Miami Valley Dance Council
History of the Miami Valley Dance Council (MVDC) (Dayton, Ohio)
~~~ Or ~~~
Who the heck was Michael Solomon and why is there a pavilion named after him?
(Much of the following information was compiled by Jo Bonnell in the 1980s with inputs from Michael Solomon, Grace Wolff, Roland Mock, Rose Graziano, Joe Hodson, Floyd Butterbaugh, Irene Miller, Edna Miller, and Russ Shafor. Additional information has been gathered and compiled by Leslie Hyll. It is expected that this page will expand as more information is gleaned from the archives.)
The Miami Valley Dance Council (in Dayton, Ohio) was formed in 1955. But to truly appreciate its history we have to go back to the 1940s.
v The Square Dance activity in Dayton, Ohio mirrored what was happening in the rest of the country.
o 2011-05 51st Ohio Dance Convention - History Display Photos 2 of 4 for more information on early Square Dance history.
v In the 1940s, local square dances were put on by organizations such as the YMCA. There were also local dance halls that held regular “50-50” dances – half squares, half ballroom. The style of square dancing in the 1940s was what is known as Eastern Style and visiting couple dances.
v In 1946, Michael Solomon, Assistant Superintendent of the City of Dayton Recreation Department, was introduced to “folk1 dancing” by neighbors William and Miriam Robinson. The Robinsons had learned some dancing when they were stationed in Vallejo, CA with the Navy, and were not finding a place to dance in Dayton. (1Don’t let the term “folk” scare you away – “folk” dancing in the 1940s and 1950s was heavily made up of American dances, especially square dances, in addition to European dances.)
v In February 1947, the Robinsons, the Solomons, and three other couples started dancing under the auspices of the Recreation Department. The Dayton Folk Dance Club was formed, the first dance club in Dayton to be sponsored by the City of Dayton.
o See 1947-12-14 DDN Article on DFDC - cut up format for a wonderful Dayton Daily News spread titled “Swing Your Partner.”
v In 1947, on a vacation to the west, Michael Solomon was exposed to Lloyd Shaw and the beginning of the “western-style” evolution of square dancing and brought that back to Dayton.
o See 2011-05 51st Ohio Dance Convention - History Display Photos 2 of 4 for more information on Lloyd Shaw and the “western-style” evolution of square dancing.
v Now Director of Special Activities for the Recreation Department, Michael Solomon taught dancing in various recreation centers throughout the city.
v In 1949, Michael Solomon taught Recreational Leadership Movement at the YWCA. During the party at the end of the course, there was enough interest in the new Western Style Square Dancing that he offered to teach them the new style if they would come back and bring partners.
v After 16 lessons, the Dayton Square Dance Club was formed in February 1950. They danced in recreation centers and schools, and in the summer they danced in the Community Club Pavilion (now known as the Michael Solomon Pavilion).
v The membership of the new club was limited to 100 couples – they didn’t have room for any more than 25 squares in a building!
v Soon there was a waiting list to join, so a second club was formed, the Dayton Associate Square Dance Club. The two clubs danced on alternate Fridays. The Dayton Associate Square Dance Club eventually became the Dayton Whirlaways.
v Michael Solomon’s main interest was teaching leadership. New clubs needed new leaders. So Michael Solomon started teaching and helping local callers and leaders, including Dave McDevitt, Grace Wolff, Bud Fraley, Spence Widenheft, and Lou Hyll.
v Michael Solomon kept starting new city-sponsored classes, in folk dancing, square dancing, round dancing, and new city-sponsored clubs kept being formed.
o 1947 - Dayton Folk Dance Club
o 1950 - Dayton Square Dance Club
o 1950 - Dayton Associate Square Dance Club (became Dayton Whirlaways in late 1950s)
o 1951 - Dayton Round Dance Club
o 1952 - Miami Valley Round Dance Club
o 1952 - Miami Valley Folk Dance Club
v Mr. Solomon believed that the proper leadership for a club was a 5 member council with one of the five to be the Chairperson. Many clubs are still organized this way.
Other written history of the Miami Valley Dance Council:
1986-02 MVDC History.pdf by Jo Bonnell
More about Michael Solomon:
Michael Solomon (more familiarly known as "Mike") was born in Beirut, Lebanon on October 20, 1902, while his mother was on a visit from the United States. He began his service with the City of Dayton on March 14, 1929.
