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A Brief (and informal) History of the Rochester Swing Dance Network
Spring 1993Swing dancers reach "critical mass" at Steve Lagergren's Monday night swing classes at Brighton Reformed Church
Fall 1993Richard Newman and Esther Brill get tired of driving to Ithaca to swing dance and envision RSDN (modeled on ISDN - Ithaca Swing Dance Network) with Becky Loftus while practicing at her house. Coincidentally, the name matches Richard's initials RSN
Oct 1993Informal record hops at Heidi Dankosh's (formerly an Ithaca swing dancer) house: dancers include George Sperry, Charlene Winger-Bearskin, and Joe Clark
Feb 1994Greg Walker & the Powerglide beginTuesday Bluesday swing nights at Milestones, to the delight of Rochester's swing dancers
Feb 1994Large RSDN record hop held at Billett Ballroom, organized by Sue Micciche: 60 people attend; hops also in March and April
Dec 1994RSDN Friday night record hop at Covenant United Methodist Church (CUMC) on Culver Road, known for its fine wood dance floor and home of CDR (Country Dancers of Rochester) Thursday night contra dancing
Feb 1995Friday night dance to live music at CUMC organized by Esther Brill & Richard Newman: 120 people dance to Rochester's own Bobby Henrie & the Goners. Monthly live dances thereafter through June, resuming in September. Other bands that first season: The HotFoot Club with Dave Davies, and Diana Leigh & Crazy Rhythm, both from Ithaca
June 1995Bill Borgida, Ithaca's renowned swing dance teacher, offers Lindy Hop class series and introduces Rochester to lindy
Aug 1995RSDN, as a sub-group for swing and cajun/zydeco dancing, umbrella-ed under CDR, Country Dancers of Rochester, along with contra dancing and English country dancing
Sept 1995Dances resume - new bands playing for RSDN: Dee Specker & Swingsation (Ithaca), Skeeter & the Three Notes, Teresa Broadwell's Thrivin on a Riff (Albany), and Peter Davis & the Throbbing Hub (Saratoga Springs). Key dance volunteers include Jenny Gaul & Sue Morgan
Oct 1995Lindy Hop dance jam organized by Jeff Sciortino with Sue Leurgans & Beth Fischer, at Pyramid Arts Center, moving to the Coop Sunken Room and then to DancEncounters
Oct 1995The RSDN boom box is purchased, using dance proceeds
Oct 1995Swing dance class series at Twelve Corners Presbyterian Church, taught by Esther Brill & Richard Newman; other swing series follow
Nov 1995Jeff Folkins designs RSDN its first spiffy dance flyer
Nov 1995Record hops at Twelve Corners Church with the help of Tim White, Jenny Gaul, Anne Lazarides, and Gordon Gilfilian
Jan 1996RSDN web site established by Rich Dempsey:
Jan 1996Cajun dance to live music at CUMC: The Rubber Band, followed by dances with Cajun Contagion, Cajun Chaos, and the New Aliens
Mar 1996First RSDN zydeco dance class series, taught by Sally Freund of Ithaca
Mar 1996Chanka Chank formed; first performance - Sister Cities Festival in June, first club date - opening for CJ Chenier in October; by 1998, they are playing about 60 shows of all kinds each year in New York state and beyond
Apr 1996City Newspaper sponsors swing dance nights at Milestones featuring Greg Walker & the Powerglide
May 1996Second annual RSDN "Swing into Spring" dance, at Stardust Ballroom
May 1996"Dance at the Lilac Fest" features swing and cajun bands with dance instruction
July 1996Swing dance bands featured at gazebo at Corn Hill Festival
Sept 1996For the RSDN 1996-97 season, new bands include Tom Knight & the Blue Moon (Ithaca) and the O'Tones (W. Mass)
Oct 1996Cajun & zydeco dance classes first offered by Esther & Richard
Nov 1996Swing and zydeco dancing added to the 13th annual CDR Thanksgiving Weekend Dance Festival at Mercy HS
April 1997Chanka Chank plays for an RSDN dance
Sept 1997For the RSDN 1997-98 season, new bands include the Jump Kings (Buffalo) and the Jivewires (Ottawa)
Feb 1998Jeff Folkins creates new web pages for CDR/RSDN:
Feb 1998Swing dance band and instruction featured at Memorial Art Gallery exhibition opening event; also again in June
Fall 1998The Gap "khakis swing" commercial to Louis Prima's "Jump Jive & Wail" brings new dancers of all ages to swing dancing
Sept 1998For the RSDN 1998-99 season, new bands include Joe Salzano & the Blue Devils (Ithaca)
Sept 1998RIT Swing Club officially organized: President Mike Thibault, VP Alex Burr; they sponsor their first workshop and dance event featuring Joe Salzano in January '99
Nov 1998RSDN brings the renowned Steven Mitchell to Rochester for a lindy hop workshop weekend; dancers attend from Albany, Syracuse, Ithaca, Buffalo & Toronto
Jan 1999RSDN monthly dances held at the elegant Cutler Ballroom at the Memorial Art Gallery through April
Summer 1999Swing dances continue through July & August at RMSC: Hot Swing in a Cool Place
Fall 1999RSDN dance locations now include Rochester Museum & Science Center Eisenhart Auditorium and Harro East Athletic Club Gym
Sept 1999First RSDN Battle of Bands at Rochester's own Savoy, the elegant Harro Ballroom, with Joe Salzano & the Blue Devils and the Jivewires from Ottawa
Jan 2000RSDN sponsors Cajun dance with world renowned Balfa Toujours
April 2000"Goddesses of Swing" battle of bands at Harro Ballroom, with Diana Leigh & Crazy Rhythm from Ithaca, and Alex Pangman & her Alleycats from Toronto
Sept 2000Thursday night Swing-In started by Kim Eastman at St Thomas Episcopal Church
Nov 2000"Goddesses of Swing" battle of bands at Harro Ballroom with Diana Leigh & Crazy Rhythm, and Rochester's own Janet Beaman & TeNaj
Nov 2000Third annual Steven Mitchell & Virginie "For Dancers Only..." weekend
April 2001Zydeco dances at Harmony House in Webster started by Bruce Handelman and get organized into the Rochester Cajun/Zydeco Junkies
Sept 2001For the RSDN 2001-2002 season, new bands include John Cole Blues Band
Nov 2001Fourth annual Steven Mitchell & Virginie weekend
Sept 2002RSDN kicks off its 9th dance season; new bands include Lesley Byers & the Jazz Cats from Chicago, and Jon Seiger & the All Stars from Rochester
Sept 2002Rochester Cajun Zydeco Junkies organized to promote the monthly Cajun/Zydeco dances held at Harmony House in Webster
Nov 2002Fifth annual Steven Mitchell & Virginie "the magic in the dance" weekend with Lindy Hop Heaven
Nov 2002Zydeco workshop weekend with Michael Seider from Louisiana
Jan 2003First Joel & Alison Plys Balboa workshop weekend
Sept 2003RSDN kicks off its 10th dance season
Nov 2003Sixth annual Steven Mitchell & Virginie workshop weekend with Lindy Hop Heaven
Jan 2004Second annual Joel & Alison Plys Balboa weekend
Feb 2004New RSDN website created by Mike Thibault with Alex Burr,

