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Feverish Dancing

Costa Mesa's Doubletree Hotel becomes a disco paradise on Thursday nights.

October 29, 1998|ZAN DUBIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Three things to remember about Disco Thursdays at Costa Mesa's Doubletree Hotel: It's free, it's free, it's free.

And it's heaven, if you like disco. Hustle dancers do, and they've already discovered the little-advertised new promotion, practicing the moves they've perfected in classes on one of three roomy floors in the hotel's classy Club Max.

Classy in the way only a chain hotel lounge can be: low-back, leathery swivel chairs; dark, floral-print carpet; prismoid crystal chandeliers and brassy railings.

True, you want to gag. But these days, cheesy is dope--teen talk for cool, bad, hip, hep, pick your era--isn't it? The presence of a few apparent extreme sports practitioners (sans skis or skateboards) on a recent Thursday evening indicated that.

But a blackjack table is part of the new setup too, so yet another social stratum (playing for prizes only) is turning out for Kool and the Gang. Like the hustle dancers, this clutch is 40ish, the demographic whom management aims to attract with '70s music, said O.C. deejay Priest, who was hired by the Doubletree to spin throughout the new night.

"The hotel just wanted something low-key to [draw middle-age patrons] on Thursday," Priest, who spins for a mighty Friday crowd at the Tap House in Huntington, said from his booth. "The bar was zero before."

The bar isn't too much more than zero at this early stage, but it does have bartenders in fat fake afros and all-night specials: Vodka gimlets and rum and Coke go for $3; 16-ounce Miller Genuine Draft, and Anchor Steam beers run $2. Appetizers (Buffalo wings, $5.95; fries, $2.50; onion rings, $5.75) are served until midnight, and--listen up, dancers--water is free, a rarity these days at dance clubs eager for maxi-profit.

The hotel has also upgraded the room's lighting system, which turns the main dance floor's huge mirrored disco ball brilliant shades of magenta, fuchsia, turquoise, lime and gold.

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MORE PRIEST: The deejay-of-the-cloth (who substitute teaches by day) is helping the Doubletree organize a Halloween bash in the hotel's Grand Ballroom on Saturday from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. He's calling it the Return of the Red Lion Halloween Party after previous parties at the Red Lion (acquired by Doubletree in 1996), which he said drew crowds of 2,500.

The music will include hip-hop, house and disco, and the hotel's offering a discounted room rate of $69 for the night and a costume contest with a $1,000 prize for the winner. Tickets are $15 in advance through Ticketmaster, (714) 740-2000, or $20 at the door before 11 p.m. and $25 after. (714) 540-7000.

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STEP UP: Members of the veteran Aman International Music and Dance troupe are holding a variety of ongoing, five-week dance classes at their new home in Santa Ana's Artists Village at 204 N. Broadway.

The current session's swing and salsa classes have begun; clogging and folk lessons are about to start. Beginning and advanced clogging for children and adults will be held this and the next four Fridays between 6 and 8 p.m.

Beginning international folk dancing (from Bulgaria, Greece, Japan, India and other areas) will be held this and the next four Saturdays between 12:15 and 2:30 p.m. Class fees are $60 per 5-week session. Aman boasts some of the best folk and social dancers in Southern California. This should be the real thing. Information: (714) 571-4225.

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