Hello and welcome!
Below are some of the awesome folks that helped kick-off this era of "DFW Swing Dance" in the 90's in the Dallas & Fort Worth, Texas area.
Club Steppers, 1994
A Old Flyer
Wednesday, March 24, 1994
2155 Great Southwest Parkway, Grand Prairie, TX.
Swing-Out Classes are held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m on Wednesdays and Sundays
Instructors: Walter Bishop ( D'Extra ) Beginner Lawrence Bradley ( Bad Brad ) Intermediate Tommy Pye ( Terrible "T" ) Advance
Pictured (Center) Ms. Rena Washington and (Right-Front) Mr. D’Extra.
Dallas Morning News Document
Swing Shift Dance practice the smooth and sophisticated swing-out
Author: Linda Jones: Staff Writer of The Dallas Morning News
March 29, 2000
Article text: It's Sunday night at Steppers, and class is in session. The dance floor is the classroom and "swing-out is the lesson. Dozens fill this nightclub to learn this dance because they are convinced their "coolness' will be enhanced. "One-two, one-two-three, one-two, one-two-three. Don't make me look bad now. "Tommy Pye is barking instructions to the eager pack of students who are hanging on every word and mimicking every step. Twice weekly they come to their Grand Prairie Nightclub to learn "swing-out an old-school couples' dance style that has roots in Harlem nightspots of decades past.
This is a dance you can easily fall in love with, says Walter "D-Extra Bishop, the instructor who started the free classes at steppers nearly four years ago in the summer of 1995. He invited his friends Tommy and Lawrence "Brad" Bradley to join him when the classes got too big for one person to handle. On Sunday and Wednesday nights the three of them teach swing-out to people seeking a fun and sophisticated dance devoid of bumps and grinds.
Swing-Out is a hand-holding spin-your-partner dance that has jazz in the footwork and salsa in the turns. Think Jitterbug without the flips and throws. Or the Lindy without the hop.
"We do what you call smooth swing," says Brad, the tall, tight-bodied teacher who sports a texurized ponytail and leads his partners so masterfully on the dance floor that he makes the neophytes look like pros.
Brad says that even though swing-out dance is derived from the liver, acrobatic versions of swing dancing, it is more laid-back intimate.
"Back in the day, swinging-out was the way you got a chance to get close to the woman, get her name and phone number and whisper a few things in her ear," he says. "You had her as a captive audience because there wasn't far she could go."
The teacher D'Extra, 43 who says he got his nickname for being good at stealing "de extra" bases when he played baseball, is now known more for the extra time he spends seeing that all the female students have a dance partner. Since the women always outnumber the men, that often means he is called upon to be the extra partner.
Popularity is what motivated D'Extra to learn the dance.
His brother-in-law taught him in 1976 when he was 19. He frequented Fort Worth nightclubs where the dance was popular and participated in competitions where he often won.
"Nobody knew you if you didn't know how to swing" he recalls. Brad, who also participated in the contests, say swing-out competitions were fierce, but never violent.
That's the thing about swingers, "he says". We Are too cool to fight.
Out on the dance floor, D'Extra is taking a group of women in his beginners' class through the paces. Before the students are taught to dance as couples, they are taught all the steps, twirls, slides and turns as a group. Men and Women are taught simultaneously, but separately on opposite sides of the dance floor.
"Are you ready now"? D'Extra asks the women, twirling his finger over his head. The signal means it's time to try the full turn. At the count of three, the group manages to make a complete spin with some stumbling but no causalities. He takes them through half turns and double turns as well.
The trio take their classes seriously that they hold graduation for stellar swingers and issue diplomas that read: The holder of this certificate is more than qualified to get their swing on.
Deryl, 30 says he is pleased the dance is being preserved, but he wonders how long that may last. "It has a lot to do with the times," The parents aren't as in touch with their kids as they were when I was growing up. So not much is passed down, "he says."
Ms. Norma Miller "The Queen of Swing"
Veteran swing dancer Norma Miller says that swing-out is not much different from the type of dances done to the swing music of the bands of the '30s and '40s.
