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Big band weekend features three dances with orchestras

Published: Thursday, July 18, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

Dancers “in the mood” for some big band music may want to check out the eighth annual Let’s Dance Big Band Weekend presented by Just Make It Happen Inc., Friday through Sunday in the Duke Ellington Ballroom of the Holmes Student Center at Northern Illinois University.

The three-day event includes three big band dance orchestras, two levels of dance instruction and a family sock hop. Leather-soled shoes are required for those who wish to dance.

Balcony seats to listen to the live music are available for $5. Tables on the main floor for dancers are available for $25. Tickets can be purchased at the door 30 minutes before any dance or lesson. Meals are available only for those who register in advance; there will not be food available for guests who buy tickets at the door.

The Welcome Dance, featuring the 14-piece Johnnie Kaye Orchestra, will be from 8 to 11 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, lessons in waltz, swing, foxtrot and Latin dance will be offered from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Cost is $6 per person, per lesson, and day-of registration opens at 8 a.m. There will not be beginner-level lessons offered this year, because there were not enough early registrations.

The family Sock Hop takes over the ballroom from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday. The Shananigans Combo will play familiar music with family-friendly lyrics at a family-friendly volume. Children can visit the stage while the musicians play, and there will be some simple dance instruction. Tickets cost $20 per family at the door. Families can bring their own table decorations – no helium balloons – but must clean up their own table at the end of the dance. Sock Hop participants must wear good, clean socks.

John Smith and the Shananigans Big Band will play at the Gala Ball from 8 to 11:15 p.m. Saturday. Dick Elliott’s 10-piece orchestra will provide the music for Sunday’s morning dance, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

For more information, visit www.justmakeithappen-dekalb.com.

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