The resurgence of swing dancing began in California, with Steven Mitchell and
Erin Stevens seeking out Frankie Manning from retirement to teach them.
Soon, swing dancing, especially the lindy hop, spread like wildfire across
Lindy hop and swing were introduced to Austin by dance instructors who
thought that the dances would be fun to teach. Previously, there had been
only country and western dance lessons. The first swing lessons took place
at the Split Rail.
In the beginning, besides these lessons, people got moves from watching movies
with dancing in them, making up new moves and sharing them, and taking private
lessons from ballroom studios. The early underground swing scene was promoted
solely by word of mouth, and the teachers and lessons were a central hub of
information for swing dancers.
In late 1992, the first one of the neo-swing bands from California played the
Contintental Club on a Monday and Tuesday night, in front of 25-30 curious,
This was Royal Crown Revue, and it was clear that there was more to partner
dance music than country-western and rockabilly.
||Olivier Giraud forms 8½ Souvenirs his tribute to
Django Reinhardt and gypsy swing music.
||8 ˝ Souvenirs begins playing every Wednesday night at the Continental
Club during Happy Hour. This is the first regular swing show in Austin
and it becomes the start of a two-and-a-half year run. Austin swing
dancing begins in earnest at this point.
||Electrolux breaks up and the Merchants of Venus forms from the remaining
members. Later in the year, the The Lucky Strikes begin their move from
Tony Bennet lounge knock-off to swing band
||Rocket 69 forms and begins their jump blues run with an every Tuesday
night gig at the Carousel Lounge.
||Big Town Swingtet forms. Swing dancers begin showing up at Nash Hernandez
shows at Don's Depot to wait patiently for the two or three swing songs
played every night.
||The Merchants of Venus begin to play every Friday Happy Hour at
the Split Rail Saloon.
||Paul Sessums becomes sole owner of the Split Rail. He finally agreed
to turn Thursday nights into Swing Night, and allows Matt Jones to start
teaching swing dancing lessons before the show. Matt switched from teaching
country-western and cajun dancing to swing, after a trip to Europe sparked
his interest in swing. Darby O'Shieles, who was teaching with him, stayed
with Matt after the change. The Merchants of Venus and Big Town Swingtet
agree to play on Thursday nights. This is the first regular night-time
swing gig in Austin, and the first nightclub swing classes.
||The Ritz upstairs lounge opens and begins to occasionally book swing bands.
||The Split Rail adds a Monday night Swing night. The Merchants and Big
Town switch over to play on Mondays. The Seth Walker band moves in to
play jump blues on Thursdays.
||Laura Malloy joins Darby O’Sheiles and Matt Jones to teach lessons.
||Paul Sessums closes the Split Rail. This was a big blow to the budding
swing scene. Classes and swing nights moved to the Black Cat Lounge
another Sessums' venue. The Speakeasy opens and begins to book swing
act, and the Caucus Club opens.
||Matt Jones, Darby ‘O Sheiles and Laura Malloy officially form Four
on the Floor. They start a two month run at the Continental Club on
Thursday nights, teaching swing dancing and hiring a swing band to play
afterwards. This ends in March of 1997.
||Four on the Floor begins teaching Lindy Hop every Monday night at the
Black Cat Lounge.
||8½ Souvenirs discontinues its regular Wednesday Happy Hour
gigs. Indigo Swing plays Austin for the first time at the Continental
Club on the Monday and Tuesday before SXSW weekend.
||Four on the Floor starts the Wednesday night swing classes at the
Carousel Lounge. The B Side of the Bitter End opened and started to book
swing bands. Frankie Manning comes to Houston to teach his first Lindy Hop
workshop in Texas. Several Austinites make the trip and are immediately
won over to lindy hop.
||Four on the Floor moves Lindy Hop classes to Tuesday nights at the
Skylight Gallery on East 5th St. The Rhythm Hot Shots from
Sweden comes to Austin Texas for the city's very first Lindy Hop workshop.
||Rocket 69 discontinues their regular Tuesday night gig at the Carousel
Lounge. Seth Walker begins playing swing every Wednesday night at the
B-Side. Execudance begins teaching swing dancing on Tuesday nights at
||The Caucus Club begins to book swing bands, and becomes a major player
in the Austin Swing scene. Big Town Swingtet breaks up and the Jivebombers
form a band with some of its old members.
||Four on the Floor began to teach swing dance lessons on Monday
nights at the Caucus Club.
||Four on the Floor presents the first annual Texas Swing Riot. The
Day Jobs form this year.
||The Day Jobs begin playing at the Caucus Club on Monday nights after
Four on the Floor swing classes.
||The Caucus Club puts down a new dance floor. Four on the Floor moves
its Lindy Hop classes to the Caucus Club.
||The B-Side drops live music.
||Dessau Hall begins to book Thursday night swing shows. Jive After Five
provides lessons. The U.T.Swingtips, Austin's first swing performance
group forms. Paul Sessums, one of Austin's original swing patrons, is
killed in a car wreck.
||Austin borrows San Francisco's "Lindy in the Park", setting up
their own version in Little Stacey Park on Sundays. 10 people show up on
the first day.
||Four on the Floor moves its Lindy Hop classes from Caucus to the Texas
Federation of Women's Clubs due to overwhelming numbers.
||Four on the Floor presents the second annual Texas Swing Riot, a roaring
||The Merchants of Venus break up, and much to the chagrin of underage
dancers, Dessau Hall discontinues its swing nights on Thursdays until
further notice. Due to Dessau Hall abandoning Swing nights, Austin dancers
decide to take matters into their own hands. "Lindy in the Dark" is
organized. Dancers gathered to socialize and dance from 8:00pm to 10:00pm
every Sunday night at Waterloo Park Gazebo. This happened every week
until the summer temperatures got unbearable.
||A group of Austin dancers got together to form the Austin Swing
||The Caucus Club decided due to the lagging attendance at the Day Jobs
Monday night gigs, they are going to turn the club into a techno bar.
Dancers pleaded their case, and the owner decided to keep at least two
swing nights a week.
Four on the floor discontinues Wednesday night lessons at Carousel
due to waning class size, but adds Salsa (Tuesdays) and hip-hop (Sundays)
to their repertoire of dances taught.
|November 19, 1999
||The Day Jobs played their last Monday show at Caucus.
||The Day Jobs begin playing biweekly shows at the Fed on Wednesdays.
||Lindy in the Park moves to Wooldridge Park.
||Four on the Floor hosts the third Texas Swing
Riot, featuring Chris Yee and Julee Mertz.
||The Austin Swing Syndicate celebrates its first
anniversary with the first in-state Lindy Exchange.
|Swing is still alive in Austin... just look
here and see!