Since the late 1970’s Erin and Tami have lived and breathed Swing Dancing…Almost from the first day they opened PBDA, in 1983 (making this their 40th year), they’ve taught large group classes and hosted weekly Swing Dances with live bands.
The sisters are recognized as playing a big part in igniting the 2nd era of Swing, as a year into their business, Erin traveled to New York to research the history of the Lindy Hop, and is famous for tracking down Lindy Hop Legend Frankie Manning, and coaxing him out of Swing retirement. Twice a year the sisters brought Frankie to Los Angeles as a guest instructor for their classes—and those bi-annual workshops led to Tami and Erin producing a dozen annual Swing Camps on Catalina Island.
The first “Swing Camp Catalina” in 1994 featured Frankie & Erin, Tami & her husband Scott, and a number of other international instructors, and was the first and subsequent largest U.S. Swing Camp. In 1999 in the heart of the Swing Revival, the camp had 1,800 camp enrollees from around the world, and 2,400 dancers in the Casino Ballroom for the Saturday Night Dance. There was national television coverage of the event, and the island presented them with a plaque that year, commemorating the island’s “largest event”.
Both sisters traveled the globe teaching and performing, mainly Lindy Hop, throughout the 1990’s (when one was traveling, the other was holding down the Pasadena Classes) but they danced all styles of Swing. In fact, they were featured on World News Tonight with Peter Jennings performing West Coast Swing when that style was officially named the State Dance of California, and Erin studied Balboa with Maxi Dorf, and Hal Takier.
In the late 90’s Disneyland hired the sisters to perform Swing and to teach park guests basic Swing moves at Carnation Plaza for “Disney’s Jump Jive Boogie Swing Party” on Friday nights in the summer. For 7 years, everyone entering the park was handed a schedule of events that read: “Jump Jive Boogie Swing Party hosted by The Pasadena Ballroom Dance Assoc.” (It was amazing publicity!)
In those years their PBDA classes were filled to capacity, often with as many as 300 students in a class.
Twice, in the 1990s the sisters were honored by being invited to Swing Dance “for their immense contribution to keeping swing alive” on parade floats in the New Year’s Morning, Rose Parade. And, in 1998, Erin was flown to Washington D.C. to perform at the White House for the PBS Special: Stomp Glide & Swing for “In Performance at the White House.”
In the early 2000’s Tami and Scott, along with Erin & their dance team called “The Swing-a-Roos” were hired as weekly featured dancers on the E Channel’s Home and Family Show.
In 2011, they were contracted to write a historical reference guide to the History of Swing Dancing. The book was published by ABC-Clio and is still used as a text book in College and University Classes to this day. Because of the book, Tami is often hired to speak on the subject in college classes and at civic events.
At the 40-year mark, PBDA is still going strong, and both Tami and Erin are still enjoying inspiring new dancers, and offering dancers of all levels a fun environment to Swing Out in!