“Let’s Dance” Big Band Weekend set to open Friday


John Smith and the Big Band returns to host the 12th Annual ‘Let’s Dance’ Big Band Weekend, July 21 through 23 in the Duke Ellington Ballroom, at Holmes Student Center at Northern Illinois University, 340 Carroll Ave. DeKalb, IL.

Advanced registrations include guests from Alaska, Canada, Florida, midwestern states and 50 Illinois cities. Check out www.justmakeithappen-dekalb.com.

Visitors stated goals include enjoying ballroom dancing to live big band music (10, 12, 17 pieces), exploring new ballroom moves, and experiencing ‘space to dance’ on a large 13,000 smooth wood floor. Many guest reviews mention personal benefits such as building healthy social, mental, and physical fitness naturally.

“It is exciting to host Let’s Dance for local, state, regional and national guests in DeKalb”, said John D. Smith, President of Just Make It Happen, a 501 c3. “JMIH is proud to use Duke Ellington’s entertainment vision, jazz and dance, to motivate all ages to build a healthy life naturally. An added bonus is live professional music.”

“Let’s Dance” schedule of activities

8 p.m. Friday Welcome Dance, Alicia Hamilton Orchestra will provide the Johnnie Kaye Orchestra Midwest ballroom dance sound.

2 p.m. Cabaret Dance – ‘Tips Only’ dance featuring Roger Hintzsche and the Shananigans Dance Combo. NIU grad guest pros include Mark Lathan, pianist/composer; Mike Bazan, reeds, and Brian Weber, drums. Vocalist is DeKalb’s Zachary Harris.

8 p.m. Let’s Dance Ball, Host, John Smith and Shananigans performs dance requests from their latest jazz and dance release ‘It’s Saturday Night! Let’s Dance’ Vol. 5.

10 a.m. Sunday Dance, the Dick Elliott Orchestra, a Chicago ballroom dance favorite will perform.

Saturday morning schedule includes 3 levels of ballroom dances waltz, foxtrot, swing, and latin. Registration opens at 8:15 am at west entrance of Duke Ellington Ballroom.

Just Make It Happen Instructors are John Puskar of Naperville, Pat Ray of Aurora, Wayne and Jennifer Wright of Normal, and Annie Hawkins, DeKalb. The shoe vendor is Travelin’ Dance from Milwaukee, WI.

Leather soled shoes are a ‘must’ to wear. All levels of dancers are welcome. Practice areas are located at east and west end of the ballroom. Food registration is closed.

Doors open 30 min. prior to any dance for cash or check guests. The Welcome Desk is located at the west entrance of the ballroom. Free parking is available in nearby lots.

Thanks to a NM KishHealthSystem ‘Dancing for Health’ Scholarship program, DeKalb County residents can reduce dance costs by $ 10 pp for one dance. Balcony seats are available at reduced price for listen-only fans.

Jazz and dance fans are invited to lively weekend of ‘freshly prepared’ fun.

The 12th Annual ‘Let’s Dance’ Big Band Weekend opens, Friday July 21. Event concludes Sunday July 23 in Northern Illinois University’s historic Duke Ellington Ballroom, 340 Carroll Ave. DeKalb.