It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing

The following was submitted by Becky Robison, a writer from Chicago and friend of Cheap Dish Pizza. If you would like to contribute to Cheap Dish Pizza, drop us a line or tweet us!

Do you frequently get the urge to throw on your dancing shoes? Do you have an affinity for 1930’s and 40’s jazz? Lucky for you, Chicago has a vibrant swing dancing scene. Even luckier for you, the aforementioned swing dancing scene is relatively inexpensive. 

Don’t know how to swing dance? That’s not a problem. Skip the pricey lessons at the dance studios and come out to Lucky’s Savoy Stomp instead. The Savoy Stomp takes place the first Saturday of every month on the second floor of Lucky Number Grill. It’s $5 at the door, but that small fee gets you a beginner lesson from 9-10 p.m., and open dancing from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. (This June the cover is $10, but that’s because they’re hosting a live band! Trust me–it’ll be worth it.) If that’s not enough, the drinks are cheap, too. Savoy Stomp is a great place to start your Chicago swing experience.

As your dancing confidence grows, try coming out to CodeBLUE. This event takes place once a month at Outerspace in Wicker Park. Make your way up the narrow staircase to the studio space above and you’ll find loads of enthusiastic people ready to dance the night away. The suggested donation is $7, or $5 for students, but for $3 more you can take a lesson at 8:15 p.m. The types of lessons switch from month to month, so you always have the opportunity to learn something new. The regular dance takes place from 9 p.m.-1 a.m., and it’s BYOB.


Feel like an expert yet? Even if you don’t, there are STILL MORE cheap Chicago swing events where you can practice. Every Monday night there’s swing dancing in the loft at Fizz Bar & Grill from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. (Typically the dance doesn’t really start hopping until 10 p.m., though.) The price is a mere $7 at the door, and it’s almost always PACKED with dancers. For something a little different, head out to Bluetopia the last Friday of every month and try your hand at blues dancing. It’s a little slower, a little sexier, and a whole lot of fun! It’s $8, but that gets you a free blues lesson from 8-9 p.m., and open dancing from 9 p.m. until 2 a.m. If you’re thirsty, Bluetopia is another BYOB event.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a partner. There are beginners at all of these dances, and even the most experienced dancers are friendly and willing to help you learn. Get out there on the dance floor, and before you know it you’ll be lindy hopping and shim-shamming with the best of them.

Becky Robison has too many hobbies. Mostly she writes flash fiction about people she sees on the CTA in her blog, Pretending to Know You.


One thought on “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing

  1. There are a few more weekly and monthly events worth noting in addition to these four:

    Tuesdays Swing! @ Black Rock ($5/DJ or $10/live music)
    Thursdays @ The Green Mill ($6 – live music from a swing band, though the dance floor is a bit smaller than some are accustomed to using. there are almost always swing dancers here)
    First Fridays @ Big City Swing ($10/DJ)
    Java Jive @ University of Chicago (free)

    For those with musical tastes that go a little further afield:
    Big C Jamboree @ Martyrs’ ($1/live music)

    For even more dancing possibilities, there’s a comprehensive list at the “This Week In Chicago” dance calendar at:


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