New Year’s Eve at The Valencia Ballroom in York, PA, with our friends Al & Margo Smith, proved to be a wonderful event, but when sponsors stated that we would “swing in the New Year,” they weren’t kidding.
The building itself provided a perfect atmosphere. The Valencia features the same decor as it did when it opened in the early 1930s and featured big bands led by such luminaries as Jimmy Dorsey and Benny Goodman. Entering the ballroom was like walking onto a movie set and we ate dinner on the balcony overlooking the dance floor.
The dinner itself was delicious and featured roast beef and chicken with redskin mashed potatoes, green beans, salad, and a desert table featuring four different pies. A cash bar with very reasonable prices provided drinks and none of the 260 people in attendance appeared to have over-indulged.
Dinner was served exactly at 7:00 and the half-hour dance lesson began at 8:30 with the band beginning promptly at 9:00. Unforgettable Big Band, a 17-piece orchestra sounded fantastic and kept the evening moving. In fact, when the big band finished a set, a combo stepped up and provided continuous dance music.
The sprung dance floor indeed made it easy to dance all night. That was my first time on such a floor and I awoke to absolutely no leg fatigue whatsoever.
We would have rated the evening perfect, especially since the cost for the two of us was only $60.00 (yes, you read that correctly–that was the cost for a couple’s ticket) except that when our hosts, the York Social Dance Studio said that we would swing in the New Year, they meant it quite literally. YSDS is primarily a swing studio and when the band played a fox trot, everybody did a swing. Martha and I fit in two or three rumbas to fox trot tunes–while everyone else did a swing. The band played one cha-cha, one waltz, and one tango and there were people there dancing swing to the tango, that is those people who didn’t abandon the floor, which was the majority.
Great food, a romantic setting, a pleasant crowd, and a talented orchestra made for a fun-filled evening, but the lack of dance variety was a serious drawback. I love swing music, but I’ve only got so many moves; certainly not enough to spread over four hours!