2019 instructors

Damon and Kelsy

Damon and Kelsy

 damon & Kelsy

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 numerous 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 and has been interviewed as a dance historian in documentary, radio, and newspaper. Damon has been a featured instructor at camps, festivals, and workshops across five continents.

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 important and high-profile events in the US and abroad, including but not limited to: bluesSHOUT!, The Experiment, Muse, Hearken the Blues, and BluesGeek--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.

 
Mike and Dan

Mike and Dan

Mike & Dan

Mike Legenthal has been a full-time student and teacher of blues for over a decade. In her dancing, she seeks to be distinctive and creative, but always driving towards the heart of blues aesthetic and culture. She immerses herself in the music and in playful, dynamic partnership. As an instructor, she offers both detailed technical descriptions and imaginative metaphors, to reach a wide range of minds. She is clever and respectful, and hopes to leave her students engaged in critical, nuanced critical thought. Mike’s current projects include being a member and choreographer in the B-Sides, helping to run The Blues Experiment and Blues Muse, and researching blues-idiom movement through video, in the hopes of expanding the community’s knowledge base.

Dan Legenthal lives in Boston, MA where he spends his days pretending to be a mild-mannered business person. However, at night he turns into a dancing machine. In a former life, Dan studied classical guitar at a conservatory, but now he uses those skills to learn and grow as a dancer. When off the social floor, Dan teaches and performs around the world at events like Lindy Focus (USA), Korea Blues Camp (South Korea), and Swingin’ the Blues (Australia)."

 
Adam and Krystal

Adam and Krystal

Adam & Krystal

Krystal loves living in Huntsville, Alabama, although she is originally from southern Ohio. She has an uncanny energy and enthusiasm for blues music and dancing, and can often be seen at events all over the southeast and the US, closing down late nights, frequently dancing until dawn. She’s been partner dancing various styles since 2007; Blues stole her heart, however, in 2010, and has never let go. She has taught all over the US, ranging from small community -focused events all the way up to national events such as Blues Geek and the Blues Experiment. She’s a fierce competitor, frequently making finals at national blues dance contests, and brings her fervor for connection into all of her dancing and instruction. Her love of the dance is contagious, and she believes in injecting fun into all of her classes.

Adam is proud to call Huntsville, Alabama home, but he's originally from Mississippi. He’s been partner dancing since 2004, starting in Ballroom, Latin street dances, and Lindy Hop, but he followed Krystal into blues in 2010, and it’s been his primary focus ever since. He’s passionate about social dancing and blues music, and loves to explore all different blues styles in his instruction and setlists. He strongly believes in teaching the context and history of the music and the dance, focusing on research in his spare time. His analytical approach to connection and value for intuition in dance provides a unique classroom environment that promotes self-awareness and improvement beyond the classroom. He believes in learning through experience and experimentation, so expect a LOT of getting up and dancing in his classes.

 

Ross & sarah

Sarah has always been on the move--from soccer and martial arts to a love of dance that came later in life. Sarah found blues dancing in 2010, and it has since captivated and held a dear place in her heart. Known for her passion and comfy close embrace connection, her focus on partnership and self expression creates the core of her dancing and forms the way she approaches practice and learning. Packing dry humor with clear analysis and visual breakdowns, her teaching aims to share the joy of movement, and to encourage strong, fun dances out on the floor. Sarah has competed in events such as the Northstar Blues 2018 Invitational Idiom Strictly, the bluesSHOUT! 2018 All Star M&M, and the Sweet Molasses 2017 M&M, and has performed choreography at both Sweet Molasses Blues and bluesSHOUT! as well. When she's not traveling for dance, she can be found organizing on the Bluetopia, bluesSHOUT!, and CUBE boards in Chicago, giving back to the events that helped shape her own love of dance.

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 three years: BluesSHOUT 2015 Open Strictly (Chicago, IL), Southbound Invitational MnM (2017), Snowbound Blues 2016 All-Star JnJ (Rochester NY), Austin Blues Party 2017 BYOP (Austin, TX), and Sweet Molasses Blues 2016 Advanced JnJ (Boston, MA).

