Get Your Jive On At The St. Louis Swing Dance Festival All Weekend

By Christopher Reilly
In Culture

Calling all hep cats: Grab your gal and get ready to cut a rug at the third annual Nevermore Ball and Swing Dance Festival—featuring dance contests, class instruction and dance parties all taking place at some of the coolest historical venues throughout the city. The festival kicked off Thursday night with the sold-out Nevermore Ball, but events continue today and run through Sunday. There are lots of opportunities to simply soak up some tunes or get into the swing of things whether you’re a beginner or expert dancer. There’s even a Cherokee Street Jazz Crawl where live music will pour from the doorways of venues as revelers walk and dance along Cherokee Street.

Nevermore Ball and Jazz Dance Festival

Nevermore Ball and Jazz Dance Festival. Photo courtesy Christian Frommelt

The festival is the result of Christian Frommelt and Jenny Shirar’s passion for swing dance. Having met at a swing dance class in college, they’ve scarcely stopped dancing together since and now are considered the premier swing and jazz dancers in the Greater St. Louis area, teaching and performing at festivals and swing dance events both locally and across the U.S. “There’s a strong swing dance culture across the country,” says Frommelt. Thanks to Frommelt and Shirar’s efforts, St. Louis is becoming known as a strong swing dance city. It’s appropriate that the city that gave the world the St. Louis Shag would celebrate its history with swing dancers attending from all over America.

Swing dancers Christian Frommelt and Jenny Shirar

Swing dancers Christian Frommelt and Jenny Shirar. Photo courtesy Christian Frommelt

If you didn’t get your tickets to the Nevermore Jazz Ball before they sold out, here are the events where you can still get your swing on at the St. Louis Swing Dance Festival. Attending all the dances? Purchase a Dance Only Pass for a better value.

Friday, Nov. 8

Day: The City Museum welcomes the fleet of foot for dancing and museum fun. 1pm. Admission $12.

Night: All hoofers descend on the Casa Loma Ballroom for an evening dance with Miss Jubilee, a local band playing Hot Jazz, Swing, Rhythm & Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll spanning the 1920s-1950s. Fronted by a high energy female vocalist and backed up by a swingin’ horn fueled rhythm section. Doors open at 7:30pm. Admission $20.

Saturday, Nov. 9

Day: The Cherokee Street Jazz Crawl gets underway at noon and features several swing bands playing at a variety of venues. Attendees party and dance in the streets, while popping in and out of venues to dig on the music. The crawl goes from 12-3:30pm. Admission is free.

Night: Ben Polcer’s Nevermore Jazz Band plays at the Casa Loma Ballroom with his handpicked musicians for a music experience that will never be duplicated. This is a supergroup of swing. Doors open at 8pm. Admission $30.

Late Night: Still in the mood to swing? The party continues with Jake Sanders’ Arcadian Quintet at the Grandel Theatre. Show starts at 1am. Admission $10.

Sunday, Nov. 10

Night: Say goodbye to the festival, St. Louis, or new friends at the farewell dance with Ben Polcer’s Nevermore Jazz Band. The event takes place at the 2720 Cherokee upstairs gallery. Doors open 8pm. Admission $15.

For more information visit the Nevermore Ball and Swing Dance Festival website.

 Nevermore Ball and Jazz Festival.

Nevermore Ball and Jazz Festival. Photo courtesy Christian Frommelt

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