In Memorium

Special Friends, Partners, Teachers

"Goodbye,” said the fox.  “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret:  it is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

“What is essential is invisible to the eye,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

— Saint Exupery 

These people mattered in my life.  A lot.  I’ll always remember them.


Tom Clifton (1952-2009)

Friend and teaching partner at Northwest Dance Network (NDN) 2004-2006. Tom and I taught west coast swing, nightclub two step, country two step, hustle, and other dances.  He was an amazingly skilled and talented dancer, an eloquent partner, the quintessential gentle man, willing straightman to my goofiness and sass, light hearted, and bright spirited.  I miss him.


Bruce Watson (1946-2009)

Good friend and dance partner, Bruce and I danced together at Living Traditions, 1999-2005, and TA’d together most of that time.  We discovered we were born six months apart in nearly the same town — he in St. Paul, me in Minneapolis, MN — right across the river from one another.  Out here in the far-away-west, that made us sorta siblings, and some how that was special.  I loved his approach to life, “If you don’t have a sense of humor, it’s just not funny.”  And am reminded often of his wish for us.  “I hope you dance.”

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  Frankie Manning (1914-2009)

One of my first lindy teachers, it is Frankie I try to emulate when dancing and teaching swing and lindy hop. I learned lindy from him and took jazz from his son, Chazz, at the first Swingout Northwest dance week, put on by the Savoy Swing Club in Port Townsend in 1998.  He’s one of my heroes.


Jesse Mittleman (1919-2014)

Jesse danced at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem during its heyday.  He and his wife, Evelyn, “discovered” me at the July 4th celebration street dance on Bainbridge Island in about 2003.  She pointed me out to Jesse and said, “Look! She dances like you do!”  He came over and asked my partner for permission to dance with me, and that was the beginning of a beautiful dance friendship. He may no longer be here, but I suspect he hasn’t stopped dancing.  

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