Sarah and Ross

Sarah and Ross

 
Julie, photo by Jerry Almonte

Julie, photo by Jerry Almonte

Julie brown

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 or placed in many national competitions, including Mile High Blues Idiom Solo Riffin’ 2018 (1st place), bluesSHOUT! 2018 All Star Strictly (2nd place), Snowbound Blues Expert Mix & Match 2018 (1st place), 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.

 
Ruth and Mike

Ruth and Mike

ruth & mike

Ruth and Mike are among the most respected and sought-after instructors in the blues dance world. They have taught at most of the blues dance events that exist (in 16 countries and counting). They are founding members and choreographers of the B Sides, a professional blues performance group known for unique style, artistic innovations, and detailed performances.

Ruth and Mike are an exceptional teaching partnership, internationally renowned for their dynamic energy, precise explanations, entertainment value, and ability to make detailed technique fun to learn. They are strongly committed to teaching equally to both follows and leads, and are known for teaching to follows even during topics that are often lead-focused. They love dance pedagogy and mentoring newer teachers to fulfill their potential as instructors. Ruth has two certifications in the Franklin Method, a globally recognized body somatics modality. Mike has recently published a popular online dance course.*

They both love carrot juice, smoky Scotch whisky, and philosophical discussions. Since they started traveling and teaching together, Ruth has started using the Oxford comma, and Mike has learned a lot about fancy cocktails. They have been known to fishtail in grocery stores and swing out in the aisles of moving trains. Check out ruthandmike.comfacebook.com/ruthandmike, and youtube.com/ruthandmike.
*Check out Ruth and Mike’s courses at http://ruthandmike.com/courses/

 

Dominic Hanna

Dominic is an up and coming blues dance instructor, and he’s thrilled to embark on this journey with you! He has been dancing blues for about 3 years but has been dancing in his bathroom mirror for as long as he can remember! He is originally from The Bahama Islands, and the Caribbean style music he grew up listening/dancing to has an unmistakable influence on his style. He enjoys the depth and richness of the stories told through blues music, and the strong characteristic sound of the music itself. Dominic is best known for his fluid leg movements, whole-body multi-rhythm techniques, musicality and creative subtlety in his solo and partnered dancing. He draws inspiration from his 5 years of freestyle roller-skating, grooving to hip hop, house and R&B.

Dominic brings excitement and a calm, genuine enthusiasm to every class session! His love for personal expression and unique partnership dynamics shines through in his teaching as he encourages students to explore ways to take practical ownership of their movements. He regularly taught blues classes in his previous home scene in Huntsville, AL and has long enjoyed participating in bi-weekly practica with peers and mentors, workshopping every aspect of his blues dancing with his blues family. Dominic is a structural engineer and approaches the construction of dance/partnership mechanics from this perspective, so expect entertaining metaphors in his classes!

Dominic

Dominic

 
Mel+1.jpg

Melisande Leduc

With her first triple steps dating back to 1998, Melisande - or just Mel - is one of the veterans of the Montreal swing scene. In 2000, she discovered blues dancing during a dance exchange in Boston. It was love at first dance. She has been focusing solely on blues dancing since 2012. She started teaching blues in Montreal in 2015, giving introductory lessons, classes on idioms, and private lessons. She has accumulated frequent dancer miles by regularly attending blues workshops, competitions and exchanges all over the United States and Canada. She enjoys the challenge of competing, and has come into her own as a competitor in recent years, making finals in the Open Strictly division at BluesShout in 2018 and placing 2nd in the M&M at Signifying’ Blues in 2018. Melisande strives to push herself and her dancing, and believes that "excellence" will always be just beyond her reach - right where she wants it. She is passionate about connecting with her partner and the music, body movement, and simplicity.

 

Kenneth Shipp

Kenneth Shipp hails from St. Louis, MO as an instructor who grew up dancing hip hop and breakdancing before jumping into blues. He has spent the past few years passionately studying the family of blues idioms, incorporating his nerdy personality along the way. Kenneth’s life experiences inform his dancing and wants his students to walk away with a better historical and contextual understanding to exhibit it in their dances. With every class and practice, he'll encourage you to approach social dancing with coolness, relaxation, or in other words “Chill The F$%& Out.” When he’s not dancing, you can likely find him ranting about the latest blockbuster movie, game, or nerd convention.

Learn more about Kenneth at his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/commandershipp/

Photo Credit- Brad Nathanson.jpg