Message from Steve Klein, PSDC Member 007.
I have had the fortune of coming back to the Swing dance community after a long extensive break of about 7 years. I was also one of the founding board members of the Portland Swing Dance Club and the club had been going strong for nearly 2 years by the time I dropped off the scene.
When I returned to the dance scene in 2007, and the swing scene in 2008, I was pleased to see most of what we had started was still in place. Being Facilities Director that first year I remember personally securing the Norse Hall. Then when my business took off, we signed over our Sunnyside Grange 2nd Saturday Dance to the Swing Club and they are still going strong today.
All of this is a testament to the club’s strong roots. Long Before the club brought people in for workshops, long before the club thought about forming the popular Bridge Town Swing event; long before all of these, there was the Portland Swing Dance Club. That was the foundation. I can still remember the evening back in February of 1999, where Tabitha and I opened up our 2nd Saturday Sunnyside Grange downstairs for a first ever public meeting for the new forming West Coast Swing Club. The first board was very pleased to see over 100 people signed up that night and pledged their annual membership to support this worthy cause. The cause at that time was to grow West Coast Swing in our community and in the Northwest.
The man behind the dream – Mike McClure, along with Donna Mook, organized and asked us (and others) for help. In preparation we had many meetings at various houses throughout Portland area. Everyone liked Mike’s attention to detail. He was very into following parliamentary procedures during those first meetings, and whether we knew it or not, we were all learning proper etiquette.
The Swing Club TODAY
Dancing WCS today is a true gift. I am enjoying attending the PSDC dances, learning the new techniques and enjoying the new music. Both the dance and the music are multifaceted which makes it very interesting. I’m also seeing some familiar faces, some new faces, and meeting many new people. It is a great time to be in the swing world.
The club itself is great but they could use all of our help during this time of economic uncertainty. In a community where there are many WCS dancers I don’t see the numbers up in our membership.
Remember the reason the club formed in the first place was to help the growth of WCS dancing in Portland and in the Northwest. We can’t do this without the people and the funds to back them up. Please support the club by encouraging your dancing friends to join the club. They could use your help during this time.
The Club has also incurred some debt from the last Bridge Town Swing event due to unforeseen expenses. These expenses will be renegotiated and reduced next year. I’m sure we all want to see this great event of Bridge Town continue for years to come, but its up to all of us to help during the times we go in the red as well as the times we are in a good financial position.
The 10 Year Anniversary Challenge
As a start of our 10 year anniversary, I would like to pledge that each and every one of our existing club members (yes, that means you) invite 1 new person who does not normally dance West Coast Swing to a PSDC Social Dance Night. And it’s FREE!
You have at least 1 FREE guest pass per year, and 3 FREE guest passes if you signed up for 2 year membership. I have already done this and encourage you to do the same.
The second founder’s challenge is to talk to an existing West Coast Swing dancers who is not a member of the club and encourage them to join. Explain the club benefits, and the benefits of Bridge Town Swing event which the club formed and supports. If you don’t know all the benefits, ask them to speak to one of the board members. The board members are usually at one of the social dances and can answer any questions they might have.
Lastly I want to say thank you to all those who have welcomed me back into the dance community. I know this goes without saying, but you all are a great people and are living life and having fun in the process. Let’s keep on dancing!
Fun Historical Facts:
Our first board of directors formed in 1999 consisted of:
- Mike McClure, President
- Manny Gonzales, Vice President
- Donna Mook, Secretary
- Monica Gruher, Treasurer
- Cindy Clark, Marketing and Promotions
- Steve Klein, Facilities
- Debie Rowe, Dances and Events
- Rhonda Shotts, Newsletter
- Shana Weeks, Decorations and Refreshments
- Velma Zonich, Membership
Here are some firsts:
- Feb 19, 1999. First PSDC dance at Abernathy Grange, Oregon City.
- First newsletter was 5 pages, containing announcements, the president’s press, calendar of events, member birthdays, lesson information, editor’s corner, etc.
- May 23, 1999. First Norse Hall dance with guest instructors Jim Minty and Nancy Goldberg (now Heaverlo) from Seattle.
- The first PSDC workshop weekend was with Kyle Redd and Sarah Vann Drake from October 23rd to 24th.
Other related links:
Seven Great Years of PSDC