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The Dancing Life – In Los Angeles

Saturday, August 16th, 2008

For a comprehensive listing of studio dances, practice nights, and regularly-occurring ballroom dance events, we recommend visiting the website of the Los Angeles Chapter of USA Dance at:

Studio dances are a great way to keep up with your skills and your contacts in the dance world. But sometimes it’s nice to include dancing in a more conventional social evening.

Below are listed certain venues well suited to an evening out with friends.

It is of great importance to have realistic expectations concerning such venues. Because most entry is free, it is expected for patrons to run a bar tab or to order food. If your budget is tight, order non-alcoholic beverages and an appetizer or dessert rather than a full meal. It is costly to provide live music, and in the absence of a cover charge, food and beverage sales is how the venues continue to do so.

Many patrons of these venues are not experienced ballroom dancers. Therefore, ballroom dancers who attend dinner-plus-dancing venues need to be particularly courteous in moving around the floor. Save serious practice and “big dancing” for studio dances and practice nights. More tips follow the listing!

Sportsmen’s Lodge, Studio City

Call 818-755-5000 or visit www.sportsmenslodge.com for information on special events. Regularly scheduled on Friday and Sunday nights at 8:00 p.m. is live music from a small band. There is a small dance floor in the bar/lounge area of the Lodge and the band plays a variety of music from 1940’s standards up to present-day hits. There is no cover charge. Seating in the adjacent dining room is open to the bar area. American and Continental cuisine, mid to high priced. Casual dancers.

Recommended for:
dinner or drinks with some dancing.

Monsoon Cafe, Santa Monica

Call 310-576-9996 for scheduled entertainment. Regularly scheduled on Fridays is live R&B, often featuring an excellent band, “Edge of Soul” regularly scheduled on other nights is salsa; all live entertainment upstairs in the bar. There is a small dance floor and dinner service in the bar, with no cover charge for regular acts. Pan-Asian cuisine, mid to high priced. Casual dancers.

Recommended for: dinner or drinks with some dancing.

Mayflower Ballroom, Inglewood

Visit www.mayflowerballroom.com for address and directions. Regularly scheduled Wednesday night dancing to a live big band. The largest dance floor in Los Angeles, a friendly crowd of regulars, and bar service. Low cover charge.

Dancers are allowed to bring food into the ballroom, so pack a picnic dinner if you like. All drinks, however, including bottled water must be purchased from the Mayflower’s bar.

The Mayflower is the best place to go if you like quickstep and Viennese waltz, as the band’s tempos are fast. Experienced dance crowd.

Recommended for:
drinks with lots of dancing.

Atlas Bar & Grill, Mid-Wilshire

3760 Wilshire Boulevard; 213-380-4800.

Forties-style supper club with live music most nights beginning at 9:00 p.m. This venue will be checked out soon for more details.

The Cicada Club, Downtown

Every Sunday (check website www.clubcicada.com for blackout dates) at Cicada restaurant downtown.

Live music in styles ranging from 1920’s to 1940’s. Small dance floor, exceptional food. No cover charge on most evenings, but dinner reservations required to secure table seating. Relatively high menu prices. Perfect for special occasions.

The organizers request formal or vintage wear for these evenings. Music tends to be swing-heavy with sophisticated social dancers.

Recommended for: dinner and/or drinks with dancing.

The Granada, Alhambra

Every Sunday at 5:30 (check website www.letsdancela.com).

The Let’s Dance LA studio is located in a vintage public-utility building, beautifully converted to provide two dance floors, plus a private practice/coaching room, a downstairs bar, and mezzanine seating for their in-house restaurant. There is also seating for dinner on the main dance floor. Reservations are recommended! Mid-priced menu.

Live music is provided and the tempos and variety are very good. The main floor is quite large and patrons are expected to dance, overall dance skills are generally good.

Recommended for: dinner and/or drinks with lots of dancing.

Dancing on a Small Floor – it’s an art.