At Danceland, it doesn’t matter what age you are. Everyone can boogie.
“We get people in their twenties that love to dance. There are a few people in their eighties. Once a month, we have an oldies band for the over-40 crowd. Our target market is the over-40 crowd,” says Jim Apicella, operator of the dance hall in a Latham plaza, just off the Northway Exit 7.
“This is the only place like this in the Capital Region,” says Apicella, a baby boomer who has been a ballroom dancer for more than 20 years.
Open seven days a week, Danceland offers lessons in regular and country line dancing, ballroom, Zumba, swing and Latin, along with dance parties where you can just get your groove on.
WHERE: 638 Columbia St., Latham
HOW MUCH: Cover charge varies, call or visit calendar on web site
MORE INFO: 785-3888, danceland boomers.com, [email protected]
On some Saturday nights, there’s live music. This month Big Fez and the Surfmatics played on Nov. 7, and on Nov. 14, there was an oldies dance, with music from the ’50s and ’60s.
The 40-by-60 oak dance floor was installed by Apicella himself.
“That’s competition size. It’s the biggest dance floor in the area. We have people that go to competition,” he says. “And it’s fully cushioned. You can dance on that floor for hours and your knees are not affected.”
Danceland has been around for 10 years, first in a Price Chopper Plaza on Central Avenue in Colonie and then at the Latham Circle Mall.
Five years ago, when Apicella moved into his third and current location in a former restaurant space, he remodeled and redecorated.
One wall of the dance hall is painted with a mural by Queensbury artist Olga Aleksandrova that depicts Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack on one half and country line dancers on the other half.
An American flag and a poster of John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever” hang on other walls.
In one corner, there’s a bar that serves alcohol and tables where dancers can relax and chat.
The sound system is set up with speakers only on the dance floor, so that dancers who are taking a break or sipping a cocktail can talk to each other.
“We don’t play loud, loud music,” Apicella says.
“Interest in dancing has increased,” and it’s probably because of TV shows like “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dancing with the Stars,” he says.
When Danceland holds their holiday ballroom, dancers dress up in formal gowns and suits.
“It’s a great social activity, plus it’s good exercise, it helps your memory. You have to remember the steps. It’s mental dexterity,” says Apicella.
The Hudson native came up with the idea for Danceland one Saturday night when he wanted to go out and do some ballroom dancing in the Capital Region.
“There was no place to do it,” Apicella says.
When he’s not too busy, he still likes to hit the floor with some ballroom moves or The Hustle.
“It’s a nightclub where boomer-age people can feel comfortable.”