Tri-City Swing was started in January 2013 by husband and wife duo Kevin Greene and Michelle Marquardt. Tri-City's mission is to bring to the communities of St. Charles, Geneva, and Batavia the joy of swing dancing and dancing to vintage jazz music.
Swing dancing was what brought Michelle and Kevin together originally- they met at a weekly swing dance in midtown Manhattan when they both lived there early in their careers. When they moved to the Chicago area in 2007, they brought with them their love of the dance, and in 2010, when they bought their first house in St. Charles, they knew that the only thing missing from the pardise of the Fox River valley was a swing dance community.
Not ones to rest on their laurels and grouse about the lack of swing dancing opportunities, they hatched a plan to start sharing swing dancing with their new community. "If we don't have enough people to dance with," they reasoned, "we'll just make more!" After teaching a few friends in their living room, their first formal classes started in January 2013 at A Step Above Dance Academy in Batavia. With the help and support of other local dancers and dance communities, they were off to the races. Soon after the classes were launched, Tri-City Swing had saved up enough money to hold it's first DJ'd dance at A Step Above. More classes and dances followed until weekly classes were moved from Tuesdays to Sundays, increasing the offering to two levels of classes, and the dances became an (almost) monthly affair.
Another milestone was Tri-City's first live band event, Miss Jubilee and The Humdingers at Water Street Studios in Batavia. It was a glorious night for swing dancing in the Tri-City area, and the turnout beat all expectations! The band was amazing and even created an impromptu dance contest on the spot. After four hours of dancing the floor was still busy as the band wound down into the last set.
The rest of 2013 brought a couple more DJ'd dances at A Step Above Dance Academy and another great band night at Waterstreet Studios with the Jake Sanders Quintet. Classes were still going strong at this point, but the management at A Step Above decided to achieve their own milestone and install all new flooring, which would be unsuitable for anything but ballet and dance shoes. Tri-City Swing's classes moved over to River West Family Fitness's upstairs fitness studio.
Tri-City Swing kicked off 2014 by realizing a dream of founder Michelle Marquardt - a swing dance at the Baker Community Center in St Charles - a community hall built in 1927 by the Bakers and dedicated to their son, the veterans of the Great War and to the community of St Charles. It had always struck Michelle as the absolute perfect place for a swing dance, being equipped with a beautiful 1920's stage, a gorgeous dance floor, AND the same birthday as Lindy Hop! Tri-City hosted local favorites The Flat Cats, and the dance was a huge success. About 127 dancers from Chicago and the western suburbs spent 4 hours steeping in the glory of the 1927 architecture, music and dance.
February 2014 saw another big change in the evolution of Tri-City Swing. Kevin and Michelle handed over the classes that they had been building up for a year to local professional dance instructor, Carl Linder. Carl brought a level of experience and knowledge to the classes that increased the quality of classes. Kevin and Michelle's time was freed up to focus on developing the events side of Tri-City Swing towards a new goal - monthly, instead of semi-monthly dances and a greater variety of special dances and locations.
With the change in instructor, there was a simultaneous change of venue for the classes. Although greatly appreciative of the hospitality of River West Family Fitness, Tri-City Swing found a kindred spirit in the owner of Batavia Academy of Dance Artistic Director and some great dance floors in a historic building the was once a speakeasy!