Five guys named Mike.
Yes, there are five of them. And yes, they are all named Mike.
For several years, fans if the swing dance variant from across Boston have flocked to the First Church of Cambridge auditorium every Monday night to meet, greet and dance their hearts out. And among the Monday night crowd mingle five men in red shirts with numbers stitched onto their chests.
Four years ago, Mike Jonas, Mike Smith, Mike Hibarger and Mike Muno happened to meet in the same swing class. Jonas’s friend Ellen Shapiro—fondly referred to as “Mike 5.1”—found it hilarious that she danced with four Mikes every week, and gave each a numbered nickname to keep them straight.
After progressing from East Coast six-count swing to the more difficult eight-count Lindy Hop, the Mikes began to practice their moves every Monday night in Cambridge. Smith—Mike #2—brought a boom box, and danced with a dozen or so regulars. One of these was Mike Puschak, who brought the “Mike count” to five.
Tragedy nearly struck when Muno became too busy to lindy hop every week—but an answer was found when yet another, Mike Richter, began to come to practices.
And then, they had a name as they began to compete and put together a regular Monday night dance, Mike Smith dubbed the group “Five Guys Named Mike” after the ’30s Lindy Hop hit “Five Guys Named Mo.”
An activity for all skill levels
Nowadays, up to one hundred dancers, ranging in age from 18-40, attend the Monday night “practices” in Cambridge.
Whether the dancers are national competitors or just go to have fun, it’s obvious they know what they’re doing. Many wear souvenir “Swingin’ New England” or “Boston Swing Exchange” T-shirts.
Smith—Mike #2—still mans the DJ equipment.
“Tastes change rapidly,” he says. “I have to get a library of completely new music every month.”
Though he has become a nationally recognized swing DJ and competes at Lindy Hop competitions through the country, Smith hardly misses a Monday night in Cambridge.
“This is one of the best social dances around,” he says. “Of course I’m a little biased.”
Jonas (Mike #1) and Hibarger (#3) also compete national