By Samantha Allan
Youngstown is full of great bars and hangouts that offer a relaxed place to visit on any given night. Many of these bars also offer an eclectic variety of music to enjoy. Cedar’s West End is no different.
Cedar’s has been a core part of the Youngstown atmosphere for quite some time. Bands and acts from all around the area visit here and offer a selection of music you simply cannot find anywhere else.
While the selection of live music is a great part of the environment, there is one aspect of Cedar’s West End that makes it really unique. Every Thursday night, Cedar’s offers a night of swing dancing. For a $2 entry fee, you can get a short lesson on East Coast Swing at 8:45 p.m. each week.
No matter what your experience level, the whole group openly welcomes anyone who wishes to come inside. You can bring a friend or easily partner up with any of the great regulars. The lessons are broken down in such a way that anyone can learn a few basic steps and spins.
While I came across this gem through mutual friends at Youngstown State University, the dancers include a great variety of ages and skill levels. For the more seasoned swingers, Lindy Hop or Charleston is also available to anyone who stops by at 8 p.m.
The beginning of the month marks the new cycle of the more advanced steps and progresses further each week. The instructors are super friendly, and the atmosphere of the lessons are relaxed and fun. The steps are broken down and explained in a way that is easy to pick up. Small mistakes are also not focused on too much; they simply offer suggestions to improve as you learn.
The fun really starts after the lessons, when a disc jockey or band comes in and plays a selection of light and fun swing music. All of the regulars are always happy to dance with you, regardless of your level. They are quick to give advice and small talk as you step through the music.
As mentioned before, the atmosphere is really what makes Cedar’s Swing Night a great place to head to on a Thursday night. Entering the doorway is almost like walking into a time capsule of upbeat music and friendly new faces.
Most of the dancers are dressed up in clothes that reflect the era of swing and give the night even more personality. Dresses will be twirling as dancers spin out and step their way through the music.
If you are looking to learn something new, Cedar’s Swing Night is a great spot to visit. You can dress up, meet a lot of great people and enjoy a few drinks as you pick up a hobby like no other.