- Louise Del Carlo | 1993
- Margaret Batiuchok | 2005
Margaret Batiuchok hard work, critical eye, creative drive, and love for dancing has inspired many. Beginning modern dance at age twenty, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from California Institute of the Arts in 1978. She began dancing Swing in her early 30’s while a pre-med student at New York University. She met George Lloyd, an African-American “Savoy Ballroom 400 Club” dancer (twice her age) and just six months later they won the 1983 Harvest Moon Ball at Madison Square Garden. Margaret then began teaching, performing, promoting, producing, and writing about Lindy for the Swing Community.
In 1988 Margaret received her Master’s Degree from NYU. Her groundbreaking 104-page thesis, “The Lindy,” and DVD’s produced with her partners Frankie Manning, George Lloyd, Charlie Meade and her partner/student Tom Lewis, remain important historic contributions documenting Swing Dance. Margaret has also written many articles (award winning) for Dancing USA, The Ballroom Review, Jitterbug Magazine, and Dance Action.
She co-founded the New York Swing Dance Society, NYSDS, in 1985, when there was no organized Swing dancing in New York. The NYSDS became a mecca for all generations, races, and level of dancers, with the weekly dances consistently drawing 300-500 dancers. Margaret, a volunteer board member who has hired the bands for over 20 years, has also been president since 1996.
Margaret launched the Lincoln Center Midsummer Night Swing series with Frankie Manning, where she recommends bands, teaches, and performs each summer. On closing night 2005,
she helped conceive, produce, and danced in a tribute to Illinois Jacquet. Margaret has produced many large tribute events honoring great dancers, musicians, and in 2006, the Savoy Ballroom. She currently performs with Savoy legend, Harvest Moon champion Sonny Allen.
When West Coast Swing was almost unknown in the East, Margaret traveled to national events as New York’s sole ambassador and brought the dance back home. She began teaching and held the first West Coast Swing Dance in New York, bringing West Coast Swing instructors to the NYSDS weekends. In 1986 and ’87 Margaret went to Myrtle Beach’s SOS to bring Carolina Shag to NYC. Now, venues for dancing Lindy, West Coast, and Shag are available in NYC every night of the week.
Teaching for over twenty years, Margaret ran weeklong Swing programs at Omega Institute, and has taught Jazz, Ballroom, and Swing at NYU. Currently teaching yoga-stretch and dance at Rockefeller University, teaching seniors elsewhere, dancing with children, and developing related arts workshops (poetry and art), she continues to run the annual Mohonk Swing Weekend, which she founded. She has judged and taught at a variety of events including the U.S. Open, NADC, Seattle Swing, Can’t Top the Lindy Hop, and Lindy Hop Showdown. She has shared her love of dance with many students (including John Festa), who have made their own major contributions to the Swing World.
Currently working on a new film documentary on Swing, Margaret Batiuchok continues to surprise, delight, and inspire through her commitment to the art of dancing.