SANTA MONICA, Calif.--()--Since 1924, the La Monica Ballroom resonated as the heart of ballroom dancing until it gave into age on the Santa Monica Pier in 1962. Now, 85 years later, on July 23, 2009 what would be the anniversary of La Monica, the original experience of the largest ballroom in the world will be honored on the Santa Monica Pier as part of a series of events leading up to the Santa Monica Pier’s Centennial Celebration on September 9, 2009.
“The Santa Monica Pier has created long-lasting memories for many generations and will continue to entice generations to come.”
The Santa Monica Pier will be alive with historic throwbacks to the La Monica Ballroom in its heyday. Visual elements reminiscent of what it would have been like in 1924 will include a version of the original dance floor and entryway where Western Swing blossomed in the 1940s and 1950s.
Johnny Vana and The Big Band Alumni will perform on stage after the audience receives special dance instructions from swing experts. Graduates from some of the greatest big bands of all time, The Big Band Alumni will bring the sounds of Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and Billy May, authentically playing the genuine swing sound of the 1940s.
The Squirrel Nut Zippers will perform following Johnny Vana, with a signature modern infused swing sound that earned them the style “30s punk” by music reviewers. Their unique and famed combination of blues, jazz and Southern roots tradition is a testament to how swing evolved and will continue to evolve long after the original 1940s movement.
“The Santa Monica Pier is an iconic piece of American history and the story of La Monica Ballroom has remained an enduring national symbol. Reliving the era of La Monica Ballroom is humbling,” said Ben Franz-Knight, executive director of the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation. “The Santa Monica Pier has created long-lasting memories for many generations and will continue to entice generations to come.”
Following the La Monica Ballroom Redux on July 23rd, the Santa Monica Pier Centennial Celebration will take place on its birthday, September 9, 2009, and will be marked by a grand rededication ceremony with civic and government officials, local and national celebrities, as well as the largest fireworks spectacular over Santa Monica Bay in twenty years.
Adds Franz-Knight, “Each of these celebratory events aims to bring our communities together and commemorate a place that is entertaining in uncountable ways.”
About the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation
The Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation (SMPRC), established in 1983, is a non-profit, public benefit corporation made up of business and community leaders who represent the full range of community interests. It was created by the Santa Monica City Council to preserve and enhance the pleasure pier experience for people of all ages and for future generations and is funded by the City of Santa Monica. For more information, visit, http://www.santamonicapier.org.
About the Santa Monica Pier Centennial Celebration
The Santa Monica Pier Centennial Celebration, through a series of free, public events and festivals, will engage the public in the rich history of the Santa Monica Pier by re-creating and paying homage to some of the most memorable moments from its past. Throughout the Centennial, the Pier will highlight the place that the Santa Monica Pier has in the everyday life of the city. The Santa Monica Pier Centennial looks 100 years in the past, 100 years ahead in the future to create an atmosphere of fun, festivity, and fitness that will last for another 100 years. The events of the Santa Monica Pier Centennial will pay tribute to the past, enhance the visitor experience of the present, offer a new set of events for a new population and attract event visitation and economic development on a year round basis.
The La Monica Ballroom Redux Is Sponsored By:
Cirque du Soleil, Time Warner Cable, Preserve America, City of Santa Monica, Sempra Energy Foundation, Big Blue Bus, Clear Channel, Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau.