Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Swing and Shag Dancing at the Disneyland Resort


Swing and Shag Dancing at the Disneyland Resort

For years guests of the park would gather at Carnation Plaza Gardens and enjoy dancing to great live bands. Some of the biggest jazz musicians of the past couple of generations played there. This year Disney closed Carnation Plaza Gardens so the area could be rethemed as a Princess meet and greet. Personally I am sorry to see the grand old stage go. It is a part of history and should be preserved. Still things at Disney Parks change.

Just because the stage and dance floor is gone it does not mean the dancing has stopped. The dancers have found themselves a new place to dance in California Adventure. They gather over in the Paradise Gardens area where there is a band stand. On the weekends the Ellis Island Boys are playing Jazz and a bit of swing.

While the band plays guests that love to dance come in period style dress and dance the afternoon and evening away. There is no “dance floor” as there was at the Carnation Plaza Gardens but they make do. They dance around the tables and the walkways beside the stage. They are a joy to watch! Often they trade partners and anybody that shows interest is welcomed to join the fun. In fact if you ask they will be happy to show you a move or two.

Now in a past post I mentioned I was going to attempt to learn Swing style dancing with my husband before our next cruise in 2014. After much thinking we decided Swing was too ambitious a style of dance for us. With its quick movements and swinging partners between the legs and over the shoulders it is not the dance for us, yet.

While watching the dancers last Saturday we stopped and talked to one of them doing a slightly slower style yet still beautiful style of dance. It is more footwork and the feet stay near the ground than Swing. No swinging partners around or jumping. The upper body stays still from the hips up over all and the dancers look like they are smoothly sliding around the dance area. This style is called Shag. We have decided to attempt to learn it!

This is a big step for the both of us. Neither of us is athletic and we have never danced before. My husband has hearing loss and his heart does not have a normal rhythm. This lack of a normal body rhythm makes it hard for him to hear or feel the beat of music. This is one of our Imagineering Workouts where we are going Blue Sky and trying something we have never done before.

Here is a sample lesson I found online for Shag Dancing. We are going to try the online version first then we may sign up for classes or just start going to Disneyland every other weekend and dancing with the other guests.

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