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They celebrate and savor the last step

Dancers get into the swing of things as they say goodbye to the last summer concert of the year.

September 01, 2007|By Rachel Kane

Downtown Burbank’s AMC Walkway was filled to the brim with more than 160 dancers and spectators Thursday night.

They came to swing at the last free summer concert of the season which featured Montebello and East Los Angeles-based band The Wise Guys.

Brass, strings and crooner vocals made up the big band era-style music of the balmy evening. The sounds echoed all throughout the shop-lined stretch of San Fernando Boulevard.

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Some stopped and stared at the spectacle of the large band crowded on a little stage near a checkerboard dance floor.

Others came to dance, and dressed the part.

“This summer I’ve been here two times,” said Chuco Felix, 18, of Sun Valley.

His hair slicked back, wearing suspenders, slacks and black Oxford shoes, he stood next to his lady.

“This is her first time,” Felix said.

Marisela Segura, 18, also of Sun Valley, with her 1940s style high hairdo and platform heels, was almost half a foot taller than him.

They hadn’t started dancing yet but were already sweating a little in the August heat wave.

“We have some moves but we’re not the best dancers in the world,” he said.

“It’s just a drag that this is ending because I’m into the dance scene — especially swing.”

Segura in a skin-tight, black pencil skirt and button-up, frilly top smiled at the crowd as the band started up with a classic swing instrumental.

“They saved the best for last,” Segura said.

Many waited in the wings beside the dance floor for a partner to emerge. Some clustered off in pairs and got to swinging on the outskirts of the crowd.

Others, like Pam Vincent, of Toluca Lake, and Rick Roswell, of North Hollywood, jumped right in.

The two were all over the place. Roswell would twirl Vincent around and then she would kick up her heel. They dipped and laughed like giddy Lindy Hoppers.

“A woman is only as good as the guy who’s leading her,” Vincent said. “That’s why she’s so much better when she dances with other guys.”

He laughed, sweating under his Hawaiian shirt.

“The great thing about this event and swing dancing is you can ask anybody to dance,” he said.

Or nobody. Dressed in greaser gear, 32-year-old Jason Andrade, of Sherman Oaks, hung back by the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream parlor near the dance floor, a little too shy to ask someone to dance.

“I actually just like the band a lot and I saw that they were playing here,” Andrade said.

“But this is also really cool. I really like it.”

He hadn’t heard of the summer concert series until he looked on the band’s website and saw they were playing Thursday night.

Since the beginning of July, bands that play all types of dancing music have come through the AMC Walkway near the theater and provided a soundtrack for people to strut their stuff.

Bolero hat cocked to the side, Andrade scanned the crowd and expressed his regret in only finding out about the event at the last minute.

“I’ll probably dance though,” he said. “Why do I always have to catch things at the end?”

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