From swing dancing to vaudeville and burlesque, there’s plenty to entertain at this year’s Gangsters’ Ball – so says organiser, Graham Coupland.
The Velvet Set
Despite growing up in what he describes as “a very conservative household devoid of fashion sense and culture of any kind” Gangsters’ Ball promoter Graham Coupland discovered a love for all things vintage and burlesque after stumbling upon swing music some six years ago.
“I was always intrigued by the hero status adorned on Gangsters and Mobsters, along with the artistry and daring of the sideshow vaudevillians, circus performers and illusionists of the era,” says Coupland. “So once I fell in love with swing music and the vintage fashion era, it was only a matter of time before I became entrenched in the traditional entertainment genres of the period.”
Before too long Coupland had joined a swing band, The Velvet Set and started performing in Sydney. In an effort to make their shows more “interesting” and “traditional” Coupland started adding Burlesque and Cabaret dancers to the bill.
According to Coupland, the nights proved very popular “so it was a natural progression to try something bigger and bolder,” hence the Gangsters’ Ball was born.
Five years on Gangsters’ Ball is still going strong and Coupland has evolved his formula for success along the way. “Each year the show has been refined and expanded in an attempt to faithfully recreate a 1930’s ‘Speakeasy’. Initially the focus was purely on swing dancing and burlesque however over the past five years I’ve introduced cabaret, vaudeville, aerial, magic and illusion acts and for the first time in 2012 the Gangsters’ Ball will feature a Hypnotist.”
For this year’s Gangsters’ Ball Coupland says the punters can expect “four hours of non stop entertainment”.
“In addition to the fabulous Big Band and stage-based performances there will be Swing/Rock ‘n’ Roll DJs, The Gambling Den with Poker, Roulette and Black Jack tables, Swing and Rock ‘n’ Roll dancing contests, Pin-up models, merchandise stalls, a cocktail bar, vintage styling parlour, photo booth and fantastic prizes for the best dancers and lucky door!”
If you come along to the Gangsters’ Ball he hopes you’ll leave with “sore feet from all the dancing” and a greater appreciation for the music, entertainment and culture of the 1920s–40s. “Those decades were tough times and people of the day turned to entertainment like this as a way to wash away their cares, if only for a night.”
One lucky attendee will even walk away with a prize of a trip for two to see the Gangsters’ Ball in Las Vegas!
So what are you waiting for? Head to the Gangsters’ Ball for a night of 1920s – 40s inspired mayhem, music and madness!
Tix on sale now. More info gangstersball.com.au