The adventure of connecting with people and learning different ways to move can be magical. For many, dancing is catalytic to our happiness; we love the energy, fun and variety of challenge it offers. These days, West Coast Swing & Tango are my favorites.
My mother was a ballroom dancer who performed in NYC during the 40's second billing to Nat King Cole and others. I wanted to dance like my mom so my formal training began with Ballroom. I was living in Denver, Colorado where I studied International Latin with Jess Torres, Karen Lee and Enio Cordoba (CA). International Smooth with Richard & Jennifer Booth, American Latin and Smooth with Danny Yabara; all of whom are still accomplished professional dance instructors for Denver; even today.
At some point I felt Ballroom Dancing was not free and playful enough for my independent SAG spirit, so I decided to learn West Coast Swing with Karen Lee, Buddy Schwimmer (CA), Michael & Amber Cross. Then Daniel Trenner & Rebecca Shulman came to town from NYC and I was hooked on Argentine Tango.
In 1994 I moved with my children to care for my father on his farm in Prattsburgh, NY (in the middle upstate an hour from everywhere). It didn't take long to find out about Ithaca; this guy Steven Mitchell was going to be there. Then (driving 1.25 hours one way) Lindy Hop classes with Bill Borgida and for parts of '98 and '99 I taught and helped choreograph Bill's Jitterbug classes and brought instructors to upstate NY that I had studied with in Denver.
February of '95 I brought Daniel Trenner (whom I met in Denver) to Cornell via Cornell Folk Dance which was quite successful; later that March I joined with Daniel Trenner's group as an assistant experiencing Tango with the Masters in Argentina (Ester Amelio, Domingo Pugliese, Juan Bruno, Pedro & Delores at Santelmo and others). I noticed how much of that dance was lost in the translation to Ballroom ( experienced that difference during my missionary work to Liberia, West Africa 85'-86' and Puerto Rico). When I came back from Argentina, there were very few Tango leaders in upstate so I let go of that scene to dance Lindy Hop and West Coast Swing; were the action was at the time. Original students who attended the workshops I created with Daniel & Rebecca at Cornell, continued to work on Tango; Mati, Ira, Jan and Barbara Warren all became good leaders and teachers today. I am dancing Tango again at; Tango Domingo by RIT (formerly Barbara's DancEncounters) (Rochester), Buffalo, Geneva, Syracuse . . .and everywhere these days!
Ballroom dancing, in my opinion, omits intimate ethnicity, particularly Salsa which they refer to as Mambo (break on 2 or be wrong), American Tango which does not even compare to the conversation going on in Argentine Tango. Lindy Hop being more graceful and creative than East Coast (6 count) or Jive and WC Swing (Yummy) does not exist. Then there is Shag, Balboa and all those other yummy. . . Of course I enjoy Foxtrot, Rumba, Cha and Waltz, therefore, I am not saying Ballroom dancing is wrong; I learned techniques such as; Frame, Attitude, Connection, Timing, Style, Lead & Following, Pivots, Lines, Breaks and lots of other good style stuff.
I began teaching social dance to friends and family. You may want to read about that story: "From the Horse's Mouth". It is a live, dance/theater documentary given throughout the USA, in which each participant tells a story about their life or career as a dancer; created by Jamie Cunninham and Tina Croll from NYC. Also look at my letters of recommendation!
Jane Fenn of Horseheads, NY described me as; "An exciting and dynamic instructor who likes to develop some general, even theoretical underpinnings to her dance instruction as she teaches a whole attitude toward movement music the body and the partner, along with the steps of the dance". I coined danceFACTS: Frame, Attitude, Connection, Timing, Style, and the philosophy that; What works in dance, works in life! (Read, From the Horse's Mouth).
Musicality, rhythm, attitude, lead/follow (and sometimes hijacking) communication, are practical and relate to everyday life. Ballroom dancing is more about patterns; a bit structured and not for everyone and it is not about everyday life or what is generally danced in clubs; the principles that I teach in dance are. Dancing began as an expression of real life relationships put in music, so I believe that is where to begin; understanding the music being in IT with your partner and giving IT the best that you've got. Magic!
I believe everyone has rhythm (or they would not be alive), they may not have connected with it consciously. The joy that comes to a person's face when connecting with that part of them self is the greatest reward for me as a dance teacher and a skill you can share for the rest of your life.
I have competed and placed in WC Swing, Argentine Tango and Ballroom events '93-99' ; but not lately. Check 'USDS History' and see what other things I've been up to. I admit, there is nothing that will refine your technique like competition; at least with yourself.
Join us soon for classes or private lessons because the FACTS are: Dancing is a fun hobby that will enhance your life; attitude about music, culture, earth, energy, yourself, others and there seems to be connection between ones dance style and movement though life.
and. . . what works in dance, works in life!.