RSDN Weddings!
June 1998RSDN's 1st marriage: Colleen Fogarty & Jeff Sciortio have swing band Teresa Broadwell's Thrivin on a Riff at their wedding reception at Stardust Ballroom; they met at Bill Borgida's first lindy workshop in June, 1995, and Jeff used the organizing of the lindy jam as an excuse to get Colleen's phone number
Summer 1999 Lisa Burgio & Ken Lindsay - met in Lisa's first lindy class in March, 1998 where Ken was a ringer who arrived late, and Esther directed him over to Lisa, who was partnerless at the time (but not for long!). Bobby Henrie & the Goners played for their wedding reception at Stardust Ballroom (Ken proposed at Rock-n- Bowl in New Orleans to the music of Boozoo Chavis)

Linda Badger & Rick Becker - met at the February 1997 RSDN dance

Edie Pereira & George Hulbert - met at the November 1997 RSDN

Summer 2001 Carrie Baker & Chuck Scott met through swing dancing

Aimee LeFever & Scott Koch - Tom Knight & the Blue Moon played at their wedding, and Scott wore a zoot suit that Aimee sewed for him; their swing baby Olivia (she took Lindy 3 in utero) was born May 2002.

Summer 2002 Liz Reardon & John Walsh met in Swing 1 class July 1999

Sue Karlsen & Bob Strong met at the October 2001 swing dance at the RMSC

Summer 2003 Liz Mitchell & Jamie Cornehlsen met in Swing 2 class January 2000, moved to Colorado, and are getting married in Rochester

Jess Svatek & Art Davis - in 1998, Jess wanted to learn how to swing dance and convinced one of her U of R housemates, Art, to come out and learn how to dance with her; they started dating in Sept '99, got engaged May '02.

Jennifer Litterick & Steve Song - who met on the dance floor at the 2001 Dance Flurry

Olga Alexandrova & George Huber, who met swing dancing but "connected" at a Bill Borgida workshop that Olga brought her daughter to

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Web Design by Mike Thibault and Alex Burr
Illustrations by Hank Pajak and Mary Kay Williams
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