December 24TH 2005
"Happy Holidays "
-- Rusty Frank
HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND THANK YOU
What an amazing year: So much dancing, so much fun, so much good - and all because of you.
In remembering this past year, it seems to me a blur of smiling faces and dancing feet. I looked through the scrapbooks and couldn't believe all the special events in addition to our regular classes and dances. Now I know why you all love this so much! (Take a look: http://swingshiftontap.com/scrapbookindex.asp)
Lindy By The Sea first opened its doors in August of 1998, and the Rhythm Club first began its Wednesday night run in May of 1998 (first at 705 in Hermosa Beach, and then moving to its present location in April 2001). What this all means is that 2006 will see the beginning of our ninth year of bringing swing dancing to the South Bay!
We had so many new people join us this year, and all of you "old timers" were the ones who made them feel welcome and helped them catch the "fire" of this dance.
This year we did two big fundraisers at the Rhythm Club, one for Tsunami Relief and the second for Hurricane Relief, and many of you rallied to help ailing tap dance legend Fayard Nicholas in his hour of need (http://rustyfrank.com/fayardnicholas.asp). Dancers have big hearts, and yours are amongst the biggest.
It was also another challenging year for me. You'd think that my broken neck in 2000 would be enough for one lifetime, but this year I had to have a quadruple shoulder surgery that disabled my right arm for months. All of you were so understanding; I'll never forget my first night back to the club after my surgery when half of you had your arms in sympathetic slings! And letting us get away with teaching a Featured Class with opposite leads and follows, just because I couldn't use my right arm.
I know I say it all the time, but you people really are the best. You are so kind. So big hearted. And you bring me such joy, not to mention pride.
Each week, I look out on the floor of the Rhythm Club, and my heart swells with emotion. Because of you. I watch you all, smiling, happy, dancing with one another. Seeing a kind of mixing that doesn't seem to exist in ordinary society any more -- mixing of ages and all backgrounds -- no one carrying any prejudice. Only one question is asked: "Would you like to dance?' and one answer given, "Yes, I would love to!"
When I look out at our Rhythm Club and all of you happily dancing, it doesn't look to me like individual people, it looks like one living, breathing being - a community of dancers. It's something to behold!
People often ask me how long I think this "little fad" of swing dancing will continue. I am happy to report that this "little fad" has now lasted longer than the original Swing Dance era! So, my answer has been and will always be, "As long as we want it to!" And from where I stand, it's going to last a long time. All of you, through you joy and enthusiasm keep me encourage and energized in keeping this going.
Though the Rhythm Club and Lindy By The Sea is technically my business alone, I think that all of you know it is not a one-person operation! It is important to me to publicly thank those who have helped throughout the year.
At the Lindy By The Sea school, I would first like to thank my co-teachers, the amazing Ron Campbell and Giovanni Quintero. These gentlemen are a treasure to us all. For me, they are especially wonderful, as together we continue to work on bringing our students the highest level of instruction and all in a fun atmosphere.
Secondly, I would like to thank all those who have volunteered: Jessica (who comes in every Sunday), and those who have helped set up/break down or stand in for a missing teacher: Jamie England, Liz Donaldson, Jeremy Norman, Hilja Jacknowitz, Captain Fun, and Akiko Dohi.
I definitely needed some help in the office this year, with the avalanche of emails generated from the Fayard Nicholas Campaign. May I thank Emily Reis and Liz Donaldson for coming and picking up the pieces, and to all of you who offered to do so.
The Rhythm Club is truly a team effort. Our djs keep the music swinging weekly: "Early Birds - Nathan & Crystal (The Sweethearts of Swing), and our "House DJ" - Robert Vangor (The Professor). Whenever we have a Rhythm Club special event, Maxwell DeMille always adds to the fun by his superb and witty mc-ing. Thank you, Maxwell, you're swell!. And finally, to all the volunteers who set-up, breakdown, and do "doorstop" duty: Peter Livingston, Jessica Densmore, Sharlene Choy, Steven Smith, Liz Donaldson, Jon Moody, and Mae-Lae Louie.
I would like to close by noting all the bands that have played at the Rhythm Club this past year and thank them for keeping us dancing by bringing such a high level of musicianship to our venue:
To all of you, I wish you the very best of times during this Holiday season. And hears to a wonderful year of dancing for all us together in 2006.
As I say each week at the Rhythm Club: