How Metro Parks’ Big Band Dance Series Can Keep Steppin’ During COVID

Big Band Dance

What does big band dancing look like in the tail end of the COVID-19 pandemic?

That’s the thorny question Nashville’s Metro Parks Cultural Arts leadership are wrestling with today.

Last year, the ever-popular Big Band Dance Series was cancelled due to the pandemic. Metro Parks staff, including Mike Teaney, Sam Frazee, and Sherry Hipps, would like to find a way to provide the public with big band dances this year, but are uncertain what the public health requirements will be when it’s time to launch the spring-summer series.

Saturday Evening Dances

Considering how packed the Centennial Park Event Shelter gets every Saturday evening during the warm weather months, there must be hundreds of local residents itching to strap on their dancing shoes and head to the park – especially after having missed a year of hoofing it to Nashville’s finest big bands.

Among the bands recently featured at the event are Music City Swing, The Merchants of Cool, The Establishment, The Lynn Beal Band, Radio Daze, Rory Partin & His All Star Big Band, The Jazz Alliance, The Paul Ross Orchestra, South Jackson Street Band, Music City Big Band, Bradley Big Band, Debbi Bailes & Her Band, and The Moonlighters.

And, music isn’t the only offering at Metro Parks Big Band Dances. Dance instructors are always on hand to guide guests through the basic steps so even newbies can have a great time.

Making Big Band Dancing Safe

So, the question is: How to keep Metro Parks Big Band Dance Series active and safe as the world takes strong measures to deal with a serious infectious disease.

At the Feb. 24, 2021 meeting of Creative Parks Nashville (CPN) – the nonprofit “friends” group founded to support Nashville’s Park and Recreation department’s music, theater, and art programs – Sam Frazee, Music and Theater Divisions Supervisor, said they were looking at different ways they could keep the series going.

These options ranged from moving the event online to staging it outdoors with a limited number of participants to provide safe social distancing. Sherry Hipps, Superintendent of Cultural Arts, said perhaps a larger outdoor space, like a stadium parking lot, could be used. This would allow more dancers the opportunity to enjoy themselves at the 2021 Big Band Dances.

Frazee said that no final decision has yet been made and that they will work with Metro Public Health to determine the requirements needed to return the Big Band Dance series this year.

Keep Informed about the Big Band Dances

To keep up with the plans for the 2021 Big Band Dances, sign up for our mailing list and follow these social media accounts:

To plug directly into the various cultural arts programs offered by Nashville Parks and Recreation, bookmark the Cultural Arts at Metro Parks and Recreation webpage and check it often.