Dancing is an all-inclusive audiovisual course in St. Louis' own style of
East Coast Swing which is danced in a slot
and infused with a touch of West Coast Swing styling. The illustrated 456-page
manual, written by
Skip Culver, is a valuable resource that teaches Basic through Advanced level dance moves that are presented in the classes and workshops of the swing dance clubs in the St. Louis area. This comprehensive manual covers all the variables of swing dancing:
lead, footwork, movement, patterns and styling;
and it enables you to learn them at your own pace
for the same price as a one-hour private lesson! Click the picture of Swing Fox on the left for an introductory comment from the author.
Over the past five decades, Imperial Swing has evolved into a hybrid of East and West Coast Swing that dancers now perform within a rectangular dance space called a slot using both six-count and eight-count footwork. West Coast Swing shares the same core moves with Imperial Swing: the starter (or basic) step, the pass (side pass and pass-by), the sugar push (or patty-cake) and the whip. Although both of these 'slot bop' styles of swing are very similar, traditionally West Coast Swing lessons tend to emphasize MOVEMENT and Imperial Swing lessons tend to emphasize MOVES. The manual successfully reconciles the imbalance between these two instructional approaches because it is heavily influenced by the classes and workshops taught by champion dancer Matt Auclair who always reminds his students that "good dancers will never become great dancers with movement without moves, or vice versa," and he teaches both!
Imperial Swing Dancing includes a two-hour, instructional DVD of selected moves taught by Matt Auclair who is both a highly qualified instructor and an international competitor. Matt is a six-time, national swing dance champion and in the year 2000 he participated in a year long tour called Swing Dance America during which he performed for the ambassadors of six major countries in Tokyo, Japan. The following year, he represented the United States at the Austrailian Jitterbug Championships in Brisbane. In July 2007, when the St. Louis Imperial Dance Club hosted their annual "Academy Awards of Swing," the dance community voted Matt Auclair not only as the Best Male Swing Dancer, but also as the Best Male Swing Dance Instructor in the St. Louis area. Over the Labor Day weekend of that year, he won first place in the Champions Strictly Swing division of the Dallas D.A.N.C.E. Championships, and he is the youngest dancer ever to be inducted into the Dallas Dance Hall of Fame. To watch his award winning performance with Kellese Key, click on his picture.
Matt teaches the manual's DVD with his lovely partner Crystal who is also an accomplished competitive dancer. Learning 'the Imperial' with Matt and Crystal as your professional instructors is easy because they structure their lessons in an orderly progression so that every move they teach establishes the foundation for their next move. When Matt and Crystal Auclair teach a new swing move, their mantra is: "Tell them what you're going to do; do it! Tell them what you just did; teach it!" In their highly acclaimed DVD, the Auclair's demonstrate all of the key “building block” moves that Skip Culver describes in his manual (click on the disc to see its contents). The DVD cross-references every lesson to the page in the text where the applicable move is described, and in his foreword, Matt highly recommends this very effective, programmed approach to teaching dance. The DVD is bundled as an integral part of both the print and the eBook editions of the manual, and it is not sold separately.
Imperial Swing Dancing proudly displays the distinctive blue and red, sunburst logo of the West County Swing Dance Club on its front cover. The WCSDC, which is a charter member of the American Bop Association, is one of the largest swing dance clubs in the United States and it highly recommends the
manual to all of its members. In May 2010 the club won the KTVI Fox 2 'Hot List' Award for being the best social dance club in St. Louis. During the past four decades, enthusiastic swing dancers of all ages have chartered eight dance clubs in Missouri and Illinois that are now members of the Midwest Swing Dance Federation. The manual reflects the extraordinary commitment to excellence that these clubs have to providing outstanding dance instruction because almost all of the moves described in the text and Bonus Supplement were taught in their classes and workshops. Click on the "Teach/Learn" reflective image at the left for a description of the Intermediate and Advanced level moves that were taught recently at two of our West County Swing Dance Club workshops.
And, talking about workshops, the preface to the manual is written by the late Gary Chaney and his wife Charlotte who were St. Louis' ambassadors of Imperial Swing. Every year this talented couple traveled around the country conducting workshops and performing exhibitions. Gary was the president of the American Bop Association which represents thirty member clubs nationwide and he was also the past president of the South Side Imperial Dance Club (Gary passed away on March 12, 2016). In his preface to the manual he says: "Culver makes learning 'the Imperial' easy. Not only does the text include Matt Auclair's outstanding DVD, but it also presents the few technicalities of the dance in such an uncomplicated way that it actually reads like a book! This manual is an important publication because it meticulously documents for posterity the 'fun and funky' moves which characterize the St. Louis Imperial style of swing that Charlotte and I love so much. We have no doubt that dancers of every skill level will learn from reading it." Click on the picture at the right to watch Gary and Charlotte perform their "Double Your Pleasure" routine with Debbie Wheelis at the 2010 Sweet Home Chicago dance convention hosted by the Windy City Jitterbug Club in Chicago, Illinois.
