Julie Brown- Boston
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 Blues Muse 2017 Follower Invitational, North Star Blues 2017 Invitational Cuttin’, bluesSHOUT! 2017 All Star Jack & Jill, 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.
Heidi Fite- San Francisco
Heidi began dancing and teaching Blues dances in St. Louis in 1999. She has been dancing, teaching and performing ever since. An early promoter of Blues dancing, she founded the first national Blues dance workshop (Cheap Thrills), which has since transformed into the nation's largest Blues dance workshop and competition weekend (bluesSHOUT!).
Now busy raising a family of four stepdaughters and one stepson, she no longer runs bluesSHOUT!. But she continues to travel the world teaching Blues dance as a living tradition, with a rich history and an exciting future. From local classes to international workshops to historical research and documentation of the dance, Heidi believes in honoring the culture and history that birthed these dances. Her hope is to see the modern blues dance community grow in appreciation for black culture and the history of these dances, becoming a force for combating racism and appropriation not only in our dance scene but in our communities.
Heidi offers classes promoting that understanding in our community, including history lectures, race and appropriation lectures, and dance classes focused on blues aesthetics, blues idiom dances and specific styles of blues music. Her classes are inspiring and challenging, focusing on the underlying principles and fundamentals of the dance. She can break down the most difficult concepts and moves, making them easy to understand and incorporate. Heidi is able to communicate and instill in her students a love of dance and a dedication to the learning process. Her classes will put some serious 'boom boom boom' and 'aw haw haw haw' in your dancing.
Timothy O'Neill- Los Angeles
Tim O’Neill started dancing in 1997 and couldn’t stop! He has studied and taught Blues, Lindy, Ballroom, and Argentine Tango and even wrote two theses for an MA in Sociology on social dynamics and body language observed in dance venues. Since 2009 he has trained or taught at over fifty events and has thirteen Blues competition titles to his name from the biggest events in the US. Tim believes the best way to dance is to have fun, and learning dance enhances that ability. When taking Tim’s classes expect to laugh, have fun, be entertained, and learn—a lot. And be sure to ask him to dance!
Jenny Sowden- New York
Jenny Sowden is an award winning, full-time, international dance instructor based in New York City where she is the managing director and co-founder of Brooklyn Swings (Swing & Blues dance school). Jenny has been training in dance for over 25 years and teaching for over 20 years, with a BA in Dance and Theater from San Diego State University. She has studied 34 different styles of movement including Ballet, Tap, Hip Hop, West African, Capoeira, Aikido, Tango, Salsa, Lindy hop, Balboa, and Blues. Her background influences her teaching and general style through musicality, variety, expression and an understanding of body mechanics. Jenny believes the dance floor is a ‘World of Yes,’ where by constantly accepting and being inspired by what happens, creates an amazing place to be. We then take classes in a ‘World of Intention’ to expand our ‘World of Yes.’ Find out more at JennySowden.com.
Ruth Evelyn- Boston
Ruth Evelyn skipped into her first dance class more than 25 years ago, and has since been dancing as many styles as she can get her feet on.
Ruth’s 15+ years as a dance instructor have taken her on teaching adventures across the US, Canada, Europe and Southeast Asia. She has continually developed both her teaching and her dancing skills. Ruth is known for her ability to craft explanations that fit students’ learning styles. She brings a vibrant mixture of deep technical knowledge, passion for movement, and silly fun that students can’t help but connect with.
In addition to training in blues, lindy, Argentine tango, modern, ballet and many other dance forms, Ruth is certified in Franklin Method, an increasingly popular body somatics method. She has a long-standing love affair with close-embrace connection, has sneakily swung out in the Louvre, and is curating a fine collection of fishtail variations.
Daniel Repsch- Montreal
Dan is immersed in the music and the movement. He constantly travels internationally teaching and learning, happily sharing his ideas along the way. In his teaching, Dan’s enthusiastic approach brings a focus on innovation, connection, and attention to your partner. Dan is also a veteran DJ, spinning for events across 4 continents and DJing everything from international events to local dances on a weekly basis. He’s also organized both locally and for international events as their Head DJ, including BluesSHOUT! and The Blues Experiment. In the end, Dan is most excited to work hard at improving the dance and to see his students break through their boundaries.
Damon Stone- Oakland
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, 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.
Dan Legenthal- Boston
Dan Legenthal lives in Boston, MA, working on as many vernacular jazz and blues dances as he can. His passion extends to both the social floor and competition. When not competing, he teaches at events like Korea Blues Camp (South Korea), Hot Blues In Toulouse (France), and The Blues Experiment (USA).
