Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Swing 1000

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

Swing 1000

Article excerpt


A couple shyly walk to the parquet dance floor as a Duke Ellington song begins to play. Their right hands touch, symbolizing the moment when romance and music meet. Her left hand moves to his shoulder, his to her waist. The dance begins.

No, it's not a scene from a sappy 1940's movie, it's a snapshot from Swing 1000, the new nostalgic nightclub at 1000 Central Ave. As soon as you walk in the art deco building with its spats-wearing manager, gourmet menu and seven-piece orchestra, it's clear this is not your average night spot.....

Men must wear jackets. That rule means the men look spiffy and the women can get dressed up as they want. From vintage dresses to sophisticated evening wear and short club dresses-the clothes are as varied as the clientele (Fortson, 1998).

This is the creative and enthusiastic description of Swing 1000 by a local newspaper reporter for the Charlotte Observer one year after it opened. Everyone who visited and experienced the club loved its atmosphere and excitement, but many questioned its future sustainability in Charlotte and especially in the Plaza Midwood area. However in three years Darcy Donavan, the mastermind behind the club, has created not only a success story, but is thinking of expansion.


Darcy Donevan, president of Swing 1000, a fine dining and dance club in Charlotte, NC, sits in her Cigar Bar looking at the future direction of her business. In 1997, she successfully opened a sophisticated nightclub in an area undergoing rejuvenation about a mile from uptown Charlotte, NC. Looking back the start-up was an exciting, dynamic experience that also held many lessons in business as well as faith, hope, and perseverance. However with the club now open, profitable, and the investors seeing some return on their money, she is looking towards the future. Should she open a club using the swing format in another city such as Atlanta or develop a totally new format such as a "60's Retro Theme" in the Uptown Charlotte area? Are there other options that should be considered? The only thing certain at this point is Darcy's continued passion and commitment to the business as expressed in her first comment; "The American dream is alive and well." This is a concept that she lived by and expressed often.


What is swing? Webster defined swing as "jazz music especially in its development after about 1935, characterized by the use of large bands, contrapuntal improvisation, and written arrangements for ensembles playing" (Webster). The swing movement may have its original roots starting as far back as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington with songs such as "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing." But swing didn't become a national craze until the likes of Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller in the 1030's and 1940's.

At the turn of the millimium swing was well on its way to returning to new heights of popularity. This rebirth and rise of swing dancing and music went back to the 1980's. In the early 1980's small groups of dancers began the revival but it was not until 1989 that the L. A. Royal Crown Revue began playing neo-swing. They were credited with launching the swing renaissance that became mainstream. Other musicians such as Brian Setzer Orchestra in 1992, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy in 1993 followed their success. In addition a variety of clubs began to open on the West Coast: Club Deluxe in San Francisco (1989) and the Derby in Los Feliz (1993).

This swing mystique was further popularized by films such as "Swing Kids" (1993), "The Mask" (1994), and "Swingers" (1996). The music industry promoted the trend with the released of an album by Royal Crown Revue called "Mugzy's Move" in 1996 and a CD by Squirrel Nut Zipper called "Hell" in 1997. Even TV ads picked up on the trend as the dancers for Gap khaki pants were swinging to "Jump, Jive an' Wail." The ultimate in TV promotion was the super bowl halftime show in 1999 that featured Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. …

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