The Boston Swing Dance Network Says Good-bye

After more than 26 years, the BSDN dances ended on November 9, 2013. Who knew back in 1987 that the dances would continue for so long? When a bunch of us started this dance, there were no other monthly swing dances featuring live music. That was just for special occasions. All the other dances played tapes. You know, the stuff before CDs, iPods and digital music. But hiring bands is expensive and you need to have a lot of community support to succeed. And we sure had it for a long time! So, thank you for that. This has been a labor of love; and I have loved doing it. It’s been a great way to meet people and make new friends. And I got to listen and dance to some of my favorite bands.

One of the things that kept me going were the dancers’ comments. I’m a sucker for a compliment, so when someone would say mine was their favorite dance, it certainly spurred me on to continue. And I want to thank all of you who supported the dance these many years. But, alas, that number has dwindled below where it can support the dance any longer. You all heard about the new hall raising my rent in the middle of the first season we moved there? Well, that was one of several obstacles that got in the way. And it’s very difficult finding a “perfect” hall with all the attributes you need. But, there were lots of good times, fun extravaganzas, cake, and ice cream. And I can’t count how many people met their special someone at my dance, or started dancing there. It’s been very rewarding and I will miss it. It has been suggested that I run one or two “mega” dances a year. But, we’ll see how things go after November.

Our next dance will be on Sept. 14 and will feature one of our favorites, Doc Scanlon. November 9 will be our big, blow-out, farewell dance with Eight to the Bar AND The Love Dogs switching off sets and combining for the last set. We did this once before and it was incredible. You can check out the video clips on Youtube.

I hope you all come by September 14 and November 9 to say good-bye. I’ll look forward to seeing you.


30 comments on “The Boston Swing Dance Network Says Good-bye
  1. Ben Fox says:

    Thank you, Roger, for many, MANY fun evenings!

  2. Leanne says:

    Roger, thanks for all the great times! The IC was always one of my favorite things — great people, great music, great dancing, and an all-around great vibe. It’s been several years since I’ve lived in the Boston area and more years than that since I’ve been able to dance regularly, but I will miss this dance! You gave us a great gift. Enjoy your well-deserved “retirement.”

  3. Kenneth Rawlinson DDS says:

    Thank You for providing the best dances EVER…anywhere. I will miss it. I cant wait for the Sept dance. I wish I could go to the Nov 9 dance but I will be in Vegas. Never before have I been sad about being in VEGAS!!!!!

  4. Wow! This is a shocker to me!! Roger, you have always been such a gracious to me and The Continental Walk. I’ve enjoyed the years we’ve played . Still remember your favorite of our Love Rollercoaster. I remember meeting The Micah Girls!! All the smartly dressed dancers. And you always apologizing for the amount of money you paid us, saying I’m so sorry it was not more! Mostly thought your kindness toward to me. There was something special in your greetings and I could feel it in your handshake. Thank you so much for not only being an awesome host, but also a good friend.

    Sweet Willie D

  5. paul says:

    Roger, you’ve provided so many hours of fun and lasting memories for those of us who are in our senior years and are no longer unable to attend.

    The best to you always.


  6. Julie Nelson says:

    I’m one of the folks who have always said that “Roger’s dance” (aka “the Watertown dance,” “the Armenian center dance”–rarely the official “BSN dance”) is my favorite. I’ll miss it!

  7. Roger and I go way back. I know him as an opinionated, bull-headed, one-minded brusk human being; lucky for Swing Music and the Boston dance scene, these are the qualities that made a greatly successful community event flourish for over 25 years, despite the ups and downs of trends, audiences and the economy. And deep in that sometimes controversial character beats the soft heart of a guy who genuinely loves music, dance and the people who have passed by to join him in those loves. Thanks for all the gigs, the donuts and the opportunity to play our music in a great city. And the best of luck in the next chapter you write; but no worries, some people make their own luck.

