The Swing Dance Community Loses a Beloved Friend

Amy in New OrleansOn Sunday, May 1st, we lost Amy Denissen, a beloved member of the LA/OC Swing dance community. This is the statement her family posted on her Facebook page:

This morning, Amy – our beautiful daughter, sister and friend – is at peace with her loved ones in heaven after a six year journey with ovarian cancer. Amy was full of gusto, passion, compassion and kindness. A committed teacher who cared deeply about her students, Amy was a public sociologist whose research and writing was focused on making this world a better and more just place. A fierce activist for social justice, Amy is celebrating May Day (International Workers Day) with us from her place in heaven. Striking a pose at two years old, Amy never stopped dancing. Dance was a lifelong passion, an art, a celebration, and most importantly – a community. One she cared deeply for. Information on a Celebration of Life and Memorial will be shared in the coming days. Amy, you will dance in our hearts forever. We love you.

Last night, friends of Amy gathered at Joe’s Bar to celebrate her life and remember her. Fittingly, her favorite Swing band, Dave Stuckey and the Hot House Gang, was playing.

Amy was a friend of mine and an amazingly wonderful person. I knew her since the days of the Derby, but have some of the fondest memories of her from a trip a we took to New Orleans with our “gang” of Swing dancers in 2014. We had many game nights, movie nights, BBQ’s, and other gatherings that went beyond Swing dancing. Amy always lit up the room.

In the midst of her illness, Amy was incredibly brave and always had a warm smile for everyone. You would never know that she had a life-threatening illness judging by her demeanor. I never detected even a slight trace of bitterness or anger. She continued to Swing dance and even entered some Swing dance competitions and won!

Amy touched so many people with her kind and caring spirit. We’ll miss you Amy.

I don’t think words can convey the joy that Amy brought into so many lives, so I’ll end with this photo gallery. Many of these have never been seen publicly. Feel free to use these in any memorial for Amy. – Brian

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Ruby Leigh
Ruby Leigh
5 years ago

So sad, what a beautiful spirit!

Sandy Burris
6 years ago

Good words, and great pix! <3

Kay Hwangbo
Kay Hwangbo
6 years ago

Thank you for posting this, Brian.

Simple Tan-Morin
Simple Tan-Morin
6 years ago

This breaks my heart to read!! You will be dearly missed Amy!!