Grab your dancing shoes — your choice of heels, sneakers, comfortable flats or cowboy boots — and sashay your way to Lincoln Center for Midsummer Night Swing.
This beloved annual tradition brings phenomenal bands from near and far for more than a dozen al fresco dance parties in Damrosch Park. Beginners and professionals alike share the floor to show off their moves on nights dedicated to popular dance styles that span history and the globe, including swing, salsa, tango, mambo, disco, honky-tonk, Garba and more.
For anyone hoping to learn some new steps, meet some new friends or just experience some of the best people-watching in New York City, Midsummer Night Swing is the event for you.
“I know as a newcomer you might feel shy or timid, but people are really welcoming to beginners,” Jill Sternheimer, Lincoln Center’s director of programming for Swing, told amNewYork.
In addition to offering a group dance class at the start of every night, special “dance ambassadors” boogie among the crowds most sessions, teaching people steps and keeping a look out for those who need a dance partner.
Come with a date, a friend or by yourself and dress however you feel comfortable to move around. While many people will be wearing colorful vintage costumes or other on-theme fashions, it is by no means necessary. And, though you might want to stick close with your plus-one all night, you learn new moves faster — and meet some friendly people — by keeping some slots in your dance card open to possibilities.
Every night at Midsummer Night Swing is meticulously curated and offers something different. Here’s just a few of the highlights from this year’s offerings.
Sisterhood of Swing
This summer kicks off with the festival’s first-ever all-female swing band. The sizzling hot jazz trumpeter Bria Skonberg leads Sisterhood of Swing, a supergroup she assembled specifically for the event that includes jazz violin legend Regina Carter and clarinetist Anat Cohen. (Tuesday)
The Sound of Philadelphia: A DISCO Party!
Bust out those platform shoes and polyester digs to hustle the night away with Joe McGinty & The Loser’s Lounge. They’ll be playing the golden hits of Philadelphia in the 1970s. (Thursday)
Garba in the Park
This popular Indian folk dance is an energetic group dance that incorporates twirls, hand claps, circular patterns and rotating partners. Don’t worry if you’re new to this incredibly fun and social dance — there will be instruction throughout the night. Kashyap Jani and Friends performs. (July 3)
Austin, Texas all-stars Heybale bring their classic honky-tonk and roadhouse rockabilly to NYC for a night of two-steps, country shuffles and waltzes. Yee-haw! (July 7)
Be prepared to salsa that night away with Cuba’s Orquesta Akokán. The critically acclaimed band offers original music with infectious beats that capture the sound and spirit of the golden age of Cuban mambo. (July 12)
Harlem Renaissance Orchestra
Harlem Renaissance Orchestra sends the festival off with a big band bang. As per annual tradition, the best Lindy hop dancers in the city compete for the Ambassador Prize — the rest of us can Charleston right alongside them before we “ooh” and “aah” at their skills. (July 14)
Midsummer Night Swing runs Tuesday through July 14 at Lincoln Center. For full schedule and details visit lincolncenter.org