King of Swing Part I

Before I start today’s post, I have to say, I’m glad I’m not the only member of my family that enjoys Thanksgiving for its NFL games. Thanks, Apryl for not making me feel alone on this one.


Since I need a Memory Day for this week, I figured I’d jump back to high school again. This time, it would technically start with my freshman year and go all the way through until my second year of college at Utah State University. That would be from 1996-2005. Wow! That is a long time. I’m only going to go with the time from 1996-2000 though for today’s post. The rest will be a later memory day.

My fascination with swing dancing came from my brother’s friend Jarom. Jarom and his sister Serene would swing dance at all our church dances and look really cool. Well, at least to 14-year old me, they looked awesome. To me, 17-year old Jarom will always be the King of Swing. Of course, I feel like I took over his throne after he became too old to attend these dances.

So, I did my best to mimic their moves with Kim and Kirsten. During our boring summer we hung out a lot. So, Kim and Kirsten and I would try to do different swing dancing moves that I had picked up from watching Jarom and others at these dances.

Well, during my freshman year of high school, I (re-)met Tasha. She and I were in 5th grade together at Loma Vista Elementary, but she went to Cabrillo Middle School for 6th and I went to Anacapa. Anyway, during our freshman year, our mutual friend Katherine would bring Tasha to our church dances and that is where Tasha and I started swing dancing.

During our junior year we became quite famous for swing dancing. We had showed off a lot at church and school dances. It was a given that the two of us would swing dance when a Big Bad Voodoo Daddy song, or Zoot Suit Riot, or Jump Jive ‘n Wail would play. It would’ve been taboo for us not to do it.

At this time, Kirsten’s gymnastics group was doing a show and wanted to do a swing number with Kirsten being one of 5 girls doing it. Her partner was an obvious choice because of his great swing dancing ability. (Me of course. Oh, I’m not arrogant or anything.) So for a few months, Kirsten and I practiced Zoot Suit Riot to our minds discontent. The song can get on your nerves after a while. The coolest part was being able to finally do the ‘around-the-world’ move. Kirsten and I had to practice this many times in order to make sure that poor airborne Kirsten didn’t bonk her head on the ground as she flew from behind cradled in my arms, to behind my back, to being cradled in my arms again. Sixteen/seventeen-year old me felt so bad for all the misses we had. (Kir, how come your neck never broke?) After our two-performance show, we got to perform this dance a few more times. Once was at Knott’s Berry Farm. Which was cool, except Kirsten wasn’t my partner. (Thankfully it was the nicer girl between the two girls I had to choose from.) Another performance was at the Ventura County Fair the same day that the VHS marching band had performed at the county parade. So, a lot of my friends from the band came to cheer me on, especially when they announced my name in an attempt to embarrass me.

During my senior year of high school, the AP American Government class had to do a presentation on the various decades in American history. Some friends of ours had the 1940s and asked if Tasha and I would dance in their class. Of course we did that without any concern. We even got out of our normal classes that day for it. That was cool. For our senior ball, Tasha and I decided to dance like always. Problem? Our dance floor was tiny for the couple hundred seniors and dates at the ball. Well, that didn’t seem to matter. Not enough people wanted to dance as much as they wanted to watch us. At one point, my vest came unbuckled and I had to throw it off. I had no clue where it landed. Thankfully, someone kind grabbed it or I would’ve had to pay $50 for that thing.

Shortly later, there was a talent show. Well, Tasha and I desired to audition for the show, except Tasha had to work during the audition times. So, I, as a joke, auditioned for the MC. Nope, didn’t get the MC (which was fine) but the teacher in charge (the AP American Government teacher) asked me why I wasn’t dancing. I explained that I was just improving the MC stuff. She then replied by saying “No, I mean why aren’t you and Tasha swing dancing.” I told her that Tasha had to work at audition times. The teacher replied with telling me to meet her before school in a couple of days to audition. Well, Tasha and I went to her classroom. Instead of auditioning, the teacher told us “I’ve seen you guys dance before. Just come prepared for the dress rehearsal on (some date).” Well, we were stoked for that. Our talent show was going to be a two-performance thing. A few minutes before our performance, Tasha and I decided to change up our dance a little bit because of a part that was slow. Well, one of the changes was adding a cartwheel to the routine. So, during my cartwheel in the morning performance, my right shoe flipped off my foot and flew into the audience. I immediately kicked off my other shoe and continued the dance. For the evening performance I wore different shoes so not to have that happen again. Embarrassed? Nope. It was pretty funny in all honesty.

Well, after that, I didn’t get to swing dance much more…until college. But the story of “Teesha” will be saved for another day. Until then, more useless vain trivia.

The answer to yesterday’s question is “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” is the song that plays on Mary’s phone when I call her.

Which do I think would be the coolest Super Bowl match-up?
a) New England Patriots (having beat the Colts) vs. New York Giants (having beat the Saints)
b) Indianapolis Colts (having beat the Patriots) vs New Orleans Saints (having beat the Cowboys)
c) San Diego Chargers (having beat the Jets) vs San Francisco 49ers (having beat the Giants)
d) Houston Texans (having beat the Browns) vs Detroit Lions (having beat the Saints)

The answer may surprise some, but not others.


2 Responses

  1. Pending church approval (on dancing), our young marrieds group is going to have a 40s Swing Party in March. Unfortunately, Noah will not be tossing my legs around his body in candlestick formation this time around. But it should be fun to watch other people look like idiots for a change. As a result of that party being discussed at the social committee meeting I went to last night, swing dancing was in my dream.

    I vote c.

  2. O those were the good ol’ days!!! We were some pretty crazy kids, thinking about it all now I am surprised that I did not break my neck or get a concussion! I was never worried about it at the time because of course I was invincible 😉 and I also had complete confidence in you Tim 🙂

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