Thursday, November 17, 2011

Catalina Swing Dance Festival Nov 18-20, 2011

If you don't know what to do this weekend and you would like to get away, here's a great event that is happening this weekend, 26 miles away from the coast of Los Angeles. There is also a Saturday only option. Take the Catalina Express over in the morning, enjoy the day exploring Avalon, and then go to the dance/concert, and then take the special late night boat back home. No hotels, and a great time is assured.

JOIN US AT THE “CATALINA SWING DANCE FESTIVAL” – in all the world, no event like this!

The Catalina Swing Dance Festival will take place November 18-20, 2011 in Avalon, CA – We anticipate having 400+ swing dancers descend on Catalina: a small, picturesque island 22 miles west of mainland Los Angeles famous for its quaint inns, breathtaking landscape and clear waters.

Swing dancers from around the world will once again “cut a rug” all weekend in the beautiful Casino Ballroom on the island. This event will be filled with social dancing, workshops, and live music. All levels are welcome for dance workshops and even those that don’t dance and want to sit back and enjoy the live music and performances in the evening are encouraged to attend. The Catalina Swing Dance Festival will be the only weekend event featuring what the building was originally built for – dancing!

“You will not find a more beautiful setting for an evening dance or weekend festival than the casino ballroom”, says Joel Plys the organizer of the event. “The long-term goal is to build the festival to a weeklong event featuring live music and dancing throughout Avalon.”


The Casino Ballroom is situated on Sugar Loaf Point at the northern end of Avalon Harbor. This Art Deco building was completed in the Spring of 1929, and is an engineering masterpiece. The structure stood taller than any building in Los Angeles at the time. The ballroom took its name from the Italian "place of entertainment," and does not actually have gambling of any kind. At the time of its construction, America was immersed in the Jazz Age and "swing fever" had taken hold, with large dance halls called "casinos" popping up throughout the country. The Avalon Casino, by far one of the most spectacular ballrooms in the United States (and the largest circular ballroom in the world), drew thousands of dancers who would come by steamship from the mainland.

Twelve stories high and 180 feet in diameter, the Casino holds a large movie theater on the first floor with remarkable acoustic features and an immense hand-painted mural depicting the geography and history of Catalina Island.
Above the theatre lies the Ballroom.

At 10,000 square feet it boasts an arched 50 foot domed ceiling that holds five Tiffany chandeliers, rose-colored walls made up of full-length panoramic windows; an expansive outdoor balcony, an elevated stage, and spacious seating surround the circular dance floor.

This ballroom was built for dancers. The hardwood floor is constructed over layers of foam, pine and cork, all of which are suspended over five feet of air. It makes for a dancer's dream, and eliminates all noise that could otherwise disturb the theatre below.

Today, the facility is mainly used for weddings, conventions, and occasional music festivals and fire code limits the attendance to 1,200. For more information see:

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