Charm City: My Foray Into The Baltimore Strut
Urbandictionary.com’s top rated post describes Baltimore as,
” The greatest city on earth. Sure its a little dirty, but thats a city for ya. “
Having attended Boston Tea Party the last two years and ILHC last year, I can tell you the Baltimore swing dance scene is a force to be feared and loved. (Still debating if I am afraid how much I love them, or love how much I am afraid of them.) From streaking through dance floors, throwing epic parties with Albuquerque, to entering contests en masse, they always bring energy to wherever they show up.
Incentive to Strut On Down
Michael Seguin originally posted via Facebook that folks coming down from Philly this past weekend would only have to pay 5 bones (dollars) for cover to see the Boilermaker Jazz Band. Realizing that State College is an additional 1 hour and fourty minutes away and that I am a cheapskate, I asked if we could get the discount as well. In his infinite generosity, he decided to grant all Pennsylvanians and Delawarians the discount. Afterwards I rounded up four other friends and by Friday afternoon we were off for our first foray to the Baltimore Strut.
The most difficult thing about the night was actually finding the venue, which they affectionately refer to as “a dive”. The Dance Rink is no Spanish Ballroom, however the place has character (and unisex bathrooms). A quote I got when asking about the venue I think does the place justice,
“It is a weird, funky space, but Baltimore has the energy these days!”
As promised, when we got to the door we were only charged five dollars and there was ice cold water and soda. The Boilermakers as usual did an excellent job, they kept the energy levels up and dancers excited. I particularly enjoyed their performance of the Benny Goodman classic, “Goody, Goody“. Also kudos to Sarah Sullivan who also spun some good tunes during the band breaks.
After the band was done playing, they did something I usually strongly disagree with, which is play non-swing dance music. However in the case of the Baltimore Strut, it oddly meshed really well with the event’s personality and I didn’t mind it at all. Even danced a few of the songs myself.
One of the highlights of the night was the contest the strut put on, which was a “Blues Kicking” competition. If you are unfamiliar with blues kicking, an excellent example is below at 0:56:
Luke Albao was the judge, who was in great juxtaposition to the venue was impeccably dressed. For the final judging, there was a soul train to the song ” Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga in which Luke gave a thumbs up or thumbs down via a chicken wing he was eating who were the winners. The mayhem promised in the promotional logo was delivered, winners recieved a free copy of the Boilermaker Jazz Band’s new CD “Nice Work If You Can Get It”.
What I Took From This
The Baltimore Strut is like that back alley, family owned, Chinese restaurant that you love. Sure the location may not be the best or meeting health code regulations. But the place has character, family sense of pride and togetherness, and is bloody delicious.