Neal Klein began teaching an academic west coast swing course at Lesley University in 2009. While the students were hooked from the moment they started the class, west coast swing is first and foremost a social dance; thirty minutes of dancing at the end of class wasn’t enough for the students to truly practice and grow their skills. In 2011, he partnered with international instructor and professional dancer Rob Glover and acclaimed DJ and all-star dancer Joe Mahoney to form The Dancing Fools and create a community space for college students. The Dancing Fools began as a Sunday night lesson at the First Street Church in Cambridge, with a social dance afterwards at the nearby Fire + Ice restaurant. For six months, we were a small group of nine Lesley students and three instructors. At that point we saw a need to change to a new night; Sundays were better suited for catching up on homework and gearing up for an 8am statistics class than for dancing until midnight. We moved the entire operation to Fire + Ice and shifted from Sundays to Wednesdays. Our dance became a mid-week escape for students and adults alike, an alternative to traditional college parties, and a community centered around creative expression.
In five short years, we grew from our little group of twelve from Lesley University to well over 100 dancers from all walks of life every Wednesday night. We were all packed into Fire + Ice so tightly that it was hard to see the floor before 11pm, so in 2016 we moved to the spacious dance floor at the Cambridge Masonic Hall and currently fill the floor with 125-150 dancers every week. In addition to our regular attendance from students enrolled at Lesley University, Boston University, Northeastern University, Tufts University, and beyond, we also enjoy a diverse community of engineers, teachers, counselors, physicists, and more.