Jack Sigler was a dancer even before he was born. His mother danced as a young girl in Russia . . . so, it was in his genes. Jack grew up in a ‘mixed’ culture neighborhood in Detroit. Watching his Black friends Tap dance, Jack eagerly picked it up on his own.

As time went by, the big band sound and Jitterbug dancing came into his life, and Jack began dancing to such greats as Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, and Count Basie. About that time, his family moved to San Diego and the war broke out. Then it happened . . . Jack was drafted! However, he auditioned with the USO, was accepted, and began performing in shows up and down the West Coast for the servicemen.

The war ended and Jack was released from the USO looking for work. He heard through a booking agent that the Hollywood Burlesque in San Diego was looking for a ‘hoofer’. He beat it over there, auditioned for the job, and got it! Jack worked with stars such as Lily St. Cyr and Gypsy Rose Lee. There was a new headliner each week, with many well-known and great entertainers. Jack can honestly say it was two years of the greatest, most rewarding experiences of his life.

Leaving burlesque, Jack joined the March of Dimes Organization, producing and directing a fundraising vaudeville show with Fro Brigham and his Blues Band. He then became very involved in West Coast Swing and in 1973 he joined the San Diego Swing Dance Club (one of the oldest dance clubs in the country). There, Jack served five terms as president, and for many years thereafter he has been the Master of Ceremonies for Swing dance contests in nightclubs all over San Diego. From the end of World II until the late 1990’s, Jack has been a key promoter of West Coast Swing, keeping it alive in the San Diego area.

Awards & Accomplishments:
  • 1950’s – Started teaching dance at a major dance studio at the age of seventeen
  • 1936 – Awarded “Dancer of the Year” by Dance Magazine
  • 1950’s-1970’s – Won numerous dance competitions with several dance partners
  • 1972 – Sponsored by the California Swing Dance Club to compete at the San Diego Swing Dance Competitions
  • 1989 – WSDC Swing Dance Hall of Fame Inductee
  • 1990 – National Swing Dance Hall of Fame Inductee
Bio information provided by Sonny Watson & Annie Hirsch - Photos courtesy of Annie Hirsch