Imperial Swing Dancing is a deluxe, 'coffee table quality' publication that is not only a great personal resource but also it makes a perfect gift for the dancer in your life. If you purchase a second manual (Print or eBook Editions) then both texts are mailed free (see below). Your order is shipped on the same day that it is received and it comes with a money-back, satisfaction guarantee. The 456-page manual is an inch and a half thick, it has colorful, laminated covers, and it is bound with an imprinted, blue plastic comb so that the pages lay flat for convenient reference. Matt Auclair's two-hour DVD and the CD of 102-page Bonus Supplement are stored in protective sleeves affixed to the inside of the back cover. Regardless of your dance experience, if you want to learn all of the fun, creative moves that characterize Imperial Swing, then this manual, which is programmed to Auclair's outstanding DVD, is the best instructional value on the market because you get a complete, Basic through Advanced level, audiovisual course for the same price as a one-hour private lesson!
*Note: Until the remaining 20 Print Edition copies of Imperial Swing Dancing are sold, every new order now includes the eBook Edition of the manual absolutely free. This give-away offer alone is valued at $49.95! In addition, you may take a 15% discount off the price of your new manual if you mention this internet offer! Order your text today while they are still available and remit only $50.96 plus $3.90 for USPS shipping (Missouri residents please add an additional $4.05 for the state sales tax).
Option #2: Purchase the Print Edition of Imperial Swing Dancing from Amazon.com. Your order includes Matt Auclair’s two-hour, instructional DVD, the free Bonus Supplement CD and the new eBook Edition of the manual. To order, click on the Amazon link above and then use their online payment instructions.
The Bonus Supplement is written as a companion for Imperial Swing Dancing and it is included at no additional charge on a CD shipped with both the Print and eBook Editions of the manual. This indispensable, 108-page supplement, which is provided as a high resolution, fully searchable Adobe .pdf file, describes more than one hundred and twenty-five useful adaptations of selected moves and learning tips from the manual
plus an expanded lesson syllabus and eleven informative swing dance
articles.* The CD also includes the colorful picture: The Magic of the Club Imperial that commemorates the venerable Club Imperial where our popular style of dance began (see below). The download of this collectable picture, which is sized to be displayed in a 16" x 20" frame, was one of the most popular 2015 membership premiums that the St. Louis Imperial Dance Club gives to every dancer who joins their club. Only those Bonus Supplement CDs that are shipped with the remaining Print Edition manuals will include the eBook Edition of the manual!
*Note: The Bonus Supplement CD is shipped with every manual. A high resolution .PDF file of the commerative "The Magic of the Club Imperial" picture is also included on that same CD.
Rollin' On The River (click link) - West County Swing Dance Club in St. Louis, MO
Meet Me In St. Louis - Rebels West Coast Swing Dance Club in St. Louis, MO
Summer Boogie Blast - Music City Bop Club in Nashville, TN
Boogie In The Bluegrass - Derby City Bop Club in Louisville, KYSweet Home Chicago - Chicago Windy City Jitterbug Club, IL
Move Across The River - Cincinnati Bop Club in Cincinnati, OH
Dancin' On The High Seas Cruises - American Bop Association
. . . and at all MSDF Club Dances (click link) - Midwest Swing Dance Federation
Biography of the Author
Henry H. "Skip" Culver, Jr. is a member of the West County Swing Dance Club in St. Louis Missouri. He is a Commercial Pilot, a Certified Flight Instructor and the author of the bestselling book on navigation titled: IFR 'Pocket Simulator' Procedures. His very popular 'pocket simulator' book was featured as the Main Selection of the Jeppesen Aviation Book Club and selected by their Editorial Board as one of "the ten best pilot books in print" (click on the title of his book above to review its contents). In addition to flying, Skip has also had a lifelong love of both photography (click on his picture below to view his gallery of photographs) and swing dancing. In the year 2004, inspired by his teacher and good friend Matt Auclair, he became a swing dance instructor certified by the St. Louis Imperial Dance Club. By carefully editing years of detailed, handwritten notes that he took at hundreds of classes and workshops, and with the unwavering encouragement of his dance partner Mary Kargel, Skip wrote Imperial Swing Dancing in order to preserve this stylized variant of East Coast Swing (sometimes called St. Louis Slot or Midwest Swing) for future generations of dancers. His popular manual is very easy to understand because he writes clearly without using ambiguous, "swinguistic" language when he describes the different dance moves. At the last Sweet Home Chicago convention, when Skip was asked who would benefit the most from reading his manual, he responded: “any dancer who wants to learn great swing moves that may be used with different dance styles and tempos of music. In other words,” he teasingly continued, “anyone who believes in kinetic rhythm by intelligent design!” Skip Culver is a frequent contributor of newsletter articles to swing dance clubs throughout the United States.
Bob Kuban is a local legend...a celebrated bandleader who is the personification of his times (click on his picture)! Generations of St. Louisans have danced 'the Imperial' to the music of his band and recently he authored a 300-page book titled: My Side of the Bandstand which is a stirring retrospective of his enduring musical career that began during the golden era of rock and roll and continues to this day. Although Kuban's
book does not describe any swing dance moves, it is chock full of captivating stories and personal experiences that
dancers of every age are certain to enjoy. From Bob's side of
the bandstand for over 45 years, his music has motivated thousands of his fans to learn Imperial Swing dancing and his popular band has changed the way that we see St. Louis. It was with my good friend Bob Kuban in mind that I created the whimsical picture below because I truly believe that his ongoing dances, which encourage us to learn 'the Imperial,' have figuratively transformed St. Louis into looking like a much more festive place!
Name: Henry H. (Skip) Culver, Jr.
Phone: (314) 401-4937
(. . . for a nostalgic, photographic retrospective of St. Louis)