Sandee Chavez Bryant

Shining Star 1990

Golden Star 2018

Sandra Bryant was born in Detroit, but her family moved around in her early years. At 16, Sandee was able to take lessons at an Arthur Murray studio in Oakland California. You had to be 21 to take lessons at Arthur Murray, but she had an Aunt that worked at the studio who smoothed the way. Sandee was such a quick study combined with being a naturally talented and passionate dancer, within two weeks she started teaching at the same studio and by 18 she was the studio Dance Director.  As happens to many a dancer, Sandee fell in love, got married, had a child, and did not dance for many years.  But to a dancer such as Sandee, the dance itch never truly leaves a person.  She moved from Oakland to Los Angeles and started teaching as an independent instructor working in many different studios, including the occasional series at Skippy Blair’s studio.  Sandee continued to teach all the dances she loved, including Cha-Cha and Mambo. But Sandee still loved swing, and she loved teaching swing to those students who really wanted to learn the subtleties of the dance. Sandee recalls several memorable and excellent swing dance partners during her career.  The well-known Vic Tomeo and Bob Hageman in San Francisco and Oakland Bay Area.   Then once she moved to Southern California, she danced with other great swing dancers Bill Joslin and Robert Collingsworth.  Sandee Chavez Bryant would eventually marry Robert Collingsworth, and Robert ended up changing his last name to Bryant.  Even though Sandee preferred the spontaneity and inspiration of just dancing with another good leader, she also excelled in numerous competitions of the day with Bob and Bill.  Many of these contests were also organized and presided over by other legends of the day. One such event was the 1977 National Swing Competition held in Los Angeles, where the Emcee was Dean Collins and the Judges were such greats as Laure’ Haile, Harry Berlin, Rick Hannah, Kenny Wetzel, John Dennis, and Norman Hirsh.Due to her technical expertise and phenomenal musicality, Sandee was a sought-after adjudicator. Judging not only Swing Dancing but other dance forms for over 30 years. Sandee’s distinctive swing was very inspirational to other dancers of the time. As her swing was smooth like glass, with slick effortless movements, executing stylish but complex footwork with infinite varying rhythms. One of those she influenced was the indomitable Annie Hirsch. As such, Sandee was the recipient of numerous and well-deserved accolades and honors, and she was one of the original founding inductees into the California Swing Dance Hall Of Fame in 1990.  Sandee Chavez Bryant still continues to get out to Swing Dance and continues to support the swing community and the California Swing Dance Hall Of Fame.