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Big-T & the Bada-Bings

Karaoke Swings!
By Molly Buck

Photo ©Carolyn Lee  
Taking the nation’s swing obsession to a whole new level, the Century Ballroom in Seattle, Washington held what was possibly the world’s first SWING-a-RAOKE night this Spring. The April 17 event kicked off with a one-hour dance lesson at 8 p.m., as is the norm for any swing dance night at the Century Ballroom, one of America’s top ten "Best Places to Jump & Jive," according to a recent USA Today poll. Then at 9 p.m., patrons turned their attention to the Karaoke machine stocked full of everyone’s favorite swing tunes and lyrics set up on the ballroom’s elegant stage, and the swinging & singing began.

"Yes, we’ve stooped to the depths," joked Hallie Kuperman, proprietor of the Century Ballroom. "But of all the suggestions I have received about theme nights, this was the most outlandish, so I had to try it."

For everyone who loves Karaoke, SWING-a-RAOKE offers a new twist—singing on stage while people dance to the sound of your voice. Kuperman introduced the singers onto the stage, and for each performance, the ballroom floor filled up with lindy-hoppers, fox-trotters, and waltzers. As the night progressed, numerous glasses of champagne were emptied and more and more "live" music ensued, replacing the deejay entirely by the end of the evening.

Photo ©Carolyn Lee  
"Singing Karaoke has never been so glamorous!" exclaimed Lovica Callisti, after her version of "Fever" got more than half the attendees on their feet.

Some of the biggest hits of the evening were Mary Travis’ version of "The Lady is a Tramp," Chip Beal’s "Mack the Knife," and Jonathan Garrigues’ "Hit That Jive Jack." The big thrill, however, was the flamboyant and sexy performance of "LOVE" by the "Three Amigos," consisting of Chad, the Century doorman, Johnny, the Century barista, and Benjamin, one of the Century dance instructors.

"This night brought out the more boisterous side of swing," said Kuperman, who was recently dubbed one of Seattle’s "Women of Swing" by Swank, a local swing magazine.

At least four nights per week, the Century Ballroom is packed full of dancers, from Seattle’s most talented lindy-hoppers to beginners who stop by for a lesson out of curiosity. You will often see the dancers mouthing the words to their favorite songs as they jigwalk, swivel and Suzy-Q across Century’s famed 3000-square-foot spring dance floor. The new SWING-a-RAOKE night gives these dancers and their friends a chance to sing out loud, unleashing their vocal chords to the songs of Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, The Andrews Sisters, Ella Fitzgerald and others.

  Photo ©Carolyn Lee
For those who missed the first swingin’ Karaoke night at the Century Ballroom, you may have another chance to join in the fun, as Kuperman has every intention of keeping the tradition alive. "I think SWING-a-RAOKE may become an institution by popular demand," she said. For more information, call the club at (206) 324-7263, or visit the Web site at

The Century Ballroom is located at 915 East Pine Street, 2nd Floor, Seattle, Washington, 98122. The Century Ballroom café offers a variety of tapas and meals, as well as wine, champagne and beer. Dancing takes place every Monday and Wednesday night, with lessons beforehand. There are usually live events every weekend, with the Century’s own dance troupe, "Swing This!," performing every other Friday. The Century also offers six-week dance courses.


Behind in your reading?
Check out past ATOMIC features.

Dear Dottie
1999 Article List
2000 Article List
2001 Article List
2002 Article List
2003 Article List
2004 Article List
SwingTime! Across The USA:
The Jivin' Lindy Hoppers
Breuker Breaks The Rules
Beatin' The Chops:
The Vegas Rockabilly Weekender
Paris (Combo) By Night
Sewing To the Oldies
Royal Crown Revue
Walks On Fire
Ode To An Ape:
The Legacy of King Kong
Karaoke Swings!


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