He served in various capacities during his tenure with the City, but gained an outstanding reputation in folk, round, and square dancing in the city and nationally. Mr. Solomon organized the Miami Valley Dance Council which was sponsored by the Bureau of
Recreation of the City of Dayton. He also played an important part in the organization of many of the clubs which made up the council. Mr. and Mrs. Solomon were active members of several clubs and spent many hours dancing and teaching dancing each week.
In 1963, Mr. Solomon was awarded a plaque by the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association for his outstanding service to the park and recreation field. That Solomon personality, untiring zeal, vision and wise counseling will long be remembered by those who
He retired from the City of Dayton on May 29, 1964. Following his retirement, he was honored by the City of Dayton and the Miami Valley Dance Council with the dedication of the Michael Solomon Pavilion.
Mr. Solomon passed away in May of 1985.
You can explore all the digital files connected to Michael Solomon in the MVDC Digital Archive directory:
Here are some specific artifacts you may find of interest:
v As more clubs were formed, Mr. Solomon would invite the officers to his office to discuss mutual affairs. Finally, with 15 clubs, the Miami Valley Dance Council was formed in February, 1955. A constitution was written and regular meetings were scheduled. Michael Solomon remained the leader of the Miami Valley Dance Council until he retired from the City on May 29, 1964.
o MVDC Charter member clubs:
§ Associate Dayton Square Dance Club
§ Boots and Ruffles Square Dance Club
§ Bow and Swing Square Dance Club
§ Clayton Square Dancers
§ Dayton Folk Dance Club
§ Dayton Round Dance Club
§ Dayton Square Dance club
§ East Dayton Activities, Inc.
§ Fairborn YMCA Square Dancers
§ Knights of Columbus Square Dancers
§ Knollwood Square Dance Club
§ Merryantics (Square Dancers)
§ Miami Valley Folk Dancers
§ Miami Valley Round Dancers
§ Wright Field Square Dance Club
v The first business of the new council was to organize a City-wide dance festival that included square dancing, round dancing, and folk dancing.
v In 1959, the Miami Valley Dance Council started its newsletter, the Miami Valley Dance News.
o 1959-09-01 MVDN Vol I No 1.pdf – the first edition of the Miami Valley Dance News
v In 1962, the Miami Valley Dance Council hosted the Ohio State Dance Convention for the first time, “Swing and Sway Dayton Way”, the 4th Ohio
v In 1961, the Community Club Pavilion was winterized
v In May 1964, remodeling of the Community Club Pavilion was completed and became the permanent home for several MVDC dance clubs.
v In Nov 1964, the Community Club Pavilion was dedicated as the Michael Solomon Pavilion, in honor of the person who worked so hard for recreational dance in Dayton.
v When Michael Solomon retired in 1964, Clarence Thomas became the Director of Special Activities and led the Council.
v In 1970, the Miami Valley Dance Council was reorganized, with dancers taking direct control of the organization and the City Recreation Department as advisor.
v In 1972, the Miami Valley Dance Council sponsored its first square dance class (instead of being offered by the City).
v In 1974, the Honor Roll Dancers award program was introduced.
v In 1979, “To establish a planning and management organization for this and future Pavilion support actions and provide the financing necessary to assure their accomplishment, a MICHAEL SOLOMON SUPPORT COMMITTEE is activated as an “ad hoc” committee under the Constitution of the Miami Valley Dance Council.” The “this” in “this and future” was installation of exhaust fans in the attic of the Pavilion.
v In 1982, the Honor Raider badge for 100 raids was introduced.
v In 1982, the Council hosted the 23rd State Convention.
v In 1984, the Council hosted the 25th State Convention.
v In 1985, the club longevity award was introduced for clubs dancing at least 25 years.
v In 1986, the MVDC Friendship Badge was introduced, which could be earned by visiting Council clubs that you were not a member of.
v In 1986, the Council Hot-Line was started.
v In 1987, the Council started carrying a liability insurance policy for all member clubs.
v In 1988, the Council hosted the 29th State Convention.
v In 1991, the Council hosted the 32nd State Convention.
v In 1995, the Council hosted the 35th State Convention.
v In 2001, the Council hosted the 41nd State Convention.
v In 2006, the Council hosted the 46th State Convention.
v In 2011, the Council hosted the 51st State Convention.
Copyright © Miami Valley Dance Council 2013
Page last updated 06/15/2013. This page maintained by the MVDC Historian, Leslie Hyll.