  8. Bob Thomas says:

    Holy crap, Roger, the last last dance!!???? And I can’t come. And I’m very sorry about that, it’s been a long time since I was at a swing dance with you (it takes more planning than I’m capable of to drop by for an evening, what with everything… and living in Germany and all). Anyway, thanks so much for carrying the torch for so long — I’ve enjoyed staying in the loop with your emails and the emails from the other “old-timers” who I loved dancing with and hanging out with “back when”. And I second what Doc Scanlon wrote… about how you have a heart of gold, I mean 😉 …and that it’s great how you’ve enjoyed not just the dancing, but also going to so much trouble again and again to share your love of dancing and live swing music with others. Thanks. I remember our times in the “golden years” — especially back in the 80s — quite fondly.

  9. Sara Brodsky says:

    It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a Network dance, but I’ll be there Nov. 9 to say farewell. I have many fond memories of dancing with you, Roger, and the many other folks I met over the decades of swinging on your floor. See you there!

  10. Diane Levy says:

    I met my husband, Igor Tepermeister, at your dance, Roger, back in 1989. I’m so sorry we won’t be able to make it to this important one. We sincerely hope it won’t really be your last. You’ve done a great thing for the dance community all these years. Our thanks, and our best to you!

  11. Benson says:

    I still remember the night I went to my first BSDN dance and spent the first hour holding up the back wall. A young lady asked me to dance and things haven’t been the same ever since. When I was traveling alot, I planned my all my trips so I’d be around for the dance; I think I’ve missed 5 dances in 22 years. Of course, I asked my girlfriend out for the first time at the dance so I’ll always have nice memories of the place.

  12. Suzie Glantz says:

    Oh Roger!
    Have found your dances and those who attend just so delightful! I will certainly miss those live bands and the fun, engaging atmosphere you have succeeded in maintaining throughout the years!
    Hoping this is only a small interruption. . .and looking forward to those gala presentations!

  13. Hsueh-tze Lee says:

    Congratulations on your wonderful 26 year run! I remember clearly your first dance in Belmont, and have had many happy moments and wonderful dances in Cambridge and Watertown since. The live music was always a special treat. Thank you Roger!!! I send my very best wishes and will be at your last dance in spirit!


  14. Wendy Burke says:

    I’m so sad … I only attended a few dances and had the best time ever! If there was only something that I could do to help you continue … just ask! You did such a fabulous job – you brought a lot of joy to a lot of people!

  15. Cynthia Lyon says:

    Hi, Roger- I feel so terribly heavy-hearted that the day is coming when your wonderful dances won’t be there any more. Your dance was always THE ONE. We only played it once a year but that was plenty. We really looked forward to playing for it and it was a thrill to play for 400+ people. I feel so grateful that you hired us year after year and treated us like gold. There will never be another you. Thank you so much for what you’ve done for the swing dance community and I will remember your swing dance as a major event in my career.
    With Love,
    Cynthia and Eight to the Bar

  16. Michele Rapp says:

    Roger, You were my first swing dance teacher! What a wonderful thing that you created this regular dance and community for us for 26 years! Thank you so much!

  17. Lisa Kleitz says:

    Way back in the 80s, when I discovered Swing Dancing in Boston, your Lindy Hop classes and your “IC dances,” my life was changed forever. I had never had so much fun! Over the years, I’ve made so many good friends through dancing, even though I still don’t know their names! LOL But, the faces, hugs and dance styles are precious. Thank you for bringing us together for so many years to share our passion for the music and the dance. And, thanks for continuing to dance with me even though I “crossed over the dark side.” (WC Swing) I never really left. I hope you’ll consider running a reunion dance once in a while. We need to keep dancing as long as we’re able. And, where else will we be able to dance with each other?!

  18. Bronwen Ballou says:

    Hey Rog – well, i’ve said it already but i’ll say it again – I was totally heartbroken to get the news of the end of your dances. I’ve been going since 1991, met wonderful friends who are still my wonderful friends 20-plus years later, and have no end of happy memories. Your dance has always been my favorite and even though i’ve come much less often since moving to NH, I loved that it was still there month in and month out and i could come anytime. I will be at the last bash and hope that many fellow old-timers will come too. And i really really hope you’ll do an annual or semi-annual dance in the future, for old times’ sake. Thanks for everything.
    Bronwen (a/k/a to you – Brownie)

  19. Lisa Staffiere says:

    My husband Emilio and I met at your dance January 6, 2001 and we will forever be grateful to you and your dances. We will be there to celebrate with you in November. Thanks so much!

