Following KRTU’s citywide collaborations during the Year of Jazz, the radio station hopes to continue to promote the importance of creative synergy within the San Antonio arts community with its Jazz for Art’s Sake event series. The first major event of the series, Swing Dancin’ the Night Away, will take place from 7 to 11 p.m. today, March 1, at Trinity University’s Great Hall in the Chapman Center. Partnered with the San Antonio Swing Dance Society, KRTU wants to demonstrate that jazz is truly the “king of swing.”
“Last year was the Year of Jazz. This year is Jazz for Art’s Sake, so we’re highlighting all of the collaborations we have within the arts community. We have four different concert series that we do with different museums””Blue Star, SAMA, the Witte and the McNay. Our members get in free to all of those events. We’re going to have an event each quarter that kind of highlights a different art form and how jazz is influenced by and influences that art form,” said Ron Nirenberg, associate general manager of KRTU.
The event starts at 7 p.m. with a dance lesson provided by the San Antonio Swing Dance Society. At 8 p.m., professional dancers Kevin St. Laurent and Jo Hoffberg will perform to music from the JSM Limited Swing Orchestra. After the performance, the floor will open for the dance.
“It’s sort of our hope that the students that come to the event will be transported back 70 years into the swing dance era where it was very popular in colleges and things like that, so there’ll be dancing and jazz music, and it will be very period-oriented,” Nirenberg said.
The event is free for KRTU members and Alamo Stomp attendees. The cost of admission for non-members is $10 at the door, and there will be a Tigerbucks machine on hand for students wishing to pay that way.
“Our hope is to break even because we’re a non-profit, so if we can cover expenses that’s our number one goal. Beyond that, the membership revenue goes into the operation of the station. We’re not expecting to make a whole lot of money out of this. We’re expecting to put on a great program and meet our expenses,” Nirenberg said.
This is the first time KRTU has co-hosted an event with the San Antonio Swing Dance Society, but both organizations believe future collaboration is likely.
“This is the first time we’ve ever collaborated with them [the San Antonio Swing Dance Society], but they do come out to a lot of our events. I just thought it would be really fun for us to collaborate and do something together. I think it fits in perfectly with our Jazz for Art’s Sake series, too,” said Monica Reina, special projects assistant for KRTU.
Ben Luhrman with the San Antonio Swing Dance Society echoed Reina’s sentiments and expressed excitement for this event as well as for ones in the future.
“It’s great to work side by side with another non-profit for a fun event. We really look forward to this event and many future ones to come,” Luhrman said in an email.
According to Luhrman, jazz and swing dancing have a long history together. They are so integral to each other that it is almost impossible for one to exist without the other.
“The origins of jazz music and dance go back a long way. Musicians actually used to strictly play for dancers only at venues all over the United States. It’s great to see an event like this that really recognizes that,” Luhrman said. “Sidney Bechet, one of the greatest jazz musicians, said it best: “˜Jazz musicians have dance in them, and jazz dancers have music in them, or jazz doesn’t happen.'”
Nirenberg hopes that Trinity students take full advantage of this opportunity to immerse themselves in this union of the arts, especially with the event occurring on campus.
“I went to school here, and I never saw anything like this when I was a student. It’s a once-in-a-Trinity-career opportunity to have a swing dance night that you can walk to from your dorm. This is the only night we’re doing this. It’s not a series, so it’s a one-time deal. If people are curious, they should come out,” Nirenberg said.
Luhrman thinks that this event will help Trinity students experience firsthand the jazz and swing cultures, thereby fostering an appreciation for the rich history behind these art forms.
“Trinity students would like this event because lindy hop and jazz have a lot of American history. It’s more fun knowing that the previous generations did what we are doing. It’s so much more that just music or dance; it’s preserving a form of art that our ancestors have passed down to us,” Luhrman said.
In addition to the main event on Friday evening, there will also be swing dance workshops with St. Laurent and Hoffberg on both Saturday and Sunday, March 2-3, in the Bell Center. A swing dance party will also be held with the Jim Cullum Jazz Band from 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday, March 2, at the Beethoven Maennerchor located at 422 Pereida St.