LAST NIGHT AT THE DERBY

The Derby was ground zero for the swing resurgence that occurred in the late 90’s. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was the weekly house band (as can be seen in the movie, “Swingers”). During its heyday, there was a swing dancing to live bands EVERY night of the week, something unheard of now. There would be a line out the door to get in. Classes were taught by world class instructors like Kim and Dave, and Erik and Sylvia.

So, the closing of the Derby was a truly momentous and sad event. News came suddenly that the owner was not renewing the lease to the club, some speculating due to the troubles caused by the non-swing nights.

Everyone showed up to bid farewell, even those who hadn’t been around in years. It was like a class reunion. Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five gave it a fitting, roaring, sendoff. I made a million great memories at the Derby, and tons of friends. I got into swing dancing in large part because of the Derby, and I’m sure a lot of you did too. It was a place you could take your non-swing friends and have a good time. In my mind, the Derby deserves a place next to legendary ballrooms like the Savoy, the Palomar, the Casino on Catalina Island, and the other greats. The Derby will be missed! – Brian 8/21/2010


  • John

    Royal Crown Revue was the weekly band before BBVD. Big Time Operator was next after BBVD, but BTO could not make it as RCR nor BBVD.