Go to jive party at the Rivoli with a good swing band

Jive party is the liveliest regular dance venue I know. There is always a big band and the standard is high. Often they have 11 piece bands, tickets are fifteen pounds, the bar is pub prices, it's open until around 1 am, so I think it's a good deal. But, it's not strictly ballroom, it's swing, so i maybe it shouldn't be on this list. However, if one gets there when the doors open at 8 pm, one can do quickstep and maybe a foxtrot or cha cha or even a rumba, before the floor starts to fill, and is eventually flooded by a rather undisciplined jive lesson which last for for half an hour and involves around  100 punters under the age of forty, most of whom shout conversations to each other non stop, or scream and giggle, while this lesson is happening, giving one an idea of how awful it must have been to be a teacher over the past thirty years in British schools. 

The Rivoli is rightly strict about numbers, and I have seen punters waiting outside for over an hour before they could get in, so do buy a ticket in advance from 'We got tickets'. Only about half the punters can dance jive or lindy hop, which seems odd But the bands are good and it's fun and friendly, if you can jive yourself, you can ask any one to dance with you, and many are happy to find someone who can. There's a huge dance floor, an efficient cloakroom, the place is well ventilated and the bar staff are fast and professional, as are the doormen vigilant. The trains from Victoria are clean, warm and run on time.

I will take some new photos, soon

George Tudor Hart

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