It’s swing time and jazz is in the air

David and Kathleen Cummings. (0705PG55)

David and Kathleen Cummings. (0705PG55)

It’s officially spring time and jazz is in the air as the City of Derry Jazz Festival looms large on the horizon, taking over venues across the district from April 28 - May 2.

While music is the big focus for the most popular Jazz celebration in the North, there will be plenty of action on the dance floor, and Derry City and Strabane District Council are offering you the chance to brush up on your skills.

They have called upon the services of Jive and Ballroom champions David and Kathleen Cummings who will pass on their expertise to local jazz fans, teaching them to Jive, Swing and Boogie Woogie like a pro.

Festivals and Events Manager with Derry City Council Karan Leonard said the classes were the perfect way to get into the swing of the event.

“We are delighted to see the return of the Jazz dance classes. They were extremely popular last year and the perfect opportunity to get involved in the Jazz programme.

“David and Kathleen are the ideal teachers with years of professional experience, and will have you up and jiving in no time with plenty of crack along the way.”

The dance classes pre-empt what will be a fantastic weekend in the city’s music calendar, which draws tens of thousands annually for a celebration of music spanning the generations. This year’s programme is headed up by the Godfather of Neo-soul Roy Ayers, with hundreds of musicians from across the world playing in over 80 venues across Derry and Strabane.

The Jazz Jive Classes will be held in two locations over the coming weeks, Derry’s Guildhall and the Alley Arts Theatre in Strabane. The classes are all about having fun in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, but will also be structured to ensure that participants pick up a range of steps and learn how to adapt to a variety of rhythms.

The sessions will take place in the Alley Theatre, Strabane, on 6th April, 13th April, 20th April (7:30pm – 9pm). The Guildhall will host classes on Tuesday 5th April, 12th April, 19th April (7:30pm – 9pm) in the Whittaker Suite.

The classes are free and 16 couples can be accommodated per class with places filling up fast. Dancers of all abilities are welcome, and no previous experience is required.

If you would like to find out more information, please see www.cityofderryjazzfestival.com