It may currently spin most frequently on FM radio as part of an “oldies” format, but even the youngest fan of current dance can relate to at least some of what disco did for current culture.
There were places to go dancing before records even existed — and many styles of music have served as a draw for those looking to boogie in public — but today’s typical DJ-driven dance party is just the newest version of a scene that first found mainstream popularity in the 1970s.
It’s a solid bet that the average adult American has heard of Manhattan’s iconic (and long-defunct) Studio 54 nightclub, and has probably seen (at least a still photo of) actor John Travolta scorching the silver screen with his moves in the film, “Saturday Night Fever” — but the impact of disco is also found in such now-standard social practices as treating DJs as star talent, the wearing of flashy, suggestive clothing to nightclubs and the use of powerful beats (over rock and roll) for nightlife purposes; these are all hand-me-downs of the disco era. Today’s club music is mainly driven by house, EDM, hip-hop and remixes of pop — and all of those genres are disco-influenced.
However, despite its local legacy (and the fact that Long Island’s late-night crowds can veer toward 50-60 in age range at times), the ability to find a den dedicated to disco is currently rare…but not impossible — with an example being a show coming soon to Nassau County that should serve as a salve for a spell of “disco fever.”
On Friday, May 30, the “Bell Bottom Ball” will be taking place at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury (960 Brush Hollow Rd., 800-745-3000), an event for which several of the genre’s core stars are slated. The roster includes the current incarnations of such performers as Tavares (“Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel,” “More Than a Woman," "Don't Take Away the Music"), The Trammps ("Disco Inferno," "That's Where the Happy People Go"), Harold Melvin's Blue Notes ("Tell the World How I Feel About 'Cha Baby," "Wake Up Everybody," "If You Don't Know Me by Now") and Lime (“Babe We're Gonna’ Love Tonight,” You're My Magician," "Your Love"). Solo singers France Joli ("Come to Me," “Don't Stop Dancing”) and Bonnie Pointer (“Heaven Must Have Sent You”) are also scheduled, as is Disco Unlimited, a popular local cover act specializing in the genre from which they take their name. In addition, the evening’s emcee will be Deney Terrio, the host of the 1980s TV show, “Dance Fever” (and John Travolta’s Saturday Night Fever personal choreographer).
Tickets are available starting at $62.50, and are available online at thetheatreatwestbury.com. Doors open at 7 p.m.