By Molly Buck
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.
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."
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.
Karaoke has never been so glamorous!" exclaimed Lovica Callisti,
after her version of "Fever" got more than half the attendees
on their feet.
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
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.
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
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 www.centuryballroom.com.
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.