"They are all carry-overs," says Norma, one of the original Lindy Hop swingers who danced to the big-band music in Harlem's Savoy Ballroom and other nightspots where such dances were hot. She is 80 and lives in Las Vegas, where she still teaches the dance to teenagers.
"The only difference now is the diversity and imagination that is behind it," she says.
Norma says other regions have their own versions of swing-out: "There's the East Coast swing, the West Coast swing, the St. Louis shag. Somewhere in California they call it the Balboa."
While the early swing dance was done to bands headed by performers such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Cab Calloway and Lionel Hampton, swing-out at Steppers is done to music provided by a disc jockey named Robair the Debonaire.
Brad, 50 says that is what drives him, D'Extra and Tommy to continue the Swing-Out lessons at Steppers. "We don't ever want to see it die."
Mr. Ivan Jordan, co-owner of Stepper, says that this is the type of atmosphere he wants at his nightclub, and the dance lessons have done much to create it.
To read more please go to: The Dallas Morning News Archives, Record Number: 4134233
Mrs. Beverly Neal
The photo below shows one of Club Steppers, 1ST DFW Swing-Out class graduation ceremony.
It pictures, Club Steppers "To Live Crew"...Swing-Out Dancers featuring: Ms. Cheryl Head, Lady Champagne, Terrible T, D'Extra, and "The King Of Swing" Mr. Jerry Palmer.
Below it pictures, Tarrant County first DFW Swing-Out dance instructors who developed the first six steps for good teaching techniques for DFW Swing-Out.
"The dance we all have grown to love!"
Mr. Walter Bishop
Mr. Tommy Pye
Mr. Lawrence Bradley
Ms. Rena Washington
Terrible T. Productions and B&B Productions
The First Annual Tribute to the “Swingout Originators”
Friday, March 11, 2011
At Swingtime Center ~ Fort Worth, Texas
This tribute is a Club Steppers Reunion. We are bringing back all the swingout originators, as well as the original DJs and MC. Robair the Debonair, AJ the DJ and MC - Six Pack. We are bringing back also “Name That Tune" for cash prizes.
Pictured left to right are, DJ Robair, Mr. Walter Bishop, Ms. Rena Washington, Mr. Lawrence Bradley, MC-Six Pack, and bottom center Mr. Tommy Pye.
Club Steppers "Original MC"- Six Pack Club Steppers "Original DJ" Robair the Debonair
Club Steppers Former Scholars
~ Sponsors ~ ~ Supporter ~
Mrs. Brenda Smith & The Ladies of Swing Dance Studio. ~ “I” Mrs. Beverly Neal
~ Supporters ~
The Brothers of DFW Swing-Out.
Dallas And Houston Dance Association
eNewsletter March 17, 2011
Where in the world did Mrs. Beverly Neal go this past week?
To spread the love of dance.
On Friday, March 17th, with great pleasure, I attended the first Club Steppers Reunion with a tribute to the Originators of DFW Swing-Out Dance.
This reunion reunited the entire original swing out instructor’s crew, as well as the original DJ and MC.
In 1994, Club Steppers opened its doors and a new era of swing dance evolved.
For the record, throughout the night, it was announced time after time that swing dance started way back when. However, the 1-2 / 1-2-3 / 1-2-3 or 1-2/ 3&4 / 5&6 counting methods, for the DFW-SwingOut dance was a development by the first males, and female dance instructors in Tarrant County.
Tarrant County First Males and Female Dance Instructor's
The Originator's of DFW Swing Dance as follows.
Mr. Tommy Pye, a.k.a. "Terrible T"
Mr. Walter Bishop, a.k.a. "D'Extra"
Mr. Lawrence Bradley, a.k.a. "Bad Brad"
Ms. Rena Washington, a.k.a. "Na Na"
With that being said, the Originators of Swing all have been profiled on the Dallas local news channels 4 & 8. Their story has also been told in the Dallas Morning Newspaper, the Fort Worth Star Telegram Newspaper and their most recent spotlight in the Dallas Examiner News Paper.
Well, ladies and gentlemen there you have it! A snippet of information on the ever growing history of, The Originators of DFW Swing-Out, the dance that has swept through the state of Texas and now is began taught in the state of Oklahoma.
"The Dance we all have grown to love and embrace."
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