| Ms. Laurié Haile (La-Ray Hail)
Laurié ( Sometimes spelt as Lauré ) danced professionally in her younger years and appeared on television frequently as well as many ballroom competitions in ballroom dancing in her younger years. She also used to dance at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles and was present the night Benny Goodman played there and started the "Jitterbug" Swing craze, although she was primarily a ballroom dancer, she loved Swing Dance. In her later years she would teach, Judge and write and produce a huge monthly newsletter called the "Step lighter." She was very proficient in all the American and Latin couple dances.
Often times referred to as the "Bird Lady of Burbank" as she loved birds and had many at her residence. Towards the end, she would mainly adjudicate dance competitions and teach ballroom dance for Senior Citizens. However she still travelled to all the local dances around town and wrote about them, described any lessons and interviewed the dancers, teachers etc. in her newsletter.
Laurie Haile is credited for "writing the book on dance" for Arthur Murray and is credited as one of the people in the naming of West Coast Swing in California. In the early 1940's on Murray's request, Haile proceeded to document the dances and how they were being done in the local nightclubs and Ballrooms in the different cities. The result she found was that the Arthur Murray Studios in So. Cal were all teaching different styles of undocumented Swing in each city. In the clubs however, at that time, Dean Collins was leading most of the action along with with Lenny Smith and Lou Southern in the movies, night clubs and competitions circles in Southern California. Here she was to notice a different style of swing being done in these clubs, as they were not doing the AM Styles and so named the style she saw as "Western Swing" (Deans West Coast version of the dance.) The Clip above is a very short clip of her dancing West Coast Swing in the mid 1980's, sorry it's not longer.
This she reported back to Murray, which he began to teach it in the late 1940's calling it "Western Swing" and later "Rock and Roll". Many people claim that Murray created West Coast Swing, however, he was only one of the first studio's to include it in his dance syllabus, thanks to Miss Haile. She began teaching for Arthur Murray in 1945. Dean Collins taught Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Murray and his teachers in Hollywood and San Francisco in the late 1940's and early 1950's and would feature West Coast Swing on their popular half hour television show "The Arthur Murray Party ( Ran from 1950-1960).
In 1951 Laurié Haile first published her dance notes as a syllabus, which included Western Swing for the Santa Monica Arthur Murray Dance Studio. In the 50's she presented her syllabus in workshops across the U.S. for the Arthur Murray Studios. The original Laurié Haile Arthur Murray Western Swing Syllabus has been taught by Arthur Murray studios with only a few minor revisions for the past 50 years. ... She was a busy lady and just as good with a typewriter as she was with her feet.
Laurie also held the record for continuos turning, she did "Spot Pivots" for one and a half hours. Laurié was one of the sweetest ladies to ever grace the ballroom dance floor and was loved by all as well as missed by many that knew her.