Phil Trau was born June 13, 1936 in San Francisco, California to the proud parents of Leone and Phil Trau Senior. Phil was just a baby in the cradle when his father knew he was going to be a dancer, for when music was playing, baby Phil’s legs would start moving, and when the music stopped, baby Phil’s legs stopped. The boy was born with rhythm.

Phil started taking tap dance lessons at the Betty Roopes Dance Studio in Marine County with his sister, Judy at the age of ten years old. They continued their dance training in San Francisco at the Mason and Kahn Dance Studio. (Mr. Kahn was the dance director for the San Francisco Ice Follies for forty years.) As their dance skills became more refined, Phil and Judy danced with Phyllis Diller, the Kingston Trio, and Johnny Mathis for several years. The brother/sister act entertained for the Sixth Army Special Services during the Korea War and were flown to many military locations. They entered a dance contest with Channel 5, KPIX, “The Eagles Hour” and won eight weeks in a row, dancing into the finals and coming in second to Johnny Mathis! They also danced several times in the Jerry Lewis Telethon in Sacramento.

Phil’s first Swing experience was at the “Garden Inn” in Hayward, California. He could dance Jitterbug, so he entered the West Coast Swing contest. Coming in last gave him the incentive to start taking West Coast Swing lessons with Bill Joslin, then from Jessie Nuputi (founder of the “Good Time Swing Club”), and then from Frankie Mannion until his untimely death. Phil’s first Swing dance partner was Luzon Hanson. Together they won many of the local contests in the Bay area. At that time, dancing and contests were going seven nights a week.

Phil met Ed Cirio in 1977 and was inspired by Kenny Wetzel’s “Top of the West” in Southern California. With much encouragement from Kenny, Phil and Ed started teaching at a restaurant in Burlingame called “Beardsleys.” The dance hall was upstairs, so they named it “Top of Beardsleys” with Kenny’s blessing. Since the opening in 1978, they’ve thrown three very large New Years parties, held four successful conventions, and will celebrate their 28th year of teaching on April 30th, 2006!

Walt Harmon, a lobbyist in California, started taking dance lessons at “Top of Beardsleys” and became very interested in Swing. He decided that California should have a state dance and that it should be Swing, initiating West Coast Swing becoming the official California State Dance.

Phil has been the deejay, has taught, judged, danced, and served on many committees throughout the country for many years. He is still active and continues to have “Top of Beardsleys” with his partner Ed Cirio every Wednesday in San Mateo, at 100 North B Street. With his competitive nature, Phil has won many Swing dance contest and awards throughout the years – to name a few:

Awards & Accomplishments:
  • Member of the United States Dance Council – Founding Committee Member
  • 1978 – Co-Founder of the “Top of Beardsleys” in Burlingame, CA
  • 1982 – U.S. Open Swing Dance Competition Advisory Committee Member
  • 1984 – San Francisco Swing Dance Club – 1st Place Winner Dance Contest
  • 1984 – U.S. Open Swing Dance Competition – Showcase Division – 6th Place
  • 1985 – Launched, Jim Gaberts, “Dance Party” Television Show – Channel 20
  • 1986 – U. S. Open Humanitarian Award, Phil Trau and Ed Cirio
  • 1986 – U.S. Open Swing Dance Competition – Classic Division – 1st Place
  • 1987 – U.S. Open Swing Dance Competition – Classic Division – 1st Place
  • 1987 – San Diego Swing Club – 1st Place
  • 1988 – San Diego Swing Club – 1st Place
  • 1989 – U.S. Open Swing Dance Competition – 1st Place
  • 1990 – U. S. National Swing Dance Competition – 1st Place Male
  • 1990 – U. S. National Swing Dance Competition – Classic Div. – 1st Place
  • 1991 – U.S. Open Swing Dance Competition – Classic Division – 2nd Place
  • 1992-2002 – D.J. for the U.S. Open Swing Dance Competitions
  • 1992 – Feather Award Winner
  • 1992 – U.S. Open Swing Dance Competition – Grand Champion – 1st Place
  • 1992 – San Diego Swing Club – 1st Place
  • 1994 – National Swing Dance Hall of Fame Inductee
  • 1997 – Jack & Jill O-Rama – 1st Place
  • 1998 – San Diego Invitational – 1st Place
  • 2003 – Winner of the D.J. Hall of Fame
Bio & pPhotos provided by Phil & Sandy Trau