Midsummer Night Swing, Lincoln Center’s premier summer dance party, presents 15 evenings of social dance under the stars, featuring a lineup of artists who reflect the various music styles New York City has to offer.
“For three weeks every summer, Damrosch Park transforms into New York City’s dance floor, bringing together people of all skill levels, ages, and ethnicities,” says Jill Sternheimer, Director of Public Programming for Lincoln Center. “The beauty of Midsummer Night Swing is that the dancers on the floor, whether they’re beginners or long-time aficionados, are as much of the art as the musicians on stage. Night after night, we’re thrilled to be able to foster a community through the joy of music and dance.”
The season opens on June 27 with a rousing evening of big band swing courtesy of The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra, featuring trumpet virtuoso Scotty Barnhart and guest vocalist Carmen Bradford, and it closes with the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra and The Ambassador Prize Lindy Hop Dance contest. Salsa, disco, ballroom, rhythm and blues, jazz, boogaloo, nu disco, tango, and Western swing will also be featured throughout the summer.
This year’s lineup includes Binky Griptite, the late Sharon Jones’s bandleader, and his orchestra in an evening of blues (July 1); Margi & the Dapper Dots presiding over the foxtrot, waltz, and other ballroom staples (June 30); David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band headlining a special July 4th soiree; and Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders’ take on 1930s- and ’40s-era swing (July 12).
A celebration of Dawn Hampton, a cabaret singer, saxophonist, and leader of New York City’s swing community who passed away in 2016, will be devoted to big band swing and blues on July 6. Hampton’s friends, Ron Sunshine and his Orchestra and The George Gee Swing Orchestra, will join in this tribute. The night before the festival opens, The Lady’s Lost Performance: Dawn Hampton’s Life is What You Make It will be screened for the first time at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center Amphitheater on June 26 at 7:00 pm.
This year’s popular Latin nights feature local legends as well as bands from across the Americas, including big band salsa with Don Perignon y La Puertorriqueña, from Puerto Rico (June 28) and Cuba’s Issac Delgado Orchestra (July 5); “King of Latin Soul” Joe Bataan from East Harlem (July 7); Bronx-born Eddie Montalvo, a Grammy-nominated conguero (July 11); and the Astoria-based Aces of Rhythm who carry on the traditions of the Argentinian tango (July 13).
For the first time since 2010, Texas two-step and Western swing come to Midsummer Night Swing courtesy of Dale Watson and Ray Benson. Benson, the frontman of Asleep at the Wheel, also helped originate the Texas Dance Hall Tour that helps preserve the honky-tonk tradition across the state (July 14). In conjunction, Deb Fleming, President of Texas Dance Hall Preservation, Inc. will talk about this inimitable culture at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center Amphitheater on July 13 at 6:30 pm.
The Loser’s Lounge returns to Midsummer Night Swing on June 29 with bandleader Joe McGinty on the keyboards and a collection of solid-gold hits. On July 8, Nu Disco LIVE! provides original indie-disco grooves from DJs Tommie Sunshine and The Golden Pony as well as Brooklyn-based bands Body Language and French Horn Rebellion, with guest vocalist Megan Vice. Both events will be followed by Silent Discos, broadcasting music from top DJs directly into individual headphones, from 10:00 to 11:30 pm.
For the youngest Lindy hoppers and tango twosomes, LC Kids and Dancing Classrooms will host their annual dance for kids 6 to 10 years old on July 15 from 3:00 to 4:30 pm.
“As the official hospital of Lincoln Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is proud to once again join in presenting this year’s Midsummer Night Swing,” said Dr. Steven J. Corwin, President and CEO, NewYork-Presbyterian. “As institutions, we share a common commitment to enriching the lives of New Yorkers through wellness and the arts.”
Each evening of Midsummer Night Swing is a ticketed event, beginning at 6:30 pm with a dance lesson for people of all skill levels by some of New York’s foremost instructors. Lessons are included in the price of admission. Live music begins at 7:30 pm and lasts until 10:00 pm, except on June 28 and July 9 when Silent Disco extends the party until 11:30 pm.