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Dance Away the Winter Blues at this Saratoga Springs Staple

Saratoga Springs has been a favorite New York destination since the early 1800’s when settlers discovered the area’s naturally carbonated mineral water springs. The city is ideal for a winter escape with activities ranging from skiing at nearby West Mountain to sipping drinks at the longest ice bar in the region at The Mill on Round Lake. If the cold is not your forte, then experience the area's unique history and culture indoors at the Slate Valley Museum, The Strand Theater, and The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery.


The Flurry Festival has been one of the top celebrations of dance and music in the region for the past three decades, and it will take place February 16-18 at the Saratoga Hilton & City Center. Attendees will encounter a showcase of international music and dance with more than 250 performers and 350 events spread across five venues. The focus on international music and dance gives patrons the chance to experience music and dance from different cultures. A variety of workshops will educate and entertain patrons on subjects ranging from American folk music to clogging. People will also be able to dance to their heart’s content at dance sessions featuring styles like Swing, Hip Hop, Latin, and more. Those looking to learn will love the instrument and dance classes that cover everything from beginner to expert techniques. All the dancing, singing, and learning will surely leave patrons in need of refreshment, and local vendors will have a variety food and beverages available for purchase. interviewed Administrative Director, Tamara Flanders, to learn about this unique celebration of dance and music.


RAL: Tell me a little bit about the event.

TF: The Flurry is a three-day celebration of traditional international music, dance, jamming, and storytelling. We offer activities, workshops, performances, and events for individuals of all ages and abilities. Dance and instrument workshops will be available from beginner level on up to expert, and there is no need to bring a partner. It's a safe family-friendly event and fun for all!


RAL: How long has the event been running?

TF: This is our 31st year.


RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?

TF: Our average attendance is about 5,000 people each year.


RAL: What makes this event unique?

TF: The international focus is a unique aspect of our event. Folks can pick up music and dance styles from all around the world. A variety of musicians come to Flurry every year just to make music together. There is always something going on whether it's a live dance performance or a sing-along.


RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?

TF: The options are practically endless! It depends on your areas of interest. You can start with gentle early morning dances or a yoga class. We also have instrumental workshops, sing-along sessions, and opportunities in the pavilion to listen to the musicians warming up for the day.  You can spend the day wandering up and down the hall and pop in on contra dancing, swing dancing, Native American dancing, and more. Hopefully, you’ll stop at our food vendors and remember to fuel up with a variety of local foods, and visit our vendors for unique dance clothes, jewelry, and more. Plan to stay up late for fun events like our late night Techno Contra! For a breakdown of all the activities, stop by our website.


RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?  

TF: Attendees can purchase food at the Hilton Hotel restaurant, a pop-up restaurant by Esperanto, or at a pop-up café at the city center. People can also sample ice cream by Ben and Jerry's, and many folks enjoy heading out to enjoy the local restaurants.


RAL: Are there any lodging specials that are set up for the event?

TF: Most hotels offer a special rate for Flurry-goers, so make sure you let the reservation desk know that you are coming for Flurry! Follow the link for more information.


RAL: What does this event mean to the community?

TF: It’s a big community event featuring a variety of local performers. We have support from local businesses, hotels, and more. We provide the chance for folks in our region to come together every year and celebrate music and movement at Flurry. The event provides a significant boost to our small town during an otherwise quiet month.


RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?

TF: The event raises funds to help finance smaller music and dance experiences in our community.


RAL: Why should people come to your event?

TF: It’s a dancing and music experience like no other! We’ve seen families use the event as a reunion of sorts for multiple generations. The dancing, singing, and listening to captivating stories are great for bringing people together. Couples can have a blast trying out new experiences in a lighthearted, non-judgemental “anything goes” kind of environment. It’s not unusual to talk to people who have grown up at Flurry, coming every year for as long as they can remember.

For more information about The Flurry Festival, please visit the event website.