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Happy Birthday Jewel McGowan, Queen of So-Cal Lindy

March 31, 2015

jewelmcgowan
Jewel Eleanor McGowan was born March 30, 1921. By 19, she was working as a dancer in music clubs, and doing the Southern California partnered street dance known to them as “Swing” (the dance that would evolve among a few of them into “Bal-Swing” as we know it). It was during this time in the late 1930s that a New Jersey Lindy Hop dancer going by the name Dean Collins came to town looking for a partner. He found Jewel, and out of their collaboration came what is now widely regarded as the greatest dancing partnership of the original swing dance era.

Jewel did not dance a lot of variations, but instead expressed her powerful voice in her movement and attitude. Without exception that I know of, every original Southern California dancer has acknowledged her as the Queen of Swing, and especially credit her swivels as being without equal.

Here is a compilation of her dancing created by Nick Williams:


In 1947 she married lighting director Klarence Krone. She passed away in 1962, probably of cancer. She is buried at Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale, Ca.

jewel gravestone
Photo by James R. Mason.
Special thanks to Reed Miller for his genealogy research on Jewel. The picture of Jewel was from the Atomic Ballroom website. See an article on Dean & Jewel by Shani Brown there.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2015 4:45 am

    This is so interesting. I love to swing dance.

  2. hotlips permalink
    July 11, 2015 8:16 am

    I would love to know what movies these scenes are from in order. I know I’ve seen most of them but can’t recall many of them.

  3. September 9, 2015 2:29 pm

    hi. i’ve got a question. Sorry for my English.
    By 19, she was working as a dancer…
    It was during this time in the late 1930s… Dean Collins came to town …

    she turn 21 in 1940, right? and Dean came to LA in 1936?
    so he was already there (working as a waiter) when she started to dance?

    do you have any idea when exectly they met each other?

    thank you for your great job and answer :-)

    she turn 21 in 1940, right? and Dean came to LA in 1936?
    so he was already there (working as a waiter) when she started to dance?

    do you have any idea when exectly they met each other?

    thank you for your great job and answer :-)

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