  20. Linda Katz says:

    I have so many fond memories of your dances back in the 90’s, when I was dancing several times a week. Your dance would be the highlight of the month! It was such a great community, and the vibe couldn’t be beat. Magical things seemed to happen between the bands and the dancers! Last year, when I decided to start dabbling again, I was so happy to attend one of your dances and see a few familiar faces. I’m really sad to see this tradition come to an end — I hope you still put on occasional dances. Thanks so much for all your hard work – you’ve brought joy to many, myself included. Look forward to seeing you on the 9th. I hope you’ll save a dance for me!

  21. Mike Durant says:

    Hey Roger,

    Thanks for all the great memories.
    I was there at the 1st dance at the church in Belmont, even before the IC (Immaculate Conception).
    You were really the originator of independent swing dances with live bands in the Boston area for a whole generation of swing dancers. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and now others have adopted your model.
    I can remember being shut out because the dance was full and having to wait till someone left.
    Your love of dancing and swing music carried you and us through the ups and downs of running a dance.
    This last, although very sad, promises to be a great dance. Don’t miss it. I remember the first time that 8 to the Bar and Love Dogs played.The final set jam session was incredible (check it out on U Tube).
    I will miss these dances!

  22. Stan says:

    Fantastic dances, Roger, thanks! We will really miss them!

  23. Lynnell Stern says:

    Dear Roger,

    Thank you SOOOOOO much for giving me, and hundreds of others, a great place to dance, every month, to great bands for the last 26 years. I started coming to your IC (Immaculate Conception) dances 25 years ago. The one great dance many of us counted on every month for many years was your great dance! You have really done more for the Boston Swing Community than any other person!

    In more recent years, I was not able to attend every month given family commitments, BUT I always appreciated your giving the ‘old timers’…I mean the “First Generation Folks” lots of lead time to line up babysitters, and make plans for the Big Anniversary BSDN Dances. I am very sad that you won’t be having monthly dances anymore, but I DO hope that you will have some dances in the future…perhaps yearly? I look forward to dancing with you at your last dance of this 26 year run, and I look forward to dancing with you at your next dance down the road too! After all, we have another 26+ years of dancing ahead of us.
    Thanks for all the great memories! Lynnell

  24. Phyllis Neufeld says:

    Roger, while I certainly haven’t been to all your dances, I loved the fact that you established the “old-timer’s” dances once a year, helping us to stay in touch with each other and enjoy the dancing. There are so few places to dance and your dance was always one of the best! Thanks for all you did for so long to make sure swing dancing had a home.

  25. Roger,
    Thank you So much for my favorite dances. I attended them and then lived elsewhere and then came back and attended them again, loved them many years. Please continue to have some. I’ll definitely come out for them. I’m very sorry to say that I was part of your dwindling audience but I would support you going forward I didn’t realize there was a problem alright would’ve made more of an effort as now I promise I will. It’s too important not to have.
    See you tonight!

  26. Lisa says:

    Thank you for all the wonderful years. You sure had a good run! Your venue will be greatly missed. Thanks for supporting live music and the dancers in the Boston area and beyond! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  27. Dennis says:

    Hi Roger,
    Last night’s dance certainly lived up to its advance billing. Eight to the Bar & the Love Dogs are the best! I’m so glad that Audrey & I attended, and I’m glad that so many people came out to enjoy the dance. Thank you for organizing the best dances for 26 years. I started attending in ’96. One of the things I appreciated was how it reminded me of my parents. Swing was their era and they loved the music and loved to dance. My highlight was meeting many wonderful people, but most of all, Audrey 2 1/2 years ago.
    Thanks again,

  28. James Michael Calderone says:

    Roger, so sorry I couldn’t be there. I got my start dancing with Teri, and it was because YOU! that I had to learn to do it right. hehe. I still remember the first dance I went to and how scared I was. Teri took me onto the floor and of course made me look good, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. Gosh was I really in my 20s!

    Too many fond memories to count, although in far too short a time. But the friendships will last forever. Enjoy a well deserved rest and pat on the back.