Teddy Kern – Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient 2012

Teddy Kern’s love of dance started early on. At age 4 she started in Tap and Jazz, in her birthplace of Oklahoma. She continues learning and loving dance throughout her tender years, moving to Kansas City at age 14, where she started learning to Swing. It’s rather appropriate that her schooling in swing was “from the old black guys in the ‘wrong part of town’, where they hung out in the jazz clubs”. This education continued in college in Kansas followed by graduate school in California/Berkeley.

In the 70’s Teddy heart found NYC along with a full and diverse career in dance. When not teaching Ballroom/Swing and Tap, you might have found her as a dancer and emcee at Cat club and in the late hours in Harlem dancing Swing Small’s Paradise. In the 90’s she got together with other swing dancers and was a power player in the opening Dance Manhattan; iconic in the development and learning of the NYC swing scene. Years following this included discovery of the North River Bar with so many swing legends, and the beginnings of Gotham Swing Club (she was a charter member). Teddy was a supporter throughout, holding a position on the Board of the NY Swing Dance Society from its inception and for many years thereafter.

Though Dance Manhattan’s space has closed, Teddy continues to lend her support to the dance and swing community, working with You Should Be Dancing (Club 412) on classes and social dances. She can still be found at Gotham and swing events throughout the city.

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