Sara Cherny

- Board - Director

Sara began blues dancing in 2001 in St. Louis, and has been on the leading edge of the blues dance community since then. She first became involved in cat herding ... ahem, event organization in 2003 with STLBX and Cheap Thrills All Blues Weekend, and her latest achievement is the formation of Big City Blues Studio, providing blues classes and events in the city of Chicago. Sara is passionate about helping the traditional forms of blues dance persist across generations, and is proud that bluesSHOUT! has earned its place as the world's premier blues dance event.


Jen Delk

- Board - Finance/Tech

Jen specializes in getting things done. This means keeping an eye on the people and the money. She joined the SHOUT! team in 2010 as volunteer coordinator (she was summoned from lindyhop organizer retirement) and became a member of the board in 2014. Since joining the board, Jen has been more involved in creating new content on race and culture.

Outside of being a SHOUT! organizer she enjoys mentoring new organizers, attending niche dance events, reading, long walks, sunsets, and night swimming.

Naomi Choodnovskiy

- Board - Operations Lead

Naomi first joined the BluesSHOUT staff in 2011 as the volunteer coordinator in Boston and became a member of the board in 2016.  While her role continues to grow and evolve, her key skills include getting you from point A to point B, keeper of the keys, trader of all jacks, late-night venue whisperer, triage damage control, and emergency getaway-car driver.
When not managing dancers in Chicago, Naomi teaches high school science in NYC.

Laney Barhaugh

- Human Relations

Laney has been a dance organizer since 2007, and has worked on myriad local Minneapolis projects including her crowning achievement, North Star Blues. She joined the Shout! team in 2016 to help with various administrative tasks. She cares deeply about this event, this community, and the history of the music & dances we're doing.

Kelsy Stone

- Competition Coordinator
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 Blues Muse--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.

Jasmine Eisner

- Housing and Food Coordinator

In 2014 Jasmine went to her first big blues dance event, BluesSHOUT!. She fell in love with Chicago and the blues dance community and promptly moved to Chicago and started attending as many blues dance weekends around the country as she could. Jasmine gets over excited about spreadsheets and has a knack for fitting everything (or everyone) exactly where they need to be. One of her favorite parts of going to dance weekends is staying with or hosting other awesome dancers so she is overjoyed to be joining the SHOUT! team as the housing coordinator.

Amanda Kueper

- Master of Ceremonies

Amanda is thrilled to be joining the bluesSHOUT! team for the third year, and looks forward to once again being entrusted with the microphone (muahahaha, you FOOLS!) She lives in the Twin Cities, Minnesota with her husband, Ricky, and their pet vegetable garden.

Sarah Lokay

- Operations - Volunteer Coordinator

Sarah Lokay was introduced to dancing in 2010, and hasn’t stopped since. Her passion for her community and love of the music led her to a leadership role on the board of her college club, then further as a part of the Bluetopia organizing team in her home city of Chicago. She also holds a position on the board for CUBE (Chicago Underground Blues Experience), wrangles volunteers for bluesSHOUT!, and teaches alongside her peers at multiple venues in Chicago. She's excited to rejoin the bluesSHOUT! Team for 2018, and provide the best experience she can to a community she's proud to be a part of!

Andi Hansen

- Operations

Andi Hansen may be from Grand Rapids, Michigan, but she counts Chicago as her scene-away-from-home. She's been organizing, teaching, and DJing in Grand Rapids almost as long as she's been dancing; there's not much better than contributing to something you love, and she's passionate about helping other people find the same joy in dance as she does. Starting out as a volunteer at bluesSHOUT! a few years ago as a driver-of-humans, the team soon discovered that Andi was, well, pretty handy. She's excited to be an official member of staff this year!

Laura Chieko

- Operations

Laura started organizing dance in 2015 and hasn’t looked back since. She organized locally in NYC for three years where she created spreadsheets, organizational structures, and lesson curricula as a co-organizer of Blues Dance New York. Laura has assisted in small roles in national events such as Blues Muse and Signifyin’ Blues. Passionate about growing and supporting organizers, she has run five organizer networking events connecting organizers around the country, and she continues to connect organizers from around the globe online. An educator by trade, Laura has been teaching for over a decade with experience in middle-school STEM education, university-level science, and dance classrooms big and small. Laura will be bringing in her pedagogical magic to bluesSHOUT! 2019 - she couldn’t be more honored to join the team!

