Dance Mor Ballroom, Swisher, IA
Iowa Ballroom Project
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• 77 2nd Street, Swisher, IA •
photo by m kelleher (Mar 2003)
from IRRMA web site (2005)
Located between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids off I-380, Swisher is the home of Dance Mor Ballroom, which has been in continuous operation since 1932.
Actually the Dance Mor was known as the Paramount Dance Pavilion until the 1950’s. Originally the dance hall started as an open-air dance floor with snow fence around it! Then a roof was built over the dance floor but there were still open-air dances. Through the years additions were made until the entire building was enclosed and finished for year-round dances with the last major remodeling in 1956. Dance Mor remains the same to this day.
This all-wood structure with crawlspace and suspended hard Rock Maple dance floor is an example of true craftsmanship.
Musicians and customers enjoy the recording studio quality acoustics that are a benefit of this type of construction. Remember…the first bands used no amplifiers or P.A. systems.
Frank Strangler was the first to operate the dance hall; followed by his daughter Irma Kramer. In 1974, Dance Mor was purchased by Harold E. Davis and is currently operated by the Davis family.
Through the years, Dance Mor has seen many changes; yet the more things change, the more they stay the same. Young people from all generations love dancing to their favorite music. Since the 1930s, Dance Mor has seen, hosted and enjoyed the rise of polka, jazz, big-band swing, rock and roll, country swing and country rock; with all types of music mixed in as well. Thousands of people have fond memories of the Dance Mor in Swisher and many married people talk about having met for the first time at the ballroom. People of all ages recall dancing to their favorite bands at Dance Mor and all seem to remember events that occurred during those dances when they were young.
Tiny Hill was playing the Dance Mor when the end of World War II was announced. Artists who have graced the ballroom’s stage include: Lawrence Welk, the Dorsey Brothers, Glen Miller, Russ Morgan, Guy Lombardo, Sonny James, The Boxtops, Jay & the Americans, Barbara Fairchild, the Buckinghams, Stonewall Jackson, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels, Bobby Vinton, Gene Vincent, Bobby Goldsboro, Bobby Vee, Conway Twitty, Joe Diffie and many more top regional and national favorites.
Dance Mor still features live entertainment and is open Friday and Saturday nights from September through May. The Cedar Rapids and Iowa City areas have many hotels so people still drive from all points to attend the dances at Dance Mor Ballroom in Swisher.
This ballroom played a major role in bringing Iowa’s rock and roll bands before the public. It is with pleasure and gratitude the Dance Mor is inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.