Damon has been dancing his entire life, starting with vernacular Jazz/Blues first taught to him at the tender age of six by his grandmother. After nearly a decade of learning at the heels of his elders, he went on and eventually studied a score of different dance forms until coming full circle in 1995 to focus primarily on the history and styles of Swing and Blues as his family danced them with a special focus on the Southern styles from the Mississippi Delta region. He has studied the development of vernacular Jazz/Blues dance across the United States learning from a number of the original dancers.
He is largely regarded as one of the foremost authorities on Blues idiom dance, a long time board member of the Northern California Lindy Society, former member of the California Historical Jazz Dance Foundation, and has been interviewed as a dance historian in documentary and for radio. Damon has been a featured instructor at camps, festivals, and workshops across five continents.
Learn more about Damon at his website: http://damonstone.dance/about/
Kelsy brings her lifetime of dance training, a passion for vernacular dance, and a sharp eye for technique to the Blues dance world. She has brought her joy and knowledge of blues idiom dances to some of the most high-profile events in the US, including but not limited to: bluesSHOUT!, The Experiment, and Nocturne Blues--serving as faculty, mentor, competition coordinator, and judge.
Kelsy's critical eye and love of deep technique are tempered by her love of "dad jokes," getting lost in the music, and embracing of the ridiculous. She shows her appreciation of African American culture by speaking of the history of Blues idiom dance and taking her craft seriously, but never herself. She believes every mistake is an opportunity to learn, every class an opportunity to challenge, and every dance an opportunity to pay respect to those who came before.
Laney is a blues dance instructor, organizer, and DJ. She has been dancing Lindy Hop and blues for over 10 years, with some dabbling in tango and hip hop. She also loves lifting heavy things – it has given her confidence, better quality of movement, and has completely changed her dancing. She loves shaking her booty to any genre of music that encourages it. As a teacher, her goals are to integrate a little history and a little musicality into every lesson.
1st place – Open JnJ at bluesSHOUT! 2015, JnJ at Blues Muse 2015, Strictly at Winter Blues 2014
Finals – JnJ & solo comp at Enter the Blues, Jill & JnJ at Blues Muse, JnJ at Winter Blues, Solo Comp at Nocturne Blues 2014
Learn more about Laney at her website: https://laneybarhaugh.com/about/
Julie’s expressive dancing and dynamic connection are known throughout the blues dancing world. With a background in theatre and solo dance and an undying desire for continued learning, she is best known for her solo movement, choreography, aesthetics, and killer follower expression.
A hard-working competitor, Julie has won many national competitions, including North Star Blues 2017 Invitational Cuttin’, bluesSHOUT! 2017 All Star Jack & Jill, Mo’ Better Blues 2017 All Star Jack & Jill, Snowbound Blues 2016 Solo, and more.
As a teacher, Julie is clear, thoughtful, and earnest. From advanced Struttin’ variations to beginner-friendly intros to lead-follow dynamics, Julie carefully crafts her classes and tailors her material to fit the crowd at hand. Julie has taught blues dancing in San Francisco, Seoul, Austin, Boston, London, Chicago, Zurich, and many places in between. She also teaches regularly in her home-base of Boston. For dance videos, pictures, and more info, check out https://dancewithjulie.wordpress.com.
Cierra is known for being a quirky, musical, and emotional dancer. A a child she was never able to stop moving and became obsessed with Blues dancing after discovering it. Her love of blues comes from her relationship with her grandfather and the reconnection Cierra feels to her heritage while dancing the blues. Cierra loves to bring that history, culture and context, into her own and her student’s dancing by challenging their dancing in ways beyond just movement. Cierra has only recently started competing and has been placing in open competitions and is excited to be a new competitor in the All-star Division. Cierra recently took first at Mile High Blues in the all- star Lead and follow contest. She also organizes Denver’s weekly local venue called Tuesday Blues and co-organizes Denver’s monthly event called Toska. You can read Cierra’s thoughts on the Toska blues blog. Cierra is excited to be sharing her passion for dance and culture with the community.
