We couldn't have dances without support from the organizations that provide us with places to dance. The two most important of these are Washington Parks & People and Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts & Culture.
Washington Parks & People is a non-profit focused on fostering community health & vitality through the effective use of public lands and waters. Founded in the early 1990s, the group was brought together as a local community initiative to restore Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park as a safe center for community fellowship.
The Josephine Butler Parks Center is a 1927 Rennaissance Revival-style mansion overlooking Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park. It is now home to roughly a dozen community-based non-profit culture and service organizations. Designed by George Oakley Totten, Jr., who designed several major embassy buildings in DC and all but one of the other mansions surrounding the park, the building previously served as the embassy of Hungary and the embassy of Brazil. After the building fell into disuse and disrepair, Washington Parks & People restored the building to its former glory and named the new community facility after Josephine Butler, a longtime community activist and leader of Washington Parks & People at the time of her death in 1997.
New Columbia Swing rents space in several of the Parks Center's 40 rooms for its Tuesday night dances.
Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts & Culture is the managing organization behind Glen Echo Park. Founded in 1891 as a National Chautauqua Assembly "to promote liberal and practical education", Glen Echo Park transformed into an amusement park in 1911. The park closed in 1968 and since 1971 the land and facilities have been owned and operated by the National Park Service. In 2002, the NPS transferred management of the park to Montgomery County, which created the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts & Culture to oversee the park's operations. Several of the park's original facilities—including a 1921 Dentzel Carousel, the Bumper Car Pavilion, the Crystal Pool facade, and the Spanish Ballroom—have been preserved and either restored and returned to use or repurposed.
The Spanish Ballroom is an 1933 Mediterranean-style Art Deco ballroom that was fully restored in 2003. It hosts social dances every week in a range of styles including blues, swing, and contra. Almost every Saturday of the year is a swing dance featuring a live band and several hundred dancers from all over the DC area. New Columbia Swing is lucky enough to be one of the organizations that contributes to this schedule of music and dancing. Keep an eye on our dance schedule and our community pages for information about upcoming dances at this gorgeous, historic venue.