Fall 2012

Swing, Swing, Swing

When her day job ends, Lisa Gualtieri dances the night away

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Lisa Gualtieri and her partner, Mike. Photo: Yoon S. Byun/Getty Images

Tall, slim, poised upright in her chair, Lisa Gualtieri looks like she’s about to go dancing from the instant you meet her. And she just might. Gualtieri, an assistant professor trained in computer science who teaches courses at the intersection of medicine and the Internet, has discovered swing dancing and pursued it avidly over the past few years in the company of her partner, Mike. She never took dance lessons as a girl, but says she always loved watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers perform on film—“the evening out, the band, the gowns, the whole bit.”

Lisa and Mike, who works as an analyst for Forrester Research, started dating six years ago and took a dance class together at a community center in Lexington, Mass., just for fun. The class offered a sampling of dance styles, including rumba, waltz, fox trot and swing. “Of these, we both loved swing the most,” Gualtieri reports. “Mike and I started dancing all the time.” Since their wedding, they haven’t missed a step. Although still fairly green in technical terms, they have managed to improve steadily, never hesitating to turn to a fellow dancer and say, “Oh, can you teach us that move? How did you do that?”

Now, Lisa and her husband circulate among dance sites near and far. The chosen spot may be an American Legion hall in Bedford, Mass., that features a DJ every Friday night, or an Elks Lodge in Leominster that hums to a swing combo on Sunday evenings, or the lounge at Luciano’s in Wrentham, or Swing 46, their favorite New York City club, featuring live music every night of the week.

Just last Sunday they were down in Providence, Gualtieri relates, in a small plaza framed by a splashing fountain atop Federal Hill. A man was crooning Frank Sinatra classics as she and her husband dipped and twirled in the open air. “It was a perfect summer evening,” she says.

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