* DANCE TRAINING:
West Coast Swing: Karen Lee, CO (88-92), Buddy Shwimmer, CA (90), Michael & Amber Cross, CO (90-94), Andrea Deaton, CO (92, 98), Kelly Buckwalter, CA (96), Beata Howe, CA (97, 99) Robert Cordoba, CA (95-99), Maxwell Ho, MA (94-96), Debbie Ramsey & Wesley Boss, NC (97-99), John Festa, NYC (96 & 98), Michael & Mari Keihm, CA (97), Bill Carmeron & Blake Hobby, CO (98, 99), Michelle Kincade, CA (99), Mario Robau (00, 10), Romaro Gonzales (00). Aswin Vandenburg & Jean DePalma, NY (95-99), John Lindo, NJ (02, 11, 12), Tampa Bay, FL Area 2011, Mike Topel (2012)
Lindy Hop: Steven Mitchell, CA (98-99), Frankie Manning, NYC (95, 99), Bill Borgida, NY (95-98), Ryan Fancois & Jenny Thomas, England (97), Rhythm Hot Shots, Sweden (97-99)-Eva & Eddie (97, 99), Beni & Ulrika (99), Catharine (99), David Delmar (00) also; Paul Overton & Sharon Ash, CA (98), Sylvia Sykes, CA (00). East Coast Swing (MOM & Denver, CO)
Argentine Tango: Jim X Borzum, CO (91-94), Daniel Trenner & Rebecca Shulman, NYC (94-96), Fernando Gonzalez, Columbia (94,95), Jorge Udrisard, Argintina (95,96), Ester Amelio, Argentina, Domingo Puchese, Argentina, Pedro Echenique & Delores Benavente, Argentina, Rudolpho & Maria, Argentina, (95), Diane Lathrupp & Johnny Martinez/Stepping Out Studio, NYC (01), Austin Ramos/Tango Cafe (06), Rochester, Travis/BuffaloTangoX (08), Richard Council, Rochester, NY DancEncounters (2012)
Ballroom: The World of Dance, CO ('88-'92) Jesse Torres, International & American Style (Foxtrot, Waltz, Rumba, Cha, Samba, Tango); also: Swing (East Coast & Jive).
300 hours Instructor Training ('93), Barbara Warren, Rochester NY (2012)
Salsa: Danny Yabarra, CO (88-90), Enio Cordoba, CA (80-95), Angel Figarroa, NYC (95), Debbie Elkins, NYC (96), Jose Neglia, CA (00) Diana Lathrupp & Johnny Martinez, NYC (00), Nedim Catal, Syracuse NY (00,04,10), Pablo Orejuela, Rochester NY (2013)
Carolina Shag: Charlie Womble & Jackie McGee, GA (99,00), Sylvia Sykes (00,01)
Balboa: Sylvia Sykes (00,01), Hank Pajak (2012)
Hip Hop: David Delmo, Sweden (00), Jason Christodoulou (01),
Jazz & Charleston: Steven Mitchell, CA (98-99), Rhythm Hot Shots, Sweden (99), Ramona Staffeld & Sky Humphries, Ithaca NY (99).
Country: Jess Torres, CO (88-90), David Levesque, NY (00), Bill Cameron, CT (00)
Cajun & Zydeco: Various instructors at Ithaca, NY (98-02)
ZUMBA: Felipe Rivera (10)
Some: Ballet, Jazz, Modern, African, Belly, Contact Improvisation, Spin Waltz, Contra.
Music: Piano, Guitar, Harmonica, Percussion, Voice, Theory and"The Doctrine of Ethos".
05-07 B.S. Liberal Studies (Sociology/Organizational Management)
03-05 A.S. Corning Community College (Humanities/Communication)
94-94 Collinson's School of Theraputics & Massage (1000 hours)
Colorado Springs, CO (also: Nutrition)
93-93 Teacher Training Ballroom (300 hours) World of Dance, Denver, CO 92-92 Chiropractic Assistant Training (100 hours) ICAK (Applied Kinesiology) David Walther,
87-91 Touch for Health, Passadena CA John Thie, Sheldon Deal also:
Brain Gym/Educational Kinesiology-Paul Dennison, 3 in One Concepts-Gordon Stokes.
88-93 Ballroom Dance Instruction-Denver, CO
85-86 Watchtower Bible & Tract Society Pioneer Training School-Denver, CO/1000 hrs., International Delegate, Liberia, West Africa. (no religion previously or presently)
88-Present *TRAINING-SOCAL DANCE ARTS 1000+hours, listed below:
Clemens Center, Elmira NY "FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH"
FALL STEP -CORNELL UNIVERSITY
HANGER THEATRE-Gay La Event: ITHACA
GRASS ROOTS FESTIVALs-Trumansburg
BILL BORGIDA PRODUCTIONS-Ithaca
USA Dance-Binghamton Chapter #3011 (w/Francine Stein)
171 Cedar Arts Center, Corning
Corning West High School
International Rumba, Pro/Am Exhibition-Denver, CO
Dance Connection (Rochester NY)
DancEncounter (Rochester, NY)
STUDIO OF THE DANCE ARTS (Seneca Falls, NY)
CORNING COMMUNITY COLLEGE, NY
CORNELL UNIVERSITY, NY
UