Swing Discussion Boards > "Original" music West Coast Swing was danced to

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Steve Pastor, Jul 13, 2006.

  1. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I'm currently putting together all the documentation that there were dancers in the LA area who did "jitterbug" when they went to dances where Bob Wills and others played, and I mention Marilyn Tuttle, as I did earlier in the thread. I had only a few notes on her, and, since she was someone who was there, and I had a chance to talk to her, I was happy to find this much more detailed biography.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=_...epage&q=marilyn tuttle shirley temple&f=false

    Since it's a google book preview, no telling how long it will be around.
  2. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I just found more information on Dick D'Agostin who was in "Hot Hot Gang" dancing a slotted swing that has to be Western Swing / West Coast Swing.
    I'd seen in a book about Gene Vincent that he was a "champion" dancer.
    In 1955 "Dick D'Agostin and Judi Stein of Burbank" split $1,000 in prize money when they were the Al Jarvis dance champions. (Judi is facing away from the camera in the accompanying picture) In the article the terms "Rock 'n' Roll," "rhythm and blue" (sic), and "jazz" are all used. Every day 25 teen-age couples would compete at the ABC TV Center. There was then a monthly competition with tvs, radios and record players as prizes, and finally an annual run off with prizes totaling $2,000 going to the four best couples.
    There were five thousand teens and pre-teens waiting to dance on the show in early 1956.
    The article states that this format made Jarvis one of the top television personalities in America.
    Guys are wearing coat and tie, and the gals are in sleeveless dresses with low heeled shoes (maybe ballet flats or Dolly shoes?).
  3. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Hi Steve,, You just reminded me that, I and a partner, did dance on a TV show where they picked a winner. it could have been Al (?) in the very late 50s. We did a quickstep ( we didn't win ) .

    As to "shoes ".. dance shoes as we now know them , were not in evidence at that time . I started the first imports from the UK in late 1960, and sold mainly to dance studios, from L.A. to Portland.
    Ladies shoes were $ 9, Mens $ 11..

    Trying to teach, and sell shoes , became too time consuming, so I gave up my arrangement with Supadance , to an ex dancer in L.A who took the business nationally, ( he had a large store in LA )... he then franchised... and, as they say, the rest is history..
  4. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Wonder if you ever ran across Pat Harden in Portland, who put the date April 1953 on her "revised" step sheets which had "West Coast Swing" in the text. That was a while ago!

    One other noteworthy thing in the article on the dance contests, it states that Jarvis was "openly presenting teen-agers of all races and creeds on his TV show, Jarvis add religious-racial understanding." LA was very segregated in those days, but this puts Jarvis years ahead of American Bandstand when it comes to broadcasting and integration.

    One article on these contests refers to Hi Jinx, but mostly the shows went by the name "Make Believe Ballroom." Skippy Blair and others were on the show, (but not as a teenager!) so you may well have been on there!
  5. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    For some reason, the name Pat Harden seems very familiar .I do remember putting on a dance demo with my now ex. and I'm not sure who attended .I do recall Nana Saminego was there ( a former national DD ) .

    And, you may be correct about the show title, which I now do well remember .By the way, I used a dancer who was not a studio person ( it did not go over very well !! )
    The studio had taken over an ex movie theatre, and it had a slightly sloping floor
  6. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    "The national polio fund was swelled $425.51 after a performance by Margaret and Franklin Richardson...dance team which specializes in western swing."

    "They have been featured with Spade Cooley at the Santa Monica Ballroom...worked with Jimmy Wakely and Smiley Burnett, Ernest Tubb and the Texas Troubadours on the Gran Ole Opry...toured with Horace Heidt and were jitterbug champions of California in 1946"

    We know that western swing was a dance taught in 1953 at Murray studios along the West Coast including Portland for sure, and points east. There was a Murray studio in Fresno - run by Lauré Haile - by 1947) Undated - unrevised step sheets indicate that a dance (with "no need for strong, muscular leads") was known by that name earlier than 1953.
    This item appeared in 1949, setting western swing as a dance even earlier and definitely connecting it to Western Swing music.
  7. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    And here is a 1953 Arthur Murray Ballroom dance book where he writes that swing is a name of popular steps danced to "progressive jazz." Then he adds that "On the Pacific Coast, Western Swing and Balboa are popular." Now I have to find out what was considered to be progressive jazz in 1953. Any ideas?
  8. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    For latin, George Shearing would qualify, and some "Big" bands, like Basie ,were used for ECS and Q Step .Balboa, as I recall, was more of a "bluesy " style, however, I did choreo a Balboa formation, in Houston, for the AM teachers, to Green Onions ( 1962 ) .
  9. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Cornutt posted this back in 2006.
    Yesterday I stumbled across an ad for Arthur Murray Studios in the Notre Dame "Scholastic." The year was 1954 and among the dances they offered were Jitterbug and Western Swing.
    cornutt likes this.

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