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 the St. Louis Lindy Blues Exchange and Cheap Thrills All Blues Weekend, and is a Co-Director of Bluetopia, Chicago's longest running blues dance event. 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.
Charlie Walker- Operations
Charlie Walker first fell into the world of dance in 2015 when he started college. After serving on his college's board for two and a half years, he is finally post-graduation and excited to see what the world has in store for him. He enjoys the feelings of platonic closeness, the sense of elegance and connection that blues has to offer. Charlie is excited to work as Sara’s assistant and contribute to BluesSHOUT because of his love for the event, the community, and being helpful.
Cortnie Cook- Operations, finance, and tech
Cortnie Cook fell in love with blues because of the emphasis on individual expression, communication between partners, and cozy connections that are formed on and off the dance floor. Besides loving dance, she also loves blues music - DJing in her home scene of Grand Rapids. When not dancing, she works as a physical therapist assistant helping people return to activities that they enjoy; and will gladly geek out with you about any of the above topics! Cortnie is excited to work with Jen because of the emphasis on culture and friendly sportsmanship that is present at blueSHOUT!.
Aries Reyes- Master of Ceremonies
As an emcee, Aries has hosted and instigated countless celebrations. They’re often found on top of a chair; telling stories, toasting births and successes, and serenading adored humans. They are very proud of their Caesar Flickerman, Lumpy Space Princess, and Nigel Thornberry impressions, as well as their extensive knowledge of Steven Universe songs.
photo credit Hannah Skewes
Jasmine Eisner- Housing Coordinator
Jasmine Eisner (Jasmine Easter on Facebook) is Chicago's housing goddess. She wrangles housing for both BluesSHOUT! and CUBE. She loves the puzzle of matching everyone with hosts using lots of conditionally formatted spreadsheets. She is a co-owner of Big City Blues which offers blues dance workshops and classes in Chicago. Jasmine loves traveling for dance and more often than not is working or volunteering at the dance events she attends.
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!
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!
Laura Chieko- Research and Development
Laura Chieko loves to dance, even more than she loves shoes. Since 2006, Laura has trained in Lindy hop, balboa, and blues, and dabbled in a myriad of other dance styles. She is known for her grace, enchanting performance, and effortless following. Her musical training informs her intricate musicality and opinions on how clarinets should sound. Laura loves blues for its emphasis on connection and the rich diversity in its music which she seeks to celebrate on and off the dance floor. On that dance floor, she is best known for her poise, ability to rock the color orange, and occasionally winning things. An educator in dance halls and traditional classrooms, Laura is known for her sunny disposition, student engagement, and captivating exploration of tiny details. She pulls from her wide cross training to create classes accessible to a broad range of students. Learn more at laurachieko.com!
Patti Thomas- Operations - Registration
Patti Thomas learned about blues dancing when she moved to Austin, TX in 2010, enjoying the instant friendships and camaraderie after moving to a new place and the connection and creativity of this amazing dance. She now finds herself in the Purdue dance scene in Indiana. She is particularly fond of BluesSHOUT!, with its dedication to promoting our understanding of the cultural and historical context of blues dance in addition to awesome dancing techniques and creativity. Ask her to dance – she loves to lead, follow, and solo together!
Sally Adams- Volunteer Coordinator
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!
Chelsea Adams- Content Strategist
Chelsea Adams' love of dance started at a young age, and she's studied ballet, tap, jazz, and standard and latin ballroom, among other dances. Her love of blues dancing led her to travel the nation in search of specialized training, historical information, and of course, great social dancing. Intrigued by the history behind blues music and idiom dances, she moved her hobby into her academic career. Currently a PhD candidate in English at UNLV, Chelsea focuses her studies on African American literature, blues and jazz music, and black vernacular dance. She writes about minority culture representation in literature, with a special focus of representation of black musicians, dancers, and the art forms they produce. She also runs the Blues and Jazz Dance Book Club, an international online book club project, to offer easy and open access to the public about the history of blues, jazz, and black vernacular dance.
David O'Brien- Photographer
David is a landscape and event photographer based out of Chicago. He was introduced to swing and blues dancing in high school and only took a break in college. He combines his love for dancing and dance photography through capturing the same joy and beauty of dancing and music in others. When he's not dancing, David enjoys backpacking, soccer, and board games.