Visitors to the Santa Monica Pier Thursday, July 23rd put on their dancing shoes to swing on a 5,000-square foot dance floor during the Twilight Dance Series’ La Monica Ballroom Redux.
As part of the centennial celebration for the Santa Monica Pier, the Dance Series event included a throwback tribute to the experience of the former La Monica Ballroom (1924-1962), with a grand entrance reminiscent of the popular dance facility.
The La Monica Ballroom Redux is among the events leading up to the Santa Monica Pier’s 100th anniversary celebration on September 9th.
“The Santa Monica Pier is an iconic piece of American history and the story of La Monica Ballroom has remained an enduring symbol,” said Ben Franz-Knight, executive director of the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation.
“Reliving the era of La Monica Ballroom is humbling. The Santa Monica Pier has created long-lasting memories for many generations and will continue to entice generations to come.”
The bands that performed for La Monica Redux are considered leaders in the Western swing sound that made La Monica Ballroom famous during its heyday in the 1940s and 1950s. Johnny Vana and The Big Band Alumni performed authentic music of the 1940s including the songs of Benny Goodman, Billy May and Glenn Miller.
Also performing were the Squirrel Nut Zippers, an influential band in the modern swing movement known for a unique “30s punk” sound. The Squirrel Nut Zippers played some of their hits as well as performed new arrangements of classic numbers created especially for the La Monica Ballroom Redux event.
The Santa Monica Pier Centennial Celebration will be marked by a grand rededication ceremony with civic and government officials, local and national celebrities, as well as one of the largest fireworks spectaculars over Santa Monica Bay in 20 years.
Added Franz-Knight, “Each of these celebratory events aims to bring our communities together and commemorate a place that is entertaining in uncountable ways.”