They Could Have Danced All Night – And They Did…
Celebrating Santa Monica’s famed La Monica Ballroom as part of a series of events honoring Santa Monica Pier’s Centennial on September 9, 2009, over a thousand dancers showed up from as far away as San Diego to relive the swing dancing of yesteryear in an evening entitled, “Santa Monica Redux.”
The specially constructed 5,000-square foot dance floor replicated the famous dance hall, once the largest ballroom in the world, which was built in 1924 and closed in 1962. With the dazzling lights of the ferris wheel and brightly painted roller coaster serving as an almost surreal back drop, dancers moved around the packed floor to music provided by Johnny Vana & The Big Band Alumni, a dancer’s dream band, who played some of the memorable music from the 1940s including songs by Benny Goodman, Billy May, Tommy Dorsey, and Glenn Miller. Also providing less danceable music was The Squirrel Nut Zippers.
Sponsored by Cirque du Soleil, Time Warner Cable, Preserve America City of Santa Monica, Sempra Energy Foundation, Big Blue Bus, Clear Channel, and Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau, this exciting event, part of the traditional summer Twilight Dance Series, truly served dancers with this wonderful floor. Dancing on the pier does not make for safe ballroom or swing dancing as one can very easily twist an ankle trying to spin on the rough planks. It would be great if a dance floor became a permanent part of the heavily attended Thursday night summer series, truly making it a real dance venue.