Swing-dance club celebrates 20th anniversary

On any given Thursday night, Swing is still king in Youngstown, and it’s been that way for two decades.

That’s because Y-Town Swing dance club has been getting together every week for that long. The club will mark its 20th anniversary tonight at Cedars West End when it meets for a dance night.

Y-Town Swing started in 1997, gathering every week at Amy’s Campus 2000 near Youngstown State University. The group moved to Cedars Lounge in 1999 and has been meeting there ever since, going with the club when it moved from downtown to the West Side about five years ago.

Swing music was all the rage in the 1930s and ’40s, with high-powered and fast-paced brass orchestras like Glenn Miller’s spawning not just a style of music, but a style of dance, and clothing, too.

The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra – which has been keeping alive the late Miller’s sound for decades – will perform in concert tonight at Stambaugh Auditorium.

But at the same time, and just a couple of miles away, Y-Town Swing will be Jitterbugging all over the dance floor at Cedars.

Shaun Rosan and Darla Wilson have been leading Y-Town for the past five years, and have been members for nine.

Rosan, a Youngstown firefighter from the West Side, and Wilson, a physical therapist from Boardman, offer lessons for beginners and more advance dancers at the weekly dances.

Most cities have a vintage dance scene, and Y-Town Swing is one of the more widely recognized clubs in the region stretching from Pittsburgh to Erie to Cleveland and Columbus.

The local club has a partnership with the newly formed YSU Swing club, and is planning to raise its profile in 2018 with public events.

But the heart of Y-Town Swing is the fun and friendly social events that take place at Cedars. Occasionally the club books a band such as Dr. Zoot out of Pittsburgh. But usually, it’s just a group of a few dozen folks, ranging from college students to Dave “Uncle Dave” Mann, 81, of Transfer, Pa., getting busy.

“One person leads, the other follows and adds style, and you can ask a new partner to dance each song so you don’t even need to bring a partner,” said Rosan. “When I teach, I tell them ‘If you are smiling, you are doing it right’.”

To learn more, go to y-townswing.org or email ytownswingdance@yahoo.com.


“The Disaster Artist,” the new film starring James Franco about the making of the film “The Room,” is among the early Oscar favorites.

“The Room” – as moviegoers are now learning – is the 2003 film written, directed and produced by Tommy Wiseau, who also stars in it, that has come to be known as one of the worst films of all time. It’s laughably bad.

To capitalize on the renewed interest in it due to the release of “The Disaster Artist,” Fathom Events will screen “The Room” at 8 p.m. Jan. 10 at theaters nationwide, including Tinseltown in Boardman. Get advance tickets at the theater or fathomevents.com.

“The Disaster Artist,” by the way, has not yet opened in Youngstown.

Guy D’Astolfo covers entertainment for The Vindicator.

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