7:30pm Door opens at Ashkenaz
8-8:30pm beginner lesson- Room 2
8:30pm contests prelim
10:15pm Band w/more Social Dancing
11:00pm finals (if needed)
$5-$10 class-advance; More at door.
$12 Dance-advance; $17 at door
Free youth under 15 w/paid adult.
$4 off w/'student' code
Spunky barely describes this youth, Ray Hirsch, from the hey-dey of swing!! This Legendary Lindy Hopper and 1930's-40's silver screen featured dancer will dance, tap and talk his way into your heart! Ray can tell stories about his good times both on and off screen with Mickey Rooney, Lana Turner, Judy Garland, Busby Berkeley, Alan Ladd, Fred Astaire and the Marx Brothers.
Although Ray considers himself more of a Lindy dancer than a Shag or Balboa Swing Dancer, he and his partner Patti Lacey, were featured doing shag steps in more Hollywood films than any other dancer. Ray broke into the film business, when he was a student at Hollywood High, after winning first place in a local 'Jitterbug' contest. He won a national jitterbug championship on Sept. 11, 1938; He says about the contest with Patty Lacey "[we] weren't the best Balboa or Lindy or Charleston dancers, but we were crowd pleasers.."
After that, he found himself appearing in several films doing Lindy and Shag. Marin resident Ray Hirsch veteran of stage and screen has been married for over 70 years to Betty (pictured).
As an original Lindy Hopper he appeared with his dance partner as a featured dancer. The dynamic duo were featured in a number of shorts and films with specialty swing dance segments in them, including "Blondie Meets the Boss," "Mad Youth," "Buck Privates," "Among The Living," "Her First Romance," "Artie Shaw's, Traffic Jam Shorty" and the short "Georgie Porgie." One of the couple's spectacular dance moves in "Mad Youth" made the cover of Life magazine (see detailed film credits and video clips below to right).
His movie-making career was interrupted by World War II when he served with the Marines as a master tech sergeant in support of torpedo bomber squadrons. After four years in the Pacific, he returned to the movie factories.
Although Hirsch could dance up a storm and sing and act as well, he knew he wasn't destined to be a leading man. "I'm not tall and handsome," he said. But he had a good time, and met his, Betty, when both of them were extras on "The Razor's Edge" in 1946.
In the early '50s, when his movie work became a drag because of some of the choreographers he reported to, he moved on to other pursuits.
For a while, he owned a barbecue in Las Vegas, then launched a 38-year career selling lingerie. He also raised Saint Bernards, and, with Betty, three children. He retired nine years ago.
Hirsch has been slowed by congestive heart disease, but he still dances, just more slowly. He attends a cardiac rehab program three days a week at the YMCA, greeting friends with a smile, song and dance.
"A couple of years ago, I got a call from New York asking, 'Are you Georgie Porgie?'" The result was a check for use of old movie footage in a Ford Escort commercial. Other clips of his fancy footwork have ended up in Virgin Airlines and Texas lottery commercials, and in the film "Kinsey."
He's also been asked to put his encyclopedic knowledge of dance to work as a judge at dance competitions and workshops. "It's opened up a whole new life," he said.
Youtube his movies... Ray Hirsch FILM CREDITS:
An interview with Ray Hirsch on his 91st Birthday the year we surprised him in SF: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfMXJTu8958&list=PL284A565AE59747B5
Blondie Meets The Boss (1939)
Part of the Blondie and Dagwood serial films, this film contains a dance contest scene which features some shag steps invented by Ray Hirsch and Patti Lacey. Dancers are Ray Hirsch (striped socks) with Patti Lacey (Her name is also written as “Patty” in credits of Georgie Porgie.) A guy reportedly named Max (striped blazer) does some Shag, but mostly LA Swing, with Barbara Kent. [UPDATE: Not Roy Damron, as IMDB suggest. The story goes Ray was supposed to be a body double for an actor in the film. Ray Hirsch has a photograph of the dancers from the film, and name "max (something)" is reportedly on the the guy in th striped blazer.]
Mad Youth (1940)
Originally titled "Marajuana Madness" this mental hygene film was intended to scare teens and parents away from the wild lifestyle that comes with drug use; however, what we are left with is some great jitterbug dancing from three couples.
The movie poster for this film describes “senses drowned in forbidden pleasures.”So, just think about that the next time you let someone Collegiate Shag. Ray Hirsch, once again striped, with Patti Lacey. Other dancers are Eugene Taylor, Aileen Morris, Maxine Taylor and Pearl Tolson.
Among the Living (1941)
Sure enough, these legs obviously belong to the dancers in that movie: Ray Hirsch and Patti Lacey are the couple on the left, and, based on IMDB information, Roy Lester and Jane Allen are probably the couple on the right. What’s neat about this clip? Ray Hirsch shows some Bal-Swing steps we haven’t seen him do before, most notably a twisty-footed V-slide with a strange inward turn to his feet. The other couple shows some Bal-Swing basic movement as well as Lindy Hop.
Buck Privates (1941)
The Andrews Sisters perform four songs in this film: You’re a Lucky Fellow, Mr. Smith, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, [I'll Be With You When It's] Apple Blossom Time and this one – Bounce Me Brother with a Solid Four. The Lindy hop sequence features Dean Collins, Jewel McGowan, Ray Hirsch and Patty Lacey. Plus Shim Sham by the Andrew Sisters in the middle.
Ride Em Cowboy (1942)
This clip featuring the Merry Macs and Ella Fitzgerald. Also features many types of swing dancing, but if you look closely, you'll catch Ray Hirsch and Patti Lacey doing a jam of some of his unique Collegiate Shag flash and crash moves. Dean and Jewel dance as well as some Harlem-style dancers.
Rings On Her Fingers (1942)
Dancers Ray Hirsch with Patty Lacey and Dean Collins & Jewel McGowan
Georgie Porgie (1946??)
Ray Hirsch and Patti Lacey are featured in this short. It’s interesting to mention Ray and Patti considered themselves good performers of flashy choreography, but did not think of themselves as incredible dancers.
OTHER QUOTES from Ray Hirsch about movies and such...
(here's Ray Hirsch behind Mickey Rooney on set & Patty and he jumping)
Hirsch signed with MGM and performed in dozens of movies and short films, flipped through his scrapbook collection the other day as he recalled his pals from the past.
- Astaire wore wooden soles on his shoes "because wood against wood makes a terrific sound," Hirsch said.
- Garland tickled him pink. "I asked would she like to go on a picnic and she said, 'What's a picnic?'"
- Berkeley liked the action at ringside. "I worked in six Busby Berkeley movies. On Wednesday nights we'd listen to the Gillette Fights together."
- The Marx Brothers were a hoot, but he still has a score to settle. "Groucho and Harpo screwed me out of dancing in 'The Big Store,'" Hirsch said.
- Lana Turner was a sweetheart. "Lana Turner was the only actor who ever went to bat for me," making sure he got extra work in one of her films.
- Rooney was a prodigious talent but was also "a gambler who was always broke" and needed to be reined in so as not to embarrass himself - or MGM.
- Alan Ladd wanted to be tall in the saddle. "I worked on a lot of his movies (because) he didn't like acting with anyone who was taller than he was," said Hirsch, who stood 5 foot 8.