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SPAC’s ‘Live At The Jazz Bar’ Winter Series Kicks Off Tonight With Salsa Dancing And Alta Havana

The popular series, which includes free dance lessons and music, features a Salsa Night tonight, and a Swing Night on December 13.

Live at the Jazz Bar
Alta Havana will be performing at tonight's winter series opener of "Live at the Jazz Bar." (exploresaratoga.com)

Though it certainly doesn’t feel like salsa weather outside, there’s no better way to warm yourself up than by hitting the dance floor and moving your feet. Tonight marks the first night of Freihofer’s “Live at the Jazz Bar” Winter Series, with Salsa Dancing, hosted by the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC). The free music and dance series debuted in the summer months of 2017, and a winter session followed in February 2018. It was so successful that SPAC brought it back early. “Our Winter Jazz Bar series that we introduced at the beginning of the year was met with incredible enthusiasm from social dancers and connoisseurs of great live music, bringing hundreds of guests to our grounds during the winter and spring months,” says Elizabeth Sobol, SPAC’s President and CEO. “The series, an extension of our summer season, is part of our new vision to bring year-round programming to SPAC and free experiences to the community.”

Tonight’s event is from 7pm to 10pm, and highlights the best of Latin music and dance. The first hour includes lessons and guided dance practices in salsa and the cha-cha-cha from Diane Lachtrupp and Johnny Martinez, Co-Directors of Tango Fusion Dance Company here in Saratoga. Then, once moves have been mastered (or at least memorized), attendees will have two full hours to dance away to the live music of Alta Havana, one of the finest Cuban music quartets with the talents of Miguel Valdez (congas), Engels P. Contreras-Tortolo (vocals), Jorge Gómez (keyboard/piano) and Oriente Lopez (flute). (Check out saratoga living‘s “Saratogian of the Month” feature on Gómez in our brand-new Luxury Issue on newsstands now.) There will also be a cash bar from Mazzone Hospitality. “On this rainy, November day we are bringing the heat with vibrant Cuban rhythms by Alta Havana and free salsa lessons from Johnny and Diane of Tango Fusion to the Hall of Springs,” Sobol told saratoga living.

Freihofer’s “Live at the Jazz Bar” series began as part of the 2017 revitalization of a room within the Hall of Springs that Sobol saw as evocative of the Jazz Era, which ended shortly before the historic Hall was constructed in the mid-1930s. The regular summer series showcases live music by swing, folk and jazz ensembles; while the winter series adds free dance lessons to the mix. Be sure to check out Swing Night on December 13, with Lachtrupp and Martinez teaching swing, the Lindy-Hop and Charleston, all to the music of Annie and the Hedonists, local masters of vintage American blues, jazz and swing.

Jeff Dingler
Jeff Dingler

Jeff Dingler is saratoga living's Senior Writer. He's a graduate of Skidmore College and a professional musician.

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