Big band dance set for tonight

Published 7:57 am Friday, October 22, 2010

It’s been 10 years since the Austin Big Band held a dance like this.

The Austin Big Band will play a big band dance tonight at El Parral Ballroom from 6-11 p.m. It’s the first gig in almost 10 years that’s dedicated specifically to a dance night.

“We haven’t found a good venue to do a dance in,” said Nathan Wradislavsky, the Austin Big Band organizer. “There just hasn’t been a good venue until about a year ago.”

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Wradislavsky said he contacted El Parral about a year ago, when Custodio Serrano first took over the building and was busy remodeling it. While ABB has played at various community functions, such as fairs, presentations, private country clubs and other outlets, it’s been quite a while since they could hold an open dance.

Which is why Austin Big Band is excited to play tonight. The 17-member troupe will be pulling out all the stops, with dancing lessons taking place at 6 p.m. and a four-hour set starting at 7 p.m. They’ll be playing hits like “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head,” and “How High the Moon,” along with pieces from favorites like Duke Ellington and Count Basie.

El Parral will have a happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. at their bar as well. The event is free and open to all ages.

Wradislavsky hopes this Big Band Dance is but the first of many.

“We’re looking at trying to get this on a regular basis,” he said. “If we do get a good turnout, we’ll definitely be doing this more often.”