The Heritage of St. Louis Imperial Swing Dancing

There are a whole of eight swing dance clubs positioned in and about the St. Louis area (which include M.U.S.I.C. in Collinsville, Illinois) that are customers of the Midwest Swing Dance Federation, and all of these clubs are descended from the St. Louis Imperial Dance Club that was founded in 1973. The premier of these sister golf equipment, the West County Swing Dance Club, has the distinction of remaining one of the greatest swing clubs in the United States with an energetic membership that totals a lot more than a thousand dancers.

Imperial Swing received its name from the Club Imperial situated at Goodfellow Boulevard and West Florissant Avenue. The creating, at first termed Imperial Corridor, was constructed in 1928 as a dance corridor, bowling alley and cafe/bar intricate. In the 1930s and 1940s, it was the dance spot of Northwest St. Louis, just as Arcadia (afterwards known as Tune City), the Admiral Showboat in Midtown, and the Casa Loma on the Southside, had been the most popular dance halls in their respective areas. In 1952, George Edick Enterprises ordered Imperial Hall and George Edick renamed it the Club Imperial. Throughout the early element of that ten years, he operated the club as a ballroom with the concept of “a wonderful place for nice men and women.” He performed “big band” music and catered largely to personal get-togethers. He was equipped to frequently book guest appearances with popular performers like Stan Kenton and Louis Prima simply because Robert Hyland, of CBS and KMOX radio, broadcast his weekly “Coast To Coast with Bob Hyland” system from the Imperial Ballroom.

All through the late 1950s and early 1960s, Edick realized that the country’s flavor in tunes had shifted to “Rock ‘n Roll” and he utilized his promotion-community relations organization, to aggressively promote the Club Imperial on KWK, KXOK, WIL and WGNU. The Joe Bozzi Quintet, Jimmie (Evening Educate) Forrest, Chuck Berry, Dolly Parton, the Monkeys, Glen Campbell, Ike and Tina Turner and a compact vocal group now referred to as the “Fifth Dimension” are between the many artists who began their careers at his club. He promoted a “Jitterbug” contest exactly where a couple from the Club Imperial (Teddy Cole and Kathy Burke) received the Nationwide Jitterbug Championship. Throughout the “Rock ‘n Roll” craze, Edick held Tuesday “Teen Night time” dances, and it was for the duration of these weekly dances that a jitterbug variation that grew to become recognised as the “Imperial Fashion” of St. Louis swing was born. As the 60s progressed, new music developments had been changing all over again. The ‘roll’ commenced dropping out of “Rock ‘n Roll,” the ‘rock’ obtained more difficult, and the adolescents progressively attended loud, psychedelic music live shows. Because the freak-out beats of their acid rock tunes was practically difficult to dance to, Edick step by step discontinued all community dances at his club.

In the 1970s, George Edick needed to reintroduce more listenable and danceable audio at Club Imperial and he found that web hosting swing contests was just the ticket! He acquired jointly with Teddy Cole, the Jitterbug winner who was also a dance promoter in his have suitable, and they resolved to sponsor a yearly St. Louis Jitterbug Contest “Imperial Design and style” to choose a “City Winner.” These extensively publicized contests prompted lots of of the more mature, knowledgeable dancers to occur all around the club once again, and Edick sponsored a amount of “Salute Dances” to introduce these old timers to the newer dancers. As far more and much more people began mastering the Imperial, they began organizing into compact dance groups that fulfilled in apartment complexes all over the St. Louis region, and George Edick stored in contact with a lot of of their leaders.

In 1973 Al Morris conceived the strategy of forming a club, and it was his group that initially fulfilled at the San Miguel flats in St. Charles which turned the St. Louis Imperial Dance Club. The founders are: Dave Cheshire, Jan Cheshire, Rick McQueen, Joan Fritz, Debbie Dustman (Wheelis) and Veronica Lynch. The new club alternated their dances amongst Lynch’s condominium sophisticated in South County and the Wood Hollow apartments in West County. Edick contacted the Board and he advised them that he was very intrigued in assisting their club to satisfy their mission to keep swing dancing alive. The wonderful promoter convinced them, with a persuasive new adaptation of his primary 1950s concept, that their expanding club really should hold their foreseeable future dances at his Club Imperial ballroom mainly because it’s “a awesome put for good people who like to swing dance!”

Great mottos by no means die but regrettably folks do, and on June 11, 2002 George Edick passed away. The making is silent now but it stands, not only as a landmark where Imperial Swing all started, but also as a tribute to a male who, more than his colourful, eighty-six-yr lifetime, was equipped to convert his dreams into fact . . . not a poor epitaph!