Swing Dancing

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Swing dancing for Teenagers

May 2005

My 14 year old son is interested in learning to Swing dance (to my great surprise!) One of my ideas is to get a small group of his friends together to form a class. Can anyone reccommend a teacher we could hire? Or is there a place around that teaches swing dancing to teenagers? I am actually hoping that maybe we could do something this summer. Thanks for any reccommdations

The beauty of swing dancing is that the classes are for all ages. I have taken classes and danced with a 15 year old and then a 70 year old. There is a wonderful couple in Oakland. They teach on Thursday nights. They also teach private/group lessons. Their website is www.balboaswing.com. Also, at Ashkenaz in Berkeley, 2 times a month they have a swing band play and they teach a lesson from 8-9:30 before. It is a really good time with all different age groups, and no age minimum. I think it is great that your child is showing interest, it is a great hobby and one can meet great people. mk

I've been out of the swing scene for a while but I'd recommned hiring Laurie Ann Lupkoff (sp?) for shared private lessons. She can do 'em out of her house or meet you in a park or something. She's super nice. You can find her in the Oakland phonebook under something like Dance Instruction for Shy People ( or was it Shy People and Klutzes?) Let the teens know that she has a medical condition that has efffected her jaw. She's about 40 years old. She's been swing dancing for YEARS, has met most of the 'ol timers, has lots of stories to tell and she follows and leads like a dream ( which means that she can teach the leaders and the followers really well).

If you want to introduce your teens to a fun place with 20 somethings learning swing- there used to be a weekly dance class led by Paul and Sharon out of a collective dancespace on Fell St SF(I think)1/2 block west of Van Ness( behind where Spurs used to be). From time to time I used to see high schoolers there. The energy is very good and the dancing is top flight. Not sure they are still doing this. Laurie Ann would know.No alcohol is served.

Another HOT place to learn swing is just to go to the Catalina Island Swing Camp ( early each summer) held by the Pasadena Swing Dance Association. You can Google it. It has world class teachers for all levels of ability.It lasts about 5 days. Maybe it'd be worth a family vacation there? No alcohol there either.

Other venues to try are the Metronome Dance Studio in SF ( serves all ages) and the Allegro Ballroom in Emeryville ( I've never danced there, but it gets good press).

Lastly, if you want a private instructor for teens who is situated in the East Bay and Laurie Ann can't do it, try Belinda Reckleff (sp?) who is also a fab teacher. She's in her 50's but also leads and follows. Laurie Ann knows her phone number.

One last idea if you want to see some great swing dancing in a form called Lindy Hop, the Bay Area Lindy Hop Assn. runs a free ''swing dancing in the park'' Sunday mornings at the bandshell between the De Young and the Planetarium. I don't know if they've moved it due to the construction, but you can look them up in the web. It's a nice, free outdoor, family-friendly scene to see some great dancing. Very inspirational.

It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing! JM