topher began dancing with his grandmother in her kitchen and has been studying and teaching blues dancing since 2000. His passion for moving with spirit has inspired him to study a variety of dances which he incorporates into his personal blues. Every dance is a conversation and in every conversation he hopes to dance to the edge of the possible. He seeks to inspire his partners and his classes to expand boundaries and breathe themeselves into the movment and the dance that has never been seen, the dance that draws blood. In the healing of that wound he believes we find all that is unprecedented and inspired in our dancing. He brings clear comunication of his movement material and unrivaled enthusiasm to his classes. He lives in Seattle where he makes his living teaching and writing poetry.
David Madison and Haley Smith
San Francisco, CA
David Madison and Haley Smith have been teaching Blues in the Bay Area since the beginning of the Bay Area Blues scene. They were also honored to teach a blues class at the infamous Herräng Dance Camp. They've consistently placed highly at Blues contests across the country.
Their love of teaching comes from transferring the fundamental essence of Blues to their students. Their classes are high energy and have a playfulness and interactive nature that is infectious.
Explaining and demonstrating are not enough, Dave and Haley have the lofty goal of wanting every student to walk out of the class with a mastery of the material.
Chris was coerced into trying Swing Dance in 1998 and has been hooked ever since. He started teaching Lindy and Blues in 2001, and had his national DJ debut at the first Cheap Thrills in St. Louis. Chris Blues Dance style focuses heavily on Micro and Ballroomin.
His teaching style truly bends the rules and incorporates as many flavors of dance as he can fit. After establishing a solid foundation of connection, he teaches you how to be creative and expressive through musicality and motion.
From coast to coast, his dance instruction has opened the minds of blues dancers to all forms of music and movements.
Laura began dancing Blues and Lindy Hop in 2001. Since her discovery of these amazing dances, she has dedicated every free moment to improving her understanding of the movement, connection, and music. She has taught in San Antonio TX, Austin TX, Albany NY and Quebec City in Canada and is a featured instructor on iDance.com. Laura has won several Strictlys and J&Js nationwide. She has also recently made the discovery that, on the very, very high end, she likes cheese better than she likes chocolate. Gasp!
Solomon is well respected worldwide as a teacher of Lindy Hop, Balboa, Charleston, and Vernacular Jazz, and has a reputation as a Blues Dancing specialist; he has taught Blues workshops in Australia, Singapore, Korea, Canada as well as many of the 50 states.
He is also well known as a musician, playing piano and leading bands at swing dance events throughout North America and worldwide in such bands as the Glenn Miller Orchestra and his own bands, Back Pocket, the Solomon Douglas Swingtet, and Corner Pocket.
Lessa Jay Thieme
Lessa has been studying and performing various forms of dance for most of her life. She learned lindy through a happy accident of fate, when at the '98/'99 New Years Eve dance in Tacoma, WA, she was petitioned by a then-acquaintance to become his teaching partner.
The unavoidable pull of Blues sultry rhythms has captivated her, drawing her in, willing her to discover ever more dizzying heights of elation through movement. In her continuous discovery of blues, she has found that her best, most creative, and most satisfying series of movements come when she stops thinking about what she's doing, and just allows the dance, the music, the connection, to flow through her. In this conduit-like state, she finds serenity. It is the experience of these feelings that she strives to impart to as many people as she possibly can.
And wherever life takes her, she knows her passion for dance will always keep her on her toes.
