The History of National Smooth Dancers
SYNOPSIS by Margaret L. Crager
Birth took place in the City of Los Angeles in the year 1937. The sires of this group were members of a hilarious early morning radio talk show. Their interests were many – dancing was one of them. They had become highly disturbed over a wild new dance craze that had just hit the dance board called the “jitterbug”. They wanted no part of the wild gyrations and decided to form a club of their own. It was further decided that each member could bring in five new members.
In six months they had 40 members who had successfully met their criteria. Their rules were strict. One required the gentleman, entering a major dance contest, to have the heels of his shoes chalked. Should the heel touch the floor, he was eliminated. They wore truly smooth dancers. You were required to be an American Citizen, win at least three major dance contests, and own a tuxedo and a white suit for summer.
In 1939, two years after their founding, women were permitted to join, but they had no voice. Rumblings of World War II drastically curtailed dance activities in the Los Angeles and beach area. In 1942, all clubs were forced to disband because the men had become part of the Armed Forces and the fabulous dance bands were sent to play at some of the military installations.
After D-Day, some of the dance clubs re-grouped and in 1947 the Los Angeles group incorporated themselves. In 1949, a dance group in San Diego exercised the same privilege. In 1950, group number three was established in San Francisco and was named Golden Gate Chapter. Good news traveled fast and soon there were chapters in Fresno, San Jose, Oakland, Visalia and Bakersfield. NSD expanded up and down California to a total of 14 chapters.
The first State Convention was held in 1951 in the City of San Francisco and Golden Gate had not yet had their first birthday! It was also the first year of the publication of Dance Whispers, the monthly newsletter which we still eagerly look forward to reading which lists the coming attractions and social activities which we all enjoy.
The election of the first State Queen took place in 1952. This high honor is given to the lady who has devoted much time and energy to and for the betterment other chapter. She also served and continues to serve as an ambassadress when visiting other chapters.
NSD is a non-profit organization. Every year, each chapter elects to sponsor some group or charitable organization that we hope can profit from our hobby and love of dancing. In doing so, we can contribute to our respective communities.
Today, there are eight chapters That carry out the purpose of NSD, namely, to promote the great enjoyment of dance. After 65 years, our love of dancing has not diminished and our new and lasting friendships have brought great joy and happiness to each one of us. Whoever you are, keep dancing!