Top Of Beardsleys Swing Dance

AUTOBIOGRAPHY

Swing Dancing has never completely died in the Bay Area since it's inception. It only became over shadowed by the in-dance of any particular era. There has always been a Swing Dance organization or night club that featured Swing Dancing, lessons and/or a contest. One of these nightclubs was the Garden inn in Hayward where Ed Cirio and Phil Trau taught on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings in the mid 70's.

The owner wanted to have a Swing Band Dance every Sunday afternoon. Phil and Ed brought to his attention that there were organized Swing Clubs already having dances on the first, second, and fourth Sunday of every month. Having a Swing Dance every Sunday would only create more animosity among the clubs and dancers. The owner agreed to let Ed and Phil have a Swing Dance on the third Sunday of the month and if attendance was satisfactory, after the first dance, he would enlarge the dance floor. The first dance was held on Sunday, October 30, 1977 and the Garden inn was packed with dancers.

After waiting several months for the dance floor to be enlarged, to no avail, Phil and Ed started searching the Bay Area for an establishmant with a maple hardwood dance floor, good acoustics, pleasant atmosphere, plenty of parking and away from tha typical saloon scene.

Hence, Beardsley's Restaurant on Broadway in Burlingame was discovered. This building was originally called Bob's on Broadway and it had a 50' x 65' maple hardwood dance floor on the sacond story. The first dance was held on Sunday, February 19, 1978. The owners of Beardsleys were very impressed with the dancers and invited Ed and Phil to conduct Swing Dances on the third Sunday of every month from then on.

Meanwhile, since Phil and Ed were Hooked on Swing, they occasionally traveled the State of California, attending various Swing Dance functions. On one of these trips, Top of the Golden West in Norwalk was discovered. On Tuesday evenings Kenny Wetzel taught Swing Dancing and played records for dancing after the class.

This was "The Place" in California for Swing Dancing and Kenny was attracting new and younger people into Swing Dancing. Affer one of these trips to the southland, Ed and Phil decided that what the Bay Area needed was a "Top of the West" to really help further the Art of Swing Dancing instead of only the traditional Sunday dances.

The owners of Beardsleys were contacted and classes in Swing Dancing were started on Wednesday, June 14, 1978. Phil and Ed invested in a sound system and conducted dancing affer the classes. Since they got their idea from Top of the West in Southern California, it only seemed appropriate to name their venture Top of Beardsleys of Northern California.

As fate would have it, Home Savings purchased Beardsleys and demolished the building to make room for one of their concrete monsters. Also about the same time, Top of the West in Norwalk was purchased by a church and turned into a school. For the next ten months after Beardsleys was sold, Ed and Phil only held a third Sunday Band Dance at different locations each month, while searching the Bay Area for a home.

After checking out every possible hall for rent in the greater Bay Area, The Peninsula Social Club in San Matao was chosen for Top of Beardsleys new home. The first Sunday Band Dance was held on January 20, 1980 and lessons in West Coast Swing with dancing following was started on Wednesday, March 19, 1980.


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Last Updated: Jan 19,1996