Portland, OR / San Francisco, CA
Brenda is living her childhood dream as a professional dancer and teacher. She travels across the country bringing her passion for vernacular partner dancing to people of all ages. Whether it's Hustle for middle-school kids or octogenarians dancing the Balboa, everyone walks away .. (expand) a better, more inspired dancer. Her unique teaching style incorporates their focus on individual movement and body control with solid partnering techniques. Today Brenda conducts workshops, group classes, performance coaching, and private lessons in Salsa, Lindy Hop, Balboa, Blues, and West Coast Swing. (collapse)
Jeremy Stell-Smith and Karissa Light
Jeremy & Karissa are known around the country for their blues dancing. They have thrown many of Seattle's blues parties of late, and are strong supporters of the northwest blues community. Jeremy started the blues party scene in Manhattan after witnessing an awesome party in San .. (expand) Francisco. Karissa has been dancing for 6 crazy years and has never eaten meat. (collapse)
There are those who are lucky enough to grow up with the music, and Andrew Slac is one of those. Having two uncles who found their careers as blues musicians, Andrew found his family functions constantly in jazz clubs, juke joints and blues bars during most of his life. He would constantly watch the people on the dance floor and mimic the exciting dances he would .. (expand) see (as well as throw in a few ideas of his own). It wasn't until much later in his life he would finally realise that these exciting dances were, infact: lindy hop and blues. Andrew is a natural performer, always finding ways to bring out the true emotion and story in the music he dances to. "I've competed in a few things, won a few things, but there's nothing quite like seeing that smile on the face of the person you're dancing with...Or the crowd, for that matter." Andrew constantly seeks training in any dance form he can, finding his heroes in that of Steven Mitchell and Virginie Jensen, and never stops thinking of how to better his ability and his partener's experience. He currently teaches Lindy Hop and Blues dance professionally, strongly focusing on bringing out each and every persons strengths; as well as his own philosophy: "Dance is a Conversation, an exchage of ideas and an insight into ourselves." (collapse)
Kevin Buster is a dangerous man. His wild antics and mad passion on the dance floor demonstrate his creativity and his love for the music. Kevin is also a fantastic musician, and will be joining the Blues Rising band lineup.
San Francisco, CA
Heidi began dancing and teaching Blues dance with Charlie Fuller in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1999 but she now lives in San Francisco, California, where she teaches weekly Lindy Hop classes with Manu Smith at the 9:20 Special and weekly Blues classes with Damon Stone at Roots. Heidi has been a featured instructor at numerous workshops all over the US and .. (expand) the world, including London, England, and the Herrang Dance Camp in Sweden. In addition to teaching, dancing, and performing, Heidi organizes annual Blues dance events such as Cheap Thrills and bluesSHOUT! (collapse)
San Francisco, CA
Mihai is the founder of Beyond Blues as well as the infamous "Friday Night Blues" - arguably the world's most popular weekly social blues dance, right here in San Francisco.
San Francisco, CA
Michelle Richter has been dancing for over 20 years and seriously studying dance for about 15 years. Her background in ballet and modern dance has inspired her to focus on technique combined with creative movement in her teaching style. She has studied the movement .. (expand) of the human body in many forms of dance, including African-Caribbean, Jazz, Contact Improvisation, Belly Dance, Hip Hop and various Ballroom styles. For the last 8 years, Michelle's main focus has been Lindy-Hop and Blues dancing. Her teaching focuses on connection, attitude and self-expression, proper body mechanics, and one-on-one attention. She finds that her profession as a Nationally Certified Massage Therapist, which gives her extensive knowledge of human anatomy, compliments her dance instruction in a unique way. (collapse)
San Francisco, CADexter has been social dancing since 1999 starting with Lindy Hop and continues to be an avid social dancer in San Francisco as well as in numerous dance exchanges around and outside the country. A new passion for dance was born when Dexter discovered Blues dancing in 2005 at the .. (expand) invitation of a friend. This came at a time when he was looking for a deeper kind of connection and a new outlet for his dancing expression. Dexter has taught blues dancing fundamentals and Friday Night Blues in San Francisco and will be teaching Creative Forms of Connection with Michelle Richter at Blues Rising. (collapse)
Scott began dancing more than seven years ago while living in the small town of Bend, Oregon. He was immediately addicted and soon found himself living in Portland and dancing nearly every night of the week. In no time, he discovered blues dancing and quickly gravitated toward .. (expand) its slower, more expressive nature and intensity. Cofounder of Tuesday Blues, Scott's ability to communicate his passion for the dance and bring people together has conftibuted substantially to the fast growth of the Portland blues scene. Scott is an empathic teacher of Swing and Blues who inspires his students to realize their potential.