In the Spring of 2004 a weekly West Coast Swing Dance was developed via the St Louis Imperial Swing Dance club run by Michael Bicklein, Dawn DeGrushe and Maria Blackwell at the original Sports Café. Mike and Dawn took the venue on their own while Maria Blackwell moved to develop a Juniors division, building what eventually became the STL Rebels Juniors.
Lessons were provided on a weekly basis along with by-yearly J&J contests to provide the public with the competitive aspect of West Coast Swing. DJ’s, Mike Bicklein, Corey Bicklein, Dawn DeGrushe, Mike Cook, Keith McCulloh, Laura Dale Rutherford, Cory Johnson, Ruth Gilbert, Gayle Larson, Lauren McMillan and Ross Behrens were rotated into the weekly dances to provide a variety of WCS music to the public.
In the Spring of 2006 and after much success of the weekly dances, the St. Louis Imperial Swing Dance club’s representatives Jan Altman and Larry Eigland asked to help build ‘St. Louis Rebels West Coast Swing Dance Club’. Mike and Dawn took on the challenge and with the help of over 65 volunteers and supporters developed a business plan and carried it through fruition. Honorary mention goes to those that worked endless hours to make this happen.
Katie Slater-Hicks, Laura Dale Rutherford, Gayle Larson, Ruth Gilbert, Diane Kirley, Allen Kircshner, Kathy Kennedy, Cory Johnson, Jennifer Vaughn, Mike Berkel, Natasha Berkel and many many more. Mike Bicklein served as the first president of the club and at the time was the youngest president in the country serving for a West Coast Swing Dance Club.