Check out the blog here: https://www.toskablues.com/
A favorite on the social floor for his rhythmic play and clear lead allowing for effortless follow expression, Ross inspires his partners and onlookers alike. His movement background in martial arts and sport fencing affords him a grounded strength and athletic balance, giving rise to precise, secure changes between shapes and directions. Ross was drawn to the blues idiom because of its emphasis on personal expression in relation to a partner and the breadth of tempo and style within blues music. As a teacher Ross builds layered classes to challenge all levels, balances technique with application, and chooses appropriate music to support each exercise. Met with overwhelming competitive success, Ross has placed 1st at a number of contests within the last few years: North Star Open Idiom M&M, Southbound Invitational M&M, BluesSHOUT 2015 Open Strictly (Chicago, IL), Austin Blues Party 2016 Social JnJ (Austin, TX), Snowbound Blues 2016 All Star Strictly, and Sweet Molasses Blues 2016 Advanced JnJ (Boston, MA).
From an athletic background of soccer and martial arts, Sarah began dancing in 2010, and has been smitten with it since. With a passion for the community and a joy found in the music, her focus on strong partner connection and mutual expression creates the center of her dancing and forms the way she approaches practice and learning. Packing warm humor with clear analysis and breakdowns, her teaching aims to share the joy of movement, and to encourage fun, strong dances out on the floor. Sarah has finaled in events such as the Sweet Molasses 2017 M&M, the North Star 2017 Idiom M&M, Austin Blues Party 2016 Big Damn Social J&J, and has taken 3rd in the Steel City Blues 2016 Solo Riffin’ Competition, as well as Austin Blues Party 2016 BYOP, and 1st in the Austin Blues Party 2017 BYOP with her partner, Ross Blythe.Sarah has taught both Blues and Lindy Hop at venues throughout the Midwest, and, when not traveling to compete, learn, or teach, can be found working with the Bluetopia, bluesSHOUT!, and CUBE event boards as an organizer and instructor in Chicago.
Check out more about Sarah and Ross at their website: http://www.sarahrossdance.com/
Music and dancing as always been food for Katrina's soul. She feels the music on a very deep level and her body simply responds. While dancing has been apart of her life for as long as she can remember; Katrina began her student journey in High School. And while she wouldn't re-connect with it until 2012, the seed was planted. In a time of significant change, Katrina found Lindy-Hop and very shortly Blues Dancing. Within the first 2 weeks of her first class, she attended a workshop by Damon Stone and found a piece of herself, her history, her heritage she has never known. Dancing has always been and will continue to be a place for Katrina to explore and express who she is, and she encourages everyone to do that same. As a dancer with a strong connection to musicality, she brings joy, emotion, fun and plenty of ridiculousness into her dances.
In her professional world, Katrina, is a Movement Specialist and Track and Field Coach. At her core is a technician. While she can is serious about educating people on proper movement, she encourages all students to learn how their body moves. Students have often told her that she has pushed them through their comfort zones and helped them feel more comfortable with aspects of their dance they though they couldn't do.
Katrina as competed in numerous competitions and has been placed at BluesShout!, Mile High Blues and has made finals at Drag the Blues (Barcelona). She is excited to be putting more time and energy into sharing her love and passion for dancing and teaching
Nathaniel is a nationally acclaimed blues dancer who loves to social dance, compete, and teach as much as he sleeps. He is known for having precise musicality, playful movements, and expressive body shaping as a lead, follow, and solo dancer.
He first explored dancing through a catchy choreography on YouTube in his bedroom, and continues to do so to this day. Coming from a non-technical background, he is highly attuned to his intuition for body mechanics and musicality. His intuition-first approach allows him to craft intellectually accessible and relatable lessons that reward students with new techniques to challenge themselves on their own time. He also executes each lesson with as much patience as he has excitement, and hopes to empower his students to start navigating their own personal expression within Blues.
He has worked with dedication in the past several years, and competed and placed at many national events such as: BluesSHOUT!, Austin Blues Party, Rose City Blues, and more. He has won competitions as a Lead, Follow, and Solo dancer, and is proudly recognized as the first to officially qualify in the Blues All Star division as both a Follow and a Lead.
Nathaniel continually strives for new ways to grow, and for more things to learn, in hopes that he can share his newfound knowledge and experiences with his students.