Skippy Blair Online West Coast Swing Dance Instructor
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Skippy Blair - First Lady of Swing
When setting the criteria for the USA Swing Net "Person of the Year" award, we sought candidates who, "because of their achievements, actions and example over the past year, demonstrated excellence and helped to enhance the image of Swing in a significant way." Based upon input from event directors, judges, competitors, and Swing fans around the country - Skippy Blair stands at center stage. She is our 2004 "Person of the Year."
She is fondly referred to as the "First Lady of Swing". The title suits her nicely.
Skippy Blair’s love affair with Swing started in 1938 on the Steel Pier in Atlantic City. All the Big Bands of the day played there, and in 1941 Skippy and her partner, Red Rex, from California won the big yearly Jitterbug contest that was held there.
During the late 1940s and early ‘50s, Skippy married a marine and had 4 children, but still took time out for teaching tap dancing classes. In 1958 she opened her first studio and started training Champion Dancers and Teachers. In 1974 she inaugurated National Dance Teacher Intensives which involved detailed, comprehensive training in dance knowledge, teaching and judging. They continue today and the seminars run anywhere from 3 to 7 days and are often integrated into major weekend dance events.
In 1975 Skippy appeared in the movie, "Queen of the Stardust Ballroom". She later appeared in the 1987 Movie, "Tales of the Hollywood Hills". She spent several years as a choreographer and performer for TV shows like "Let's Dance", "Truth or Consequences" and "Bob Barker's Varieties".
Skippy Blair's dance resume is formidable: Co-founder of the World Swing Dance Council, a Feather Award recipient, member of the Swing Dance Hall of Fame, founder of the Golden State Teachers Association, developer of the Universal Unit System®, Director of Dance Dynamics Studio, creator of the "Swing World" website for continuing dance education, and the author of 7 books and 14 videos. Her 1978 publication, "Disco to Tango and Back", has become a collector's item on Amazon.
Skippy Blair has been a significant figure in the world of ballroom dance and, particularly, West Coast Swing since the early 1950s. She is generally credited with popularizing "West Coast Swing" and was a key player in the group that successfully lobbied the State Legislature in 1988 to have West Coast Swing designated as the official State Dance of California.
In 1994 she was inducted into the National Swing Dance Hall of Fame and, at 89, continues to be extremely active in the dance world and has coached some of the leading swing dancers in the country, including US Open champions Jordan Frisbee and Tatiana Mollman.
Ms. Blair created the Universal Unit System, a complete system of dance notation that allows dancers to "read" a dance much like musicians read music.