The Midwestern United States Imperial Club aka M.U.S.I.C. began in July of 1978 as the first swing dance club in Illinois. Music is a non-profit organization. We offer a wide range of dance instructions, special events and social interaction among members. M.U.S.I.C. firmly believes swing did not come to a standstill in a particular year, with a particular style, but undergoes continual evolution. We are dedicated to promoting swing dancing and encourage young and old alike to come experience the joy in dancing. (See more information and pictures at bottom of page)
No partner required.
We meet at:
Collinsville VFW POST 5691
1234 Vandalia St. Collinsville, IL 62234
Midwestern United States Imperial Club (M.U.S.I.C.)
In July of 1978, after several years of dancing 2-3 times a week in St. Louis, Nici Mahlandt decided to drive less and promote swing dancing in Illinois. With two friends – Bonnie Puschaz, and Kathy Bolton– she placed an ad in the Edwardsville paper and got a dance space in the local YMCA on Esic Drive. Twenty people showed up, and the E.S.I.C. (East Side Imperial Club) dance club was formed, named after the street.
Within a year, the club had grown and moved to The Well, in Glen Carbon, IL. The club was renamed M.U.S.I.C. – the Midwestern United States Imperial Club – to honor the fact that member dancers were coming from both Illinois and Missouri for the dances. Nici lived nearby and each Sunday she would pack her car with cold sodas, a coffee urn, crates of long-plan LP’s and 45’s, a turntable and pair of speakers. A club member soon made a DJ stand which could be locked and left at The Well, but the sodas and records still went back and forth so they could be played at after-hours clubs.
In May of 1979 several club members from M.U.S.I.C. and the SLIDC went to the Southwest Regionals in Tulsa, OK, where we could watch…but not compete. A challenge was made to the Midwest Clubs from the Tulsa Swing Club, and on March 22, 1980 the 1st Annual Midwest Challenge was held in St. Louis, co-produced by the SLIDC and M.U.S.I.C. Each club was allowed six competitive couples in the Open and Novice divisions. Of the 33 competing couples, M.U.S.I.C. had 6 Novice and 4 Open competitors. We took 2nd in the Novice Division, and 2nd and 5th in the Open. The 2nd Annual Challenge was held in Tulsa, and the 3rd Annual (which allowed other Midwest Clubs to fill any empty slots) in Collinsville, IL, chaired by Nici Mahlandt, who had written the original Challenge rules and by-laws. The attendance for the 3rd Annual Midwest Challenge, hosted by M.U.S.I.C., was almost 1,000 dancers.
The amazing helpers, dance committees, and officers for M.U.S.I.C. changed over the years, but Nici remained president until she moved to the East Coast in 1987. She was responsible for the creation of the name, the logo, and the blue and white banner that was displayed at dance competitions, and insisted on the advanced training of qualified judges prior to the Challenge competitions. In those early years, classic dancers often rumbled about the changes in the music we danced to, and the dance patterns we embraced as we became a part of the swing culture across the country, but Nici wrote “M.U.S.I.C. firmly believes swing did not come to a standstill in a particular year, with a particular style, but undergoes continual evolution.”
Founding members: Nici Mahlandt, Bonnie Puschaz, Kathy Bolton, Carol Litteken, Richard Schademann, Barb Halbrooks-Baker, JoAnn Rawson, Stan Gregowicz, Dale and his sister Shirley Rouggly, Pete and Sue Bastas, Dave and Beth Blackwell, Tom Bentrup , Marnie Place, and great dancers from St. Louis who came regularly and who helped teach intermediate classes and judge's seminars - Harry and Linda Henderson, and Harold and Kathy Martin.