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Big Band Night @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

Published by: Yvonne Delahaye on 17th Sep 2013 | View all blogs by Yvonne Delahaye


Following the huge success of the first Big Band Night in May, Mike Smith and his Orchestra and singers returned to the Waterside last night.  I’d had a very intense and tiring day working in a conference centre as a role play actor, playing 6 different roles and dashing around with barely time to breathe.  My fellow actors were all looking forward to getting home and putting their feet up and I must confess that the temptation to chill out on the sofa and watch Corrie was very strong!  After a good meal and hot shower though I put on my dancing shoes and headed off to the theatre. 

Once again I was amazed at the transformation from theatre auditorium to ballroom and was quite contended to sit and watch the ballroom dancers and listen to the music.  I tried to image what it must have been like in the 1940s when everyone dressed up and danced to a big band, as the familiar sounds of In the Mood and Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree resounded around the theatre.  Nowadays, apart from one stylish lady who wore a long black dress, gloves and diamante jewellery, people don’t dress up and could easily have been going to a b-b-q rather than a ballroom dance.

The band played a great selection of music, allowing the dancers to take to the floor and practice their Quick Steps, Fox Trots, Tangos and Waltzes.  Mike even got the orchestra to play a Viennese Waltz, though quite a few couples gave up on that one after a spin too many!  Without any dance partners ourselves, my friend Tricia and I got up and did some solo Cha Cha Cha and Samba dances and still had fun. 

Once again the superb Matthew Ford treated us to his wonderful vocal dexterity and pelvis trusts as he sang a selection of Tom Jones, Frank Sinatra and Michael Buble songs.  High kicking to New York, New York was a must for us and Dance the Night Away was a good way to round off the evening.

I’m certainly glad I found the energy to go along on a Monday evening, but really hope that the next Big Band Night will be either on a Saturday night or even a Sunday afternoon.  I’m sure there will be lots more people who’d love to come, including some of my Ceroc friends who just can’t make it over on a week night.  They’re a great band, playing a variety of music to sing and dance to.  Even if you don’t dance, you can just sit back, relax and soak up the ambience enjoying a good old fashioned dance night out.

Reviewed by:
Yvonne Delahaye



  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 4 years ago
    Thanks, Yvonne. Now that Strictly is trouncing X-Factor in the ratings, perhaps these big-band dance nights will become more popular again? Ballroom has certainly been filling dance classes in recent years, and people might be looking for a chance to show off their new skills on the floor!
  • Mike Smith
    by Mike Smith 4 years ago
    Thanks for your very kind comments Yvonne - the band and singers absolutely love playing at the Waterside. From our Stage and Sound Crew arrival time of 1pm - to our Midnight departure - the help and support we receive from the Management/Front of house and Stage Crew is truly amazing - it's a thrill to be there. But the iceing on the cake must be playing for Ballroom Dancers - we rarely get the opportunity. BIG BAND DANCE NIGHT is not only a Fun/Social night - but also an evening for serious 'Strict Tempo' Ballroom Dancers to practice in front of a 'Live Big Band' - a first time for many - well done Waterside for giving everyone the opportunity - long may it continue. MIKE SMITH BIG BAND
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