Jack Carey grew up in Southern California, learning Tap, Jazz and Swing, first dancing at a very young age with girls in his neighborhood. (He says he was forced to dance with them.) His interest in Swing grew through high school and later on he was dancing Swing at the local clubs. During World War II his travels introduced him to various forms of Swing and when he was discharged from the service, he studied Jazz and Tap with the great Jack Cole.

Jack learned early on that Swing was his true love. He feels fortunate to be a part of the Swinging Era, with the big bands performing everywhere. By the time Jack started competing in dance contests in the Los Angeles area he had excelled in Swing with his partner, Lorraine Edwards. They became top competitors in the dance clubs competition circuit, winning the Harvest Moon Ball in 1949. That competition, sponsored by the LA Examinerlater becoming the LA Times) was very impressive with celebrities and the year Jack and Lorraine won the competition, Gene Kelly headed the judging panel.

Jack and Lorraine later appeared in the movie “Living It Up”, starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. The movie featured a legendary Swing dance scene, with many of the top Swing dancers of the day. Jack is very proud to have danced in Vaudeville at the Orpheum Theatre. At the Million Dollar Theatre, he performed on stage with Sammy Davis Jr., Nat King Cole, and Lionel Hampton. Jack also enjoyed performing in early Television on “The Bob Hope Show”, “Meet Millie”, “The Benny Rubin Variety Show”, “Eddie Cantor”, and “The Red Skelton Show”.

Jack’s style  is very smooth, clean, syncopated and fun. He has been featured in many magazine articles, including Life Magazine (he is the one with the “droopy socks”) and the Herald Examiner Newspaper (now the LA Times). Jack is credited with coining the term “Jack & Jill” in the 1950’s and inventing a particular type of dance contest in which the dancer does not know in advance what the music will be, nor who will be his or her partner. Jack is also credited with advancing the slotted form of West Coast Swing.

Jack Carey continues to be an active judge, serving as the chief judge at numerous dance events across the country, including the U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships. Along with his partner in life, love and Swing, Annie Hirsch, he has been instrumental in keeping Swing dancing alive from coast to coast. This introduction by emcee, Steve Zener says it best, “Jack continues to inspire us with his zest for life, his love for Annie, his talent for dance, and his ability to stay up later than most of us to dance the night away.”

Awards & Accomplishments:
  • 950’s – Started teaching dance at a major dance studio at the age of seventeen
  • 1940’s – 1960’s – Emceed and promoted dance contests in the local night-club scene
    (3-4 contests/week)
  • 1949 – Harvest Moon Ball Competition winner, promoted by the LA Examiner
  • 1950’s – Introduced the concept of the ‘Jack & Jill’ Competition in Southern CA
  • Since 1983 – Member of the U.S. Open Championships Advisory Board (since its beginning)
  • 1989 – Rebels SD Club “Legends of Swing” Award
  • 1990 – Jack Carey & Hal Takier were the first male California Swing Dance Hall of Fame Inductees
  • 1991 – National Swing Dance Hall of Fame Inductee
  • 1992 – Humanitarian Award: US Open Swing Dance Championships
  • 1993 – Swing Dance Teachers Association Humanitarian Award
  • 1995 – Feather Award Receipt: “Best Swing Dance Couple (over 50 years)” – Masters
  • 1995 – Rocky Mountain SD Club-Denver, CO – “Swing Dance Community Service Award”
  • 1995 – Windy City Swing Dance Club – Chicago – “Swing Dance Community Service Award”
  • 1996 – American Swing Dance Championships, New York – “Memorial Community Award”
  • 2001 – Inducted into the Shag Community’s “Legends of Swing”
  • 1999 – Swing Break Dance Championships (Santa Clara) – “Lifetime Achievement Award”
  • 2003 – Capital Swing Dance Club – “Sacramento-Dance Community Service Award”
  • 2003 – Phoenix Swing Dance Club – “Swing Dance Community Service Award”
  • 2003 – Rocky Mountain Swing Dance Club (Denver) – Service Award
  • 2004 – Jack & Annie Tribute Swing Dance Community Service Award
  • 2005 – GSDTA – “Swing Dance Community Service Award”
Bio information provided by Jack Carey & Sonny Watson - Photos courtesy of Jack Carey & Annie Hirsch