A free dance party with live music on the Mississippi
Get your dancing shoes ready: Winona’s Levee Park will be stomping, swinging, and swaying to the sounds of salsa and swing at the new WINONArts event, Rhythym @the River, on Sunday, September 15, from 4-9 p.m. The community is invited to a free dance party thrown by River City Ballroom Dancers, Project FINE, WINONArts, East Side Productions and The Boathouse Restaurant. Two bands playing live music — Golpe Tierra, an Afro-Cuban jazz and salsa band from Madison, Wis., and The La Crosse Jazz Orchestra — will accompany those dancing with free lessons led by Stan and Molly Breitlow from River City Ballroom.
Think of Rhythm @the River as Live @the Levee meets last year’s Swinging in the Streets street dance. Rhythm @the River will also be the kick-off event of Project FINE’s Welcoming Week events with a special cultural dance presentation. Come to listen to great music, see wonderful dance exhibitions, cheer on your friends and family, or glide across the dance floor yourself.
Rhythm @the River will contain two complementary dance class sessions for all levels of dance with salsa being featured at 4 p.m. and Golpe Tierra performing until 6 p.m. Then, the Project FINE Welcoming Week Celebration will occur from 6-6:30, and the River City Dancers will lead a swing dance lesson from 6:30-7 p.m., followed by a two-hour music and dance session from 7-9 p.m. featuring the La Crosse Jazz Orchestra.
Craft beers and wine will also be served by The Boathouse and East Side Productions. Food trucks like Fat Pat’s BBQ, Crepe’s Jean Luc, Winona Eats, Rubio’s, and more will provide great dining options; a wonderful selection of craft vendors will offer some shopping chances, too. This free dance party is made possible by the generous support of WINONArts from WNB Financial, Merchants Bank, and Coca Cola Bottling of Winona, the official beverage of WINONArts Levee events for 2019. Save the date: the next WINONArts event will be the Fall Floating Concert on October 6 with Loud Mouth Brass playing on the Winona Lake near Lake Lodge.
The irresistible acoustic groove of Golpe Tierra bases its sound on the philosophy that, when people come together in music and dance to “beat the earth,” they are truly celebrating the act of community. Nick Moran, Juan Tomas Martinez, Tony Barba, and Richard Hildner make up this guerrilla-style ensemble, employing the traditional Afro-Peruvian guitar-bass-cajón set-up. The group embarks on a musical journey throughout Latin America, flirting with blues, jazz, and shades of soul. This uniquely presented original and traditional music is sure to get you out of your seat to dance!
The La Crosse Jazz Orchestra, Western Wisconsin’s premier big band, was formed in 1974 to perform “Jazz On A Sunday Afternoon” for the Great River Festival of the Arts Summer Concert Series. The band continues that tradition while expanding its role performing for street dances, festivals and other concerts throughout the greater La Crosse region. The orchestra has an extensive library of big-band classics, contemporary big band, pop, vocal and instrumental features, and dance arrangements. Concerts often pay musical tribute to such luminaries as Duke Ellington, Alan Baylock, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Gordon Goodwin, and/or Glenn Miller.
Molly and Stan Breitlow are ballroom dance enthusiasts who have taught together in La Crosse; Onalaska, Wis.; and Winona for 11 years. They serve on the River City Ballroom Dancers Board of Directors, emcee monthly dances at the River City Athletic Club, and offer community education ballroom dance lessons weekly. Both Molly and Stan are passionate about sharing music and their love of dance with the community and are thrilled to take part in another outdoor dance venture in the community they love. They have hosted many outdoor ballroom dance events at various Winona locales, from parks to the bandshell to the levee. Dancers and non-dancers alike are welcome to participate.
The introductory lesson provided beforehand is taught in a relaxed and enjoyable manner with the focus staying on enjoyment of dance, as well as technique.
For more information about Rhythm @the River call the Winona Park and Recreation office at 507-457-8258 or visit the WINONArts Facebook page.