as a hobby.

"The exercise makes you feel good and pumps up the endorphins," says Maria, 61. "It's a good emotional release because you forget everything once you get on the dance floor."

It's a friendly, social environment -- you don't have to be a couple to participate.

"We promote ourselves as a social dance club because you want to ask others to dance and people should be comfortable with that," says Maria. "Sometimes you are dancing with someone who is more advanced, and you learn from them. There's a give-and-take there."

BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY Those who swing dance follow the music, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is one of the most popular swing big bands. At their shows, people have a tendency to break out and swing dance in the aisles.

"People love to swing dance. It's a very American thing," says band member Scotty Morris. "It's something a grandfather can do with his granddaughter and have a ball. It's a cool style of dance that is fun and upbeat."

At the last Big Bad Voodoo Daddy concert in December at the Paramount in Huntington, Swing Dance Long Island held a preshow swing dance lesson followed by a dance contest won by Marlene and Jacques Winter of Cold Spring Harbor. This was no fluke, as the couple has been taking dance lessons since 1997.

"We dance because we like it, but we never were interested in competing. This is our fun," says Marlene, 66. "When they said we won, we just died. It was so exciting. We have our trophy on the mantel."

The Winters typically spend their weekend nights going out swing dancing. "I think dancing is so healthy. I encourage everyone to get into it," she says. "When you dance, you feel the music through your body. It's like therapy."

SWING DANCE LONG ISLAND

WHEN | WHERE 7:30 Tuesday night and every Tuesday at Huntington Moose Lodge, 631 Pulaski Rd., Greenlawn. The group also hosts a monthly Saturday night dance at the Smithtown Historical Society's Brush Barn, 211 E. Main St., Smithtown.

INFO 631-476-3707, sdli.org

ADMISSION $15

BIG BAD VOODOO DADDY

WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Wednesday, YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts, Bay Shore

INFO 631-969-1101, boultoncenter.org

COST $50

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