Ben Hejkal

- Photographer

Based in Minneapolis, Ben has been dancing and photographing dance for 11 years. Easy-going and unobtrusive, he loves capturing candid moments full of movement and expression. This will be Ben's 9th year photographing BluesSHOUT! and he's looking forward to seeing you there!

Bob Lloyd

- Audio Visual

Bob is honored to join the coordinating team as sound coordinator for a third year! He joined the swing scene in 2006 and plunged into all things swing, helping start such events as PB & J, BULX, and ISLX. His love of Blues is only matched by his love of theatre where he got his start as a sound engineer and designer over 15 years ago. He has had the fortune of mixing for musicians at the Harris Theatre, Museum of Contemporary Art, The Art Institute, Steppenwolf Theatre, and countless other venues and is a proud associate of Chicago High School for the Arts. Bob is looking forward to working with the bluesSHOUT team to make this bluesSHOUT even more memorable than the last!

Steven Kostusyk

- Photographer

“Born within the burning rivers of Ohio, raised amongst the moose of Maine, Steven roams the
land as a traveling photographer and dancer and shenanigan instigator and nurse and and........
enough listing, Steven does a lot of things. He is a man with many talents, two hips, and one
glorious mustache.” Steven according to his official biographer and standard-bearer, Dan Miles.

Gustavo Martin

- Videographer

Gustavo is a dancer and an award winning filmmaker. As a dancer, he is active in both the Lindy hop and blues dancing scenes. As a filmmaker, His short films have screened at national and international film festivals, including Chicago. Gustavo is currently prepping his blues dancing-oriented short film, “Saudade” for festival submission. That film includes many talented dancers from the Chicago blues dancing scene.

When not working on personal films, Gustavo is a part of the ever-growing Chicago film industry. He has been a part of many Chicago based projects, such as “Sense 8” and “Easy” on Netflix . “Chicago MED” on NBC, and the feature film “Widows”, which premiered nation-wide last fall. Gustavo currently works as a Location Scout for 20th Century Fox, on the prime time drama “Proven Innocent.” Passionate for both dance and capturing visuals, Gustavo aims to capture some amazing performances as this year’s bluesSHOUT!

Canada Pennet

- Operations Team

Since traveling the world and dancing for the past six years, Canada is best known for getting to know everyone. Whether he's floating around the floor, behind the front desk, on the microphone, or working behind the scenes, he always makes sure that everyone is running smooth, and that everyone is having the best time...even if some things need smoothing, you'd never know. Ready to step up and do everything and anything, Canada is all too ready and honoured to add his experience to BluesSHOUT!, and still be taught a thing or two.

Shawn Lavelle

- Board - Advisor

Slowly transitioning into a family man, Shawn is an expert at juggling events. Based out of Minneapolis, MN, Shawn is co-owner of Rhythm Junction, LLC with his wife Chelsea. Together with their son Kalen, they host a weekly Lindy Hop dance on Monday nights. They coordinate with an independent subsidary, Collectively Blue, to host an engaged series of Blues Dance events in the Twin Cities region that range from House Parties and Lessons to quarterly workshops and theNorth Star Blues Exchange. In addition to NSB, RJ, and CB, Shawn is an active board member and host of Midwest Lindyfestas well as LindyCON. Having hosted literally dozens of events, Shawn is excited to bring his attention to detail and breadth of experience to BluesSHOUT!

Adam Wilkerson

- Organizer Forum Leader
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 the Mississippi Delta in his spare time. 
Outside of traveling instruction, he has held a variety of positions, working with people on a personal basis all the way up to holding more procedural roles. He's been the Vice President of the Indiana University Swing Club, and President of the Huntsville Swing Dance Society. He is the co-head organizer of Backwater Blues in Huntsville, the only Exclusively Ballroomin' Blues event in the nation. He has been an advisor to the BluesGeek Event Board since 2016. Finally, he and his wife Krystal run a biweekly blues practicum, and have since August 2015. He enthusiastically looks forward to discussing organization strategies, burnout prevention, and whatever else the forum may bring!

Sally Adams

- Operations Team

Sarah "Sally" Adams lives, dances, and believes in Nashville. She started dancing in the former Blues Dance Nashville scene in 2016 and has danced and volunteered at blues dance exchanges throughout the Southeast. In addition to helping build a safe and inclusive community in Nashville, Sally will soon be supporting regional scenes by teaching beginner blues classes. She's looking to level up on following and leading - ask her to dance, or about the adorable toddlers in her ballet classes!