Annie Hirsh is blessed with a family that loves music and dance, and dancing is always a part of her family gatherings. When her older brother, Danny taught her how to dance Swing, she knew she had found her passion! Yet, her early dance experience was very frustrating, for she couldn’t find others dancing the tight style of Swing she had learned from her brother. Discouraged, she became busy with a full time business and raising her two sons, of which she is very proud.

In the early 60’s she moved to Southern California and her friend, Patti Demaio took her to “The Water Wheel” in Covina where she, once again, saw the Swing dancing she loved. She recalls looking up and saying to herself “There is a God!” Years later, when some of the Swing dancers started fading out, Annie was very thankful for Kenny Wetzel’s ability to “keep us die-hards together” with his ongoing dances and she was always nearby, “Swinging” to Kenny’s music.

Anxious for the Swing World to grow, Annie volunteered her time to dance clubs and promoters across the country, helping them organize their dance events. In 1993, she co-founded the World Swing Dance Council with Skippy Blair, shortly after the “United States Swing Dance Council” closed its doors. Feeling a strong need for dancers to compete in their appropriate “level”, she developed the points tracking system and several competition guidelines that are still in use today. After retiring from her Chief Judge position that she’s held for many years, Annie is now the Contestants’ Liaison.

Annie Hirsch and her love, Jack Carey have dedicated their hearts and much of their lives to keeping the art of Swing dancing alive. They’ve supported the Jack and Annie Scholarship fund since Kelly Buckwalter started it in 1998. For more information, visit the Jack & Annie Scholarship Fund website that Jack Smith has volunteered his time and money to create. “Thank you, Jack Smith!”

Emcee, Steve Zener said it best in his introduction of Annie at Capital in 2006: “She created the World Swing Dance Council to serve the growing Swing dance community all over the world. She wouldn’t want me to mention how long she’s been in this dance world, because she’s forever young. She wouldn’t want or expect any special treatment, and yet – she’s earned the highest degree of respect that anyone could achieve in the dance world. She’s dedicated her efforts to all dancers – and focuses on promoting dance to the younger generations and supporting their efforts to excel and keep Swing dancing alive for future generations. Within every community, there are those with big hearts, who give endlessly and unselfishly of their talents and time to make the world a better place – and so it is with this gracious first lady of our Swing dance family. Mere words will always fall short of my true feelings of respect and admiration for this very special lady, Annie Hirsch.”

Awards & Accomplishments:
  • 1984 – “Queen of Swing” Award – Rebels Swing Dance Club
  • 1989 – “Legends of Swing” Award- Rebels Swing Dance Club
  • 1990 – Inducted in the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame
  • 1999 – Co-Founded the World Swing Dance Council
  • 1999 – Developed Points System for tracking Jack & Jill competitors
  • 1991 – U.S. Open Championships “Humanitarian Award”
  • 1994 – Feather Award: “Dancers Choice Award” for the National individual with the most impact
  • On Swing Dancing
  • 1995 – Feather Award Recipient: “National Best Swing Dance Couple (over 50) Masters”
  • 1995 – Windy City Swing Dance Club: “Chicago Swing Dance Community Service Award”
  • 1996 – National Swing Dance Hall of Fame Inductee
  • 1996 – National Dance Championships-TX: “The Annie Hirsch Award”
  • 1999 – Swing Break Dance Championships (Santa Clara): “Lifetime Achievement Award”
  • 2000 – Capitol Swing Dance Club,(Sacramento): “Swing Dance Community Service Award”
  • 2001 – Inducted: “Legends of Swing” (The Shag Community)
  • 2003 – Phoenix Swing Dance Club: “Swing Dance Community Service Award”
  • 2004 – Jack & Annie “Tribute”: “Swing Dance Community Service Award”
  • 2004 – Rocky Mountain Swing Dance Club-Denver: “Swing Dance Community Service Award”
  • 2005 – GSDTA Award: “Swing Dance Community Service Award”
  • 2006 – Voted USA Swing Dance Network “Person of the Year”
Bio information provided by Annie Hirsch & Steve Zener - Photos courtesy of Jack Carey & Annie Hirsch