In December 1992 in Port Townsend, a dance camp called "Wild Week" was thrown by the Living Traditions group. The camp hired Steven Mitchell who taught a jazz routine to "Flying Home", and the soon to be Savoy Swing Club members were hooked.
After "Wild Week", the future-founders got together on January 8th, 1993 at the Fremont Center for Movement Arts to retain and polish Steven's material. From there, the dancers met once a month to practice and then twice a month to hone their craft.
On April 17th, 1993 the group of dancers performed Steven Mitchell's routine to “Flying Home” for Frankie Manning at a Living Traditions dance.
Then, in May 1993, they adopted the name “Savoy Swing Club,” and began to expand on their routines. Guy Caridi started choreographing for Savoy Swing Club. Soon dance classes became available to the public, taught by Guy Caridi and his partner Nancy Fry at the Loyal Heights Community Center.
On October 2nd of 1993, the Savoy Swing Club troupe had their first “official” performance at the Everett mall.
At this stage in the group, Savoy Swing Club became dedicated to creating and promote Lindy hop dances within Seattle and so, Steven Mitchell taught the first SSC workshop in October of 1993. The 21st-23rd of that month was a workshop weekend, and the first dance featured the Fabulairs at Carpenters Hall.
The performance troupe, that is still alive today, and the club were synonymous at the time.
On January 30th, 1994, the SSC logo was created and approved.
On February 26th, 1994, the mission statement was established.
On the 26th, twenty-seven people were acknowledged as Charter Members of the club. A complete list of the Charter Members is as follows:
- Kathy Bruni*
- Guy Caridi*
- Julie (Walsh) Cauthorn*
- Robin Clark*
- Tom Clark
- Julia Derby
- Nancy Fry*
- Jan Herdman*
- Winfield Hobbs*
- Keith Hughes*
- Jim Lane*
- Joe Lesser
- Matt Liu*
- Kathy Minsch*
- Roger Mowery*
- Kelli Jayn Nichols*
- David Paris
- Richard Petters*
- Crispin Pierce*
- Paulette Pollard
- Vicki Rothwell*
- Christine (Nelson) Sampson*
- Boo Scott*
- Viola Spencer*
- Marie Sundberg*
- Kate Withey*
- MJ Zimmerman*
*designates one of the original 21.
A list of other early participants in SSC, though they were not charter members, is as follows:
- Dave Atkinson
- Richard Collins
- Alice Freidman
- Janet Klinger
- Hallie Kuperman
- MaryLee Lykes
- Peg McNair
- Randy Rinehart
- David Ruggiero
- Phillip Schnell
One year after the group of friends first started practicing together, an official club performance troupe was created. The troupe held auditions for performers and the club members were understudies. Guy Caridi was elected the artistic director on March 16, 1994, a title he carries today with the SSC performance troupe.
In April of 1994 the club became incorporated with the first board of directors elected. Roger Mowery became the first president. Dues were set at $35 per quarter year.
The criteria for membership in the club was based on an audition, and only those judged at the intermediate level were allowed to become members.
Not until September of the same year was the criteria for membership abolished and club membership become open to all.
In 1995, the dues changed to become $35 per quarter or $100 per year.
On March 15, 1995, the club membership totaled twenty-nine people, and one month later, classes moved to Mt. Baker Community Club.
That fall, the club granted Honorary Lifetime Memberships to Frankie Manning, Steven Mitchell, and Erin Stevens.
In 1996, dues dropped to $96 per year, and on April 18, 1996, membership reached eighty-three people.
The SSC Demo Group (later ECS) was established on November 9, 1996, with Krissy Biernacki as the first manager. Originally, the demo group was established as a “b” team to the SSC performance troupe’s “a” team. There were no auditions, and it was open to anyone, provided they were a member of SSC.
In 1997, under the leadership of Christine Sampson, the demo group was one of the first performance troupes in the country (during the resurgence of swing dancing and lindy hop) to learn and perform the Big Apple.
In 1998, the Gap commercial featuring swing dancing premiered, and the craze for lindy hop surged. Classes were offered by SSC three nights a week with three classes each night.
In 1998, the first SwingOut Northwest took place. Living Traditions had stopped holding their winter dance camp, and SwingOut Northwest was created to take its place. It was held successfully every other year in 2000, 2002, and 2004.
Enrollment in classes sometimes reached over 100 people, and in 1999, SSC reached peak membership with over 500 people enrolled as members.
Friday night practices became twice monthly which then morphed into Blues Underground.
The performance troupe attended the U.S. Open in Southern California, and placed 3rd in the teams competition, the only lindy team in the country to take such a high placement at that point in history.
On October 9th, 2000, the first “Swingin’ Monday at Sonny Newman’s” happened. Dan Crawford organized and ran the dance for the first five years and in 2009 the name of the dance changed to “Savoy Mondays”.
In 2001, an application for Federal 501(c)3 status was submitted for Savoy Swing Club. On December 29th, 2001, the IRS gave official approval of SSC’s 501(c)3 status.
In 2006, the camp lost a lot of money, and the club’s checking and savings accounts were drained, almost to the point of bankruptcy. Attendance at SONW had slowly been decreasing over the years, but 2006 marked the end of SwingOut Northwest, and almost of the Savoy Swing Club.
In 2007, a new generation of dancers took charge of the board, and began restoring the club to financial stability. Board members included Byron Stuart (President) and Freddie Dickinson (Vice President).
The first Killer Diller Weekend, a workshop weekend of classes, dances and competitions, came to life in 2007.
Last updated in 2009