Dancing Til Dusk is bringing the dance floor and all kinds of dance lessons to Freeway, Westlake, Occidental, and Hing Hay parks every week through August.
One of the folks behind Dancing Til Dusk is coordinator and dance instructor Lilli Ann Carey. She’s been working with the program since 2007, when the Freeway Park Association, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and former mayor Greg Nickels launched it to spice up urban parks.
“It’s really being involved in a social community — that means a safe space, an opportunity to learn, to use your body and and try something that most people are quite intimidated by,” Lilli Ann told us. “The space that’s created is quite magical.”
We caught up with Lilli Ann to learn what she loves most about dancing in Seattle.
How did you first fall in love with dance?
When I was a teenager, I always liked basic shake-your-tush dancing, but … it wasn’t until I was in my 40s that I went to a party and I danced with somebody who knew how to swing dance. And I was like, ‘I want to learn how to do that.’
Seattle has a pretty active dance community. What do you love most about it?
When people start to learn to dance, we seem to think of it as “I’m going to learn how to do a waltz for my wedding and that’s it.” But when somebody learns to waltz or swing, they start going to dances, then they meet a few people, and then one day they walk onto the dance floor and they know 50 people.
Dancing in public can feel kinda…awkward. What advice would you give to someone nervous about learning to dance for the first time?
Show up. Once you get there, the entire space is set up to make someone who’s brand new [feel] welcome. You can see there’s a lot of people who’ve never danced before, so you realize suddenly that you’re not alone. There’s a whole lot of people around who you who are in the same shoes as you are.
What are your favorite dance floors in Seattle?
What’s your favorite park to dance in?
I like them all! Westlake Park for the wide, expansive open spaces. Freeway Park for the intimate setting, fountains, garden, and beautiful atmosphere. Occidental Park because of the beautiful vine-covered bricks. [I’m excited about] Hing Hay Park because it’ll bring people there who’ve never been.
Planning to put on your dancing shoes? Dancing Til Dusk kicks off next Tuesday, July 10, with “swinging jazz” at Hing Hay Park in Chinatown-International District. If you go, be sure to tag #theevergrey in your pics and videos.
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TOMORROW ~ FOURTH OF JULY
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🎈 Check out critters and a sensory garden with Seattleites with special needs (Phinney Ridge)
🎟 See Japanese dance at the Seattle International Butoh Festival — through July 15 (All over)
🍿 Watch Princess Bride at a rooftop bar (Downtown)
⚾ Root for the Mariners with your favorite ladies (SoDo)
🍿 See Czech romantic comedy, crime thrillers, and sci-fi films (Queen Anne)
🍻 Drink up at the Seattle International Beerfest — through July 8 (Queen Anne)
🍸 Sip on locally distilled spirits (Fremont)
🎈 Say arrrrrr to the Seafair pirates (West Seattle)
🎨 Celebrate Frida Kahlo’s life and art (Beacon Hill)
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🎟 Belly laugh at Steve Martin and Martin Short (Downtown)
🎨 Help paint a community mural (Central District)
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🍴 Get your nom on at a rodeo of local food trucks (South Lake Union)
🎈 Taste sake and learn to draw manga characters at Japan Fair (Bellevue)
Going to one of these? Take us with you! Email a pic to [email protected] or tag #theevergrey on Instagram. See more upcoming events on our events page, and add your own events with an Evergrey membership.
Still looking for a spot to watch them? Seattle’s Seafair 4th of July show is always a hit, but if you want to switch it up, you’ve got plenty of options. There are 27 public fireworks shows scheduled for King County tomorrow — from the center of Angle Lake all the way to quartermaster harbor on Vashon Island.
They say summer in Seattle starts July 5, and that’s when we’ll see you next.
Have a great holiday, all. — The Evergrey