Side job: Contractor teaches swing dance |

Side job: Contractor teaches swing dance

Susan Wood
Ken Bowers will be instructing West Coast swing dancing with assistant Lisbeth Smith.

A South Lake Tahoe building contractor wants to share his other talent with the community. And from the looks of what Ken Bowers wears, there’s no doubt what he does.

Bowers, 60, will be teaching West Coast swing dancing at Marcia Sarosik’s dance studio at 2107 James Avenue beginning Jan. 7 – with the help of his assistant Lisbeth Smith. Once-a-week classes will be scheduled every Friday night from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

“It’s date night,” he said, donning a jacket that has the word “dance” written across the back.

He expects couples and friends will come out to give each other moral support. The cost is $25 per couple, per class. Singles can sign up for $15, and children between the ages of 13 and 19 are free.

Bowers began dancing at age 10 in Texas but it was in 1993 that he took up swing dancing. Two years later, he entered competitions and has awards that line the walls of his home.

These contests have seen younger and younger participants. And those who make the convention circuit have become more and more serious about the activity.

In February, there’s a big one set for Sacramento in which Bowers anticipates 900 people will attend.

Bowers, who goes to Williams Blues Club at Bill’s Lake Tahoe Casino and the Aspen Lounge for fun, says dancing is a great way to socialize and is an enjoyable skill that women appreciate.

“The payback is when you go to a Bill’s or some other nice club and someone comes up after the dance and says: ‘You’re a really good dancer. Are you professional? You can’t get that anywhere else,” he said.

Bower’s classes accommodate newcomers, novices, intermediates, advanced dancers and advanced masters.

Unlike East Coast swing, the West’s version features a sophisticated upgrade of the Lindy or the jitterbug – which became popular during World War II.

Bowers can be reached at (530) 577-1212.

– Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at

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