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Nancy Gonzalez
West Coast Swing
Al's Place

West Coast Swing Hits Fairfield County with a Splash!

by Nancy Gonzalez
October 8, 2005
Al's Place
1795 Post Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
(203) 256-8963

West Coast Swing Hits Fairfield County with a Splash!

Al's Place
1795 Post Road, Fairfield, CT 06824
(203) 256-8963

Nancy A. Gonzalez
October 8, 2005

Despite pouring rain and tough driving conditions, an enthusiastic crowd gathered to welcome a new West Coast venue at Al's Place Bar in Fairfield, CT. The state of Connecticut was well represented and the NY crowd hailed from Long Island, Rockland County and even one adventurous soul from Albany!

Newcomers to West Coast Swing flooded the floor. Erik Novoa, who sponsored the dance, was an energetic host and teacher at his first of hopefully many dances here. Erik is a popular champion and dance instructor for both West Coast Swing and Hustle in NYC and surrounding areas. He is a respected professional whose background includes ballet, jazz, modern, musical theater and tap. Some great information on all that Erik has to offer can be found at http://www.swingshoes.net/main.html.

Erik began the West Coast Swing lessons and in about 20 minutes, the novice dancers were swinging and moving, smiling and laughing. The experienced Westies were doing their part to maintain a spirited ambiance by imbibing in the spirits offered at the bar. Al's Place offers a full bar assortment and menu. The atmosphere here is casual and friendly. The wooden dance floor is small but quite nice and dancers expanded out onto the linoleum floor which served them well.

After the lesson, a live band provided cool rhythm and blues music for the crowd. Janet Ryan accompanied by her band, Straight Up, belted out the songs. Dancers responded by hitting the beats with moves corresponding with the palpitations of the music. Janet Ryan started performing in the Tri State area in the 80's and has a formidable reputation as a blues singer. Straight Up currently calls western Massachusetts home. This band puts forth its all, playing long sets, responding to the mood of the crowd, and adding to the attitude of the night. Straight Up has two CDs currently available. A new one, featuring jazz, is in the making. The website http://www.janetryan.com/ is extensive and even includes music to download.

In between sets, Erik was the DJ and kept the crowd rocking. The man had boundless energy, showing creative and funky moves, mixing with the dancers and snapping photos. The evening was definitely a success, the most fun Fairfield County has seen in awhile. We'll looking forward to the next time!

See Erik's pictures

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