Who is Skippy Blair?

In short Skippy Blair is a west coast swing legend. In this article we will talk about her influence on the dance we love. We will clarify some rumors and bring some wisdom from Skippy’s years dedicated to swing dancing!

Did Skippy name West Coast Swing?

Skippy Blair. Did she name west coast swing? I asked her that question and this was her response. “I remember the editor of the press telegram in 1962 asking is I was going to renew my ad for ‘western swing’ and I said no. I didn’t get one student from that ad. So we decided that we weren’t going to get people for something called ‘western’ in the town of Downey CA so we decided to try the name west coast swing.” It’s largely been know as west coast swing ever since.

Note: the name ‘West Coast Swing’ was found slightly before this time but no doubt Skippy was one of the driving forces of WCS

The first known mentions of the name “west coast swing”

         

She co-founded the WSDC

She was the co-founder of the WSDC World Swing Dance Council in 1993 which governs west coast swing jack and jill competitions to this day.

The State Dance of California

Skippy was one of several people who helped west coast swing become the official state dance of California in 1988. This was a difficult project as California already had ‘folk dancing’ as a state dance. A team of several people were able to successfully lobby to include west coast swing along side folk dancing as the state dances of California further cementing it’s place in the history of California dancing.Skippy was one of several people who helped west coast swing become the official state dance of California in 1988. This was a difficult project as California already had ‘folk dancing’ as a state dance. A team of several people were able to successfully lobby to include west coast swing along side folk dancing as the state dances of California further cementing it’s place in the history of California dancing.

Universal Unit System® 

Skippy created the Universal Unit System® It is a system that includes ‘unit cards’ that are a valuable teaching aid. Their visual presentation during a lesson is helpful in getting the students to remember the rhythm patterns of the dances. “Musicians have sheet music and dancers had the Universal Unit System®”

Golden State Dance Teachers Association

Skippy also founded the Golden State Dance Teachers Association which has been Conducting National Dance Teacher “Intensives” since1974. Over 3000 dance teachers have passed The GSDTA Teacher’s Certification! In 1994 she was inducted into National Swing Dance Hall of Fame. She has created 14 Instructional Videos and authored seven books in her lifetime – Disco to Tango & Back, Dance Power, Dance Terminology Notebook, Dance & Grow Young, and Pathway to Dance Excelleration.

What’s she up to now?

In 2018 at the age of 94, having taught Dance Certification Intensives for over 60 years, Skippy is still writing new books, papers and new music. “As long as I’m here I’m going to continue to contribute”

 

Other fun facts:

  • Official co-creator with Tom Mattox of popular line dance “Boot-Scoot-n-Boogie”
  • Appeared in Movies – Queen of the Stardust Ballroom – Tales of the Hollywood Hills plus many Movie Pilots.
  • She was the choreographer for 12 years for TV shows including Al Jarvis “Let’s Dance” – Bob Barker’s Truth or Consequences & “Barker’s Varieties” and Kastles in the Air.

Skippy shares her knowledge with WCS Online

I’ve had the pleasure of spending time twice with Skippy. The most recent trip in March of 2018 I was able to spend 6 hours with Skippy at her house in Downey CA.

We discussed many topics that day. Skippy was very particular about 2 topics, the first lesson of WCS and Rolling Count. She has spent decades upon decades studying dance. Some of her discoveries get lost in translation over time. To remedy this, she graciously provided us with some resources so she can share the concepts in her own words.

Below are links to articles that she share with me personally so that I may share them with you!

 

Skippy Blair Series

Take a look at some of the amazing insights Skippy shared with us. If you’re interested in west coast swing or the history of the dance, these articles are a treasure!

Some insights on the importance of the first lesson of WCS.

How to understand and practice rolling count.

The discovery and understanding of rolling count.

A short paper on how this technique makes better dancing.

This paper contains 8 helpful tips to improve your understanding of rolling count to improve your dancing.

This paper includes 13 statements to the most popular questions about rolling count.

 

Take Action> Download the #1 Key to Musicality for WCS

Watch Skippy’s “Dance your way through life” video below.

When asked what quote should be in every dance studio?

“If you can walk you can dance. If we have to teach you to walk…It’s just gonna take a bit longer.”Skippy Blair

 

If you could put one sentence on a billboard what would it be?

“Be kind.”Skippy Blair

200+ FREE Resources
to Improve your dancing
A guide to our best Free Resources:
Musicality, Spins & Turns, Footwork, Practice tips, Beginners, Connection, Anchor Steps, more... 
Get the e-book now!
Made with ❤️by Brian B at west coast swing online
close-link

Watch Skippy’s “Dance your way through life” video below.

Image

Improve your spins with this drill!

Enter your email - watch the video now!
WATCH NOW
close-link

The #1 Key toMusicality in West Coast Swing
WATCH THE VIDEO 
close-link

Improve your turns
for 2-Step
with this FREE video!

WATCH THE VIDEO 
close-link

3 keys to styling
with any dance partner!
WATCH THE VIDEO 
close-link

5 different ways to
Style Your Anchor Step
WATCH THE VIDEO 
close-link

SHOW ME THE SONGS 
close-link

Learn the basics
of West Coast Swing
in this FREE video!

GET THE VIDEO
close-link

 Get our FREE
Move of the Week Videos

GET YOUR FIRST VIDEO
close-link

WATCH THE VIDEO 
close-link

Learn the most important
Footwork Drill
for west coast swing

WATCH THE VIDEO 
close-link

3 Keys to better
Social Dancing

WATCH THE VIDEO 
close-link

Learn to Stay on Time
with these 4 tips

WATCH THE VIDEO 
close-link


 
Watch your video
close-link

200+ FREE Resources
to Improve your dancing
A guide to our best Free Resources:
Musicality, Spins & Turns, Footwork, Practice tips, Beginners, Connection, Anchor Steps, more... 
Get the e-book now!
Made with ❤️by Brian B at west coast swing online
close-link


 
Watch the video
close-link
200+ FREE Resources - Get your West Coast Swing E-Book!
Get the e-book!
close-image