Black Cat adds a twist to Feb. 14

For an atypical Valentine’s Day, why not check out the Black Cat’s Sweetheart Ball? Attendees can drink, swing dance and enjoy great music with or without a significant other.

Peaches O’Dell and her orchestra will throw quite a party at 1831 14th St. N.W. this Saturday. Vintage dress is optional – as is a date. And the best part is the diversity of the event. Professional swing dancers will attend. Amateurs will cut a rug, too. People 18 and older, and of all sexual orientations, are expected to attend.

Mark Richman of GW’s Ballroom Dance Society says swing dancing is simple to learn. “It’s really hard to learn by watching, but very easy to learn by doing. It’s actually very easy to do.”

Richman recommends attending the event with someone who knows how to swing dance because a partner can guide a new dancer. But he added, “A lot of people can learn by going to social dances (and watching).”

So all it takes is a little guts and a lot of energy to get out on the dance floor and look good. Paste a smile on, and it’s instantaneous fun.

GW Ballroom Dance Society officer Sarah Ganiere said people come from all over to attend. Though the Society’s officers will be at an out-of-town competition, she said she expects other GW ballroom dancers and students from Catholic University to partake in the festivities.

Ganiere said she attended a similar event for Halloween at the Black Cat, and that the people were helpful and friendly. “If you don’t know how to do something, just ask someone. Pick someone who doesn’t look too scary,” she said.

The venue promises a conga line for world peace, hoopla and hi jinx – and special recognition for anyone who has been dumped recently. Prizes will be awarded for all kinds of things.

And for those who don’t dance, it will be a comfort to know that not all of the 300 to 400 people expected to come will be dancing. Many come to watch and search for a new love. The Black Cat’s Dale Shaw said the crowd usually is split evenly between couples and singles.Admission is $8, and the doors open at 9:30 p.m.

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