Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo dance celebrates V-J Day


Swing dancing. • It's not just for the "Greatest Generation" anymore. • Saturday night, dozens of guys and gals of all ages showed up at the Largo Community Center to celebrate the 65th anniversary of V-J Day — Victory over Japan Day — the date when Japan announced its intention to surrender at the end of World War II.

Beginner lessons were given from 7 to 8 p.m. by instructor Arleene Norman, or better known on this evening as the infamous Tokyo Rose. She owns Savoy South, a business that puts on swing dance parties at the community center every Saturday night.

After the lessons, the lights went low, the disco ball started spinnin' and the place got rockin' with Big Band vibes like Sing Sing Sing and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. Of course, there were plenty of heart-melting slow dance ditties, too, like the Tennessee Waltz.

On the stage, a slide show featured vintage movie posters, pin-up girls, and World War II combat scenes.

Many came in period clothing.

Elaine Long, 65, wore a navy blue dress, cinched at the waist with a full skirt. White pumps, hairpiece and belt completed her look.

"This is an old dress of my mother's," said the Clearwater resident. "These are old pearls she gave me years ago. I'm a bad one for saving things."

Others brought memories and memorabilia.

Anna Berkey, 83, of St. Petersburg, had her yearbook from the Cadet Nurse Corps, a program to train nurses during World War II. "Uncle Sam paid my way," she said.

The war ended before she graduated (in 1947), but she had a nursing career that spanned three decades.

Though she never served on foreign soil, she said she did her part.

"They took us to dance with veterans at Fort Dix (in New Jersey)," she said.

Lee King, 88, of Clearwater served in the 37th Infantry Division and showed off his badges, awards and ribbons, including a Bronze Star for valor.

James C. Alison of St. Petersburg said he was proud to be a Marine.

"I've been a Marine all my life," said the 87-year-old. "I'm not on active duty anymore, but I wish I was, though I doubt they'd take me."

Bill Carlisle, 82, of Dunedin was among the veterans who helped cut a cake donated by the Greater Tampa Bay Dance Meetup Group, a networking group for dancers.

"When I was in boot camp, they dropped the bomb," he said.

For Amy and A.J. Freda, it was a night of freedom and liberation — from the baby.

"We haven't been out for a long time because we have a 6-month-old at home," said the 28-year-old St. Petersburg mother. "This is date night for us."

Swing dancing

When: 7 to 11 p.m. Saturdays. • A special sci-fi-themed swing dance is slated for Sept. 25.

Where: Largo Community Center, 65 Fourth St. NW • Smoke-free venue; all ages welcome.

Cost: $5 (includes group dance lesson from 7 to 8 p.m.)

For more information: Call (727) 518-3131.

Largo dance celebrates V-J Day 08/17/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 9:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Video: Rays Souza on that oh-so-bad dive, and reaction from Twins fans


    What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking when he made that oh-so-bad dive for a ball in the seventh inning Friday? Well, we'll let him tell you ...

  2. What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking on that comically bad dive?


    What could Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. been thinking in the seventh inning Friday when he dove for a ball and came up yards short?

    Actually, he insisted after all the laughing, teasing and standing ovation from the Twins fans was done, it was a matter of self-preservation.

  3. Judge tosses life sentences for D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo


    McLEAN, Va. — A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

    A federal judge has tossed out two life sentences for D.C. sniper shooter Lee Boyd Malvo. [Associated Press, 2004]
  4. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, dies


    Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. He was 89.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, participates in Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2009, in Washington, D.C. [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
  5. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win


    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.