South O Jitterbug Gets a History Lesson at OPL

“At Washington Branch for film/discussion on swing jazz!” Lacey Merica tweeted last month.

On August 13, Merica attended Swing Jazz, an event that featured a scholar-led discussion and a documentary film viewing. The educational session at Omaha Public Library’s Charles B. Washington Branch was part of “America’s Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway.” A major grant made it possible for OPL to host the special series, a project of the Tribeca Film Institute.Lacey Merica photo

Merica “really enjoyed” the Swing jazz session, and she gained knowledge that will enhance and further the meaning of her dancing. “Dance is about so much more than the basic steps your feet are doing – it’s about feeling the music and moving along with it. If you know the history behind the music you are dancing to, it adds another layer to what you are able to express through your dancing,” she shared. Also, she left feeling inspired to brush up on the history of Swing jazz; she’ll dig into Ken Burns’ documentary Jazz, and will learn more about the country’s first integrated all women’s band, The International Sweethearts of Rhythm.

The South Omaha born and raised Jitterbug discovered and fell in love with swing dancing in 2011, stating Lindy Hop, Charleston and Balboa as her favorite dances. The art of this type of dance was a natural fit for someone who had “always been fascinated by the 1920s-‘40s, especially music, dance, and fashion.”

Merica spent much of her youth “growing up” at South Omaha Library. She went to UNL for undergrad, UNO for her MBA, and is back where it all began: South Omaha. She currently represents South Omaha and northern Bellevue on the OPS School Board.

One last note from Merica: Libraries have evolved. “This isn’t your parents’ library!” she exclaimed. “I think it’s great that OPL is finding new ways, like yoga, ballet, gardening [and this] music series to bring people to the library and introduce them to everything that’s available.”

What’s your passion? There’s a program or event at a Library branch near you that you’ll enjoy. View the calendar of events on

Lacey Merica dancing

Lacey Merica, dancing at an event.


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