The 5th annual Speakeasy Soiree took over the Hanger at the Stanley Marketplace on January 25 to showcase big band jazz and provide a space to swing dance. Despite the Hanger not resembling a speakeasy or requiring a password to enter, the majority of those in attendance wore styles most popular a century ago. This evening was an entertaining peek into the past.
The leading swing dance troupe in Denver, Swingin’ Denver, was there to teach all the cool cats who braved the dance floor a basic lesson in the Charleston. They followed the dance lesson with a very entertaining performance that included all the popular moves of the Jazz Age.
Being able to see this style of dance performed by passionate people was a treat to all those in attendance. The care and hours of practice the ladies and gentlemen behind Swingin’ Denver put into keeping these dances alive shines through in their performances.
Their routine was followed by hula-hooper Staza Stone, who could hold her own in a classic vaudevillian theatre. The late-night performance and peak of the evening’s entertainment was her silk aerial performance. When she wasn’t spinning hula-hoops around or twirling through a ribbon of silk, Stone was seen moving through the speakeasy on a pair of stilts.
The avant-garde entertainment was scored by the popular local gypsy swing band, LA POMPE. They also provided the high tempo beats needed to keep the feet moving on the dance floor. For those who don’t enjoy dancing as much as others, there were many vintage vendors on sight to satisfy anyone’s vintage needs from bowties to hats.
This is an annual event that allows aficionados of the Jazz Age to come together and enjoy an evening of shared entertainment. Swing has that ability to bring people together. Unlike other events around the city, the patrons of swing-based events aren’t afraid to socialize. It isn’t strange to see an older woman dancing with a young man or vice versa. The talented are eager to teach those who have never stepped onto a dance floor. There is a sense of pure sharing and enjoyment that feels to be dwindling on a global scale. These events like the Speakeasy Soiree helps restore hope that humanity isn’t all doom and gloom.