Drawing from his degree in Classical Guitar, Dan has unique insight into how to practice and develop one’s skills, and uses that knowledge to create a dynamic and engaging learning environment. Since dance is experiential, Dan likes to prioritize doing, and treats learning like a sequence of experiments where you can learn as much from failures as from success. This philosophy is anchored on clear, precise language, and a belief that every student is capable of developing their own skill by patient, intentional practice.
photo credit Devon Rowland Photography
Mike Legenthal- Boston
Mike is a passionate aficionado of jazz and blues dances, known all over the world for her teaching skills, beautiful following, and expressive dancing. A full time blues and jazz instructor since 2007, she has been honored to teach at international events like BluesShout, Korea Blues Camp, and Blues Muse. Some of her past awards included placing in invitational/champion/all-star competitions at events like BluesShout, Bambloozled and Snowbound Blues, but the award she treasures most is the Keith Shapiro Memorial Award for community contribution. She brings both vibrant energy and technical precision to the classroom, and strives to make every social dance the best experience possible. Mike’s ultimate goal as a teacher is to help her students fall in love with the music and the movement of blues dance, and to help them develop themselves into better movers, thinkers, and partners in pursuit of that love. She is honored to help run Blues Muse and The Blues Experiment. http://www.MiketheGirl.com
Mike Grosser- Boston
Mike Grosser is one of the most recognized names in the Blues dance community. Mike is a top level instructor, dancer, choreographer, performer, and mentor. He has not only won respected blues competitions but also thrown down hard in unofficial late night dance-offs. Mike is a founding member and choreographer of the B Sides, which is the first and currently only ongoing professional blues performance group. Students across continents rave about Mike’s insights, personality, and breadth and depth of knowledge. In addition to teaching movement and dance in person, Mike has published a popular online dance course.*
As an instructor, Mike strives to put himself in his students’ shoes so that he can relate material as intuitively and thoroughly as possible. He loves seeing students’ eyes light up when they understand a concept or feel a movement work naturally in their body for the first time.
Mike lives and breathes dance. He is constantly honing his skills and developing new ideas. If you run into him at grocery store, on public transit, in a museum, or on a mountain top, you’ll probably catch him dancing.
Gerry Hundt- Chicago, IL
One of Chicago's most active guitarists as an integral member of Corey Dennison Band, a Delmark Records artist, Gerry Hundt's resume also includes recent work with The Cash Box Kings, Joel Paterson, Ken Kinsey, and Mike Ledbetter. During a 5-year stint with Nick Moss, Gerry played festivals and clubs across the US and Europe and appeared on ten albums for Blue Bella Records. In addition, Gerry's 15-year musical partnership with Ronnie Shellist has yielded three albums, scores of gigs, and dozens of teaching events. Multiple Blues Music Award nominations, universal critical acclaim, and the coveted Prix Blues from L'Académie du Jazz have solidified his reputation as guitarist, mandolinist, songwriter, producer, and engineer. Yet, nothing pleases him as much as playing for dancers, yielding repeat appearances at renowned events like BluesShout, Bluetopia, and Mile High Blues.
Ronnie Shellist- Denver, CO
Ronnie has been honing his harmonica skills for the past 20 years. His musical career began in 1997 working with singer/songwriter Hugh Fadal from Austin,TX. Blues great Gary Primich was a huge influence on his music as well as Guy Forsyth and Walter T. Higgs who lived and played in Austin in the mid 90's. "If it weren't for those guys, I never would have pushed as hard as I did to learn how to get that sound out of my harp" Thanks to a great blues scene in Austin at the time, Ronnie had an up close and personal experiences in the scene that heavily influenced his ultimate musical direction. His style is a combination of mostly Chicago and West Coast blues influenced by funk and jazz greats such as Grant Green and Maceo Parker. Over the past 20 years, Ronnie has had the pleasure of opening for BB King, The Neville Brothers, and many other well known acts. Currently Ronnie is a Hohner Music endorsee and harmonica clinician; as well as a musician working and living in Denver, Colorado.
Kelsy Stone- Oakland
Chelsea June Adams- Henderson, NV
Chelsea Adams’ love of dance started at a young age, and she’s studied ballet, tap, jazz, 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. Enthralled by the history behind blues music and idiom dances, she moved her hobby into her academic career. Pursuing her PhD in English at UNLV, Chelsea focuses her studies on blues music and black dances in African American and transnational literature. She regularly writes about minority culture representation in literature, presents her research at academic conferences around the nation, and is currently curating an exhibit on music and sound for the Marjorie Barrick Museum in Las Vegas. She also runs the Blues and Jazz Dance Book Club, believing that blues history is for everyone, not just the academic types, and that it can improve blues dancers’ skill levels. If you’re interested in geeking out about blues history, she’s the gal to talk to! Learn more about the Blues and Jazz Dance Book Club at bluesjazzbookclub.com.
Christopher Wells- Tempe, AZ
Chris has been dancing and teaching for fifteen years. He’s turned this passion into a full time career in academia as a historian of jazz music and popular dance. He holds a PhD in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his doctoral dissertation on Savoy Ballroom house bandleader Chick Webb has received multiple awards. He conducts research on a range of jazz music and jazz dance history topics and regularly presents his work at national and international academic conferences. As a member of the musicology faculty at Arizona State University, Chris teaches a range of courses on jazz and popular music, dance and embodiment, and how issues of race impact practices of sound and movement. He loves working with other dancers and has taught numerous workshops on blues music's technical intricacies, history, politics, and culture at national events including Tobacco Road Blues, Nocturne Blues, Sweet Molasses Blues, Emerald City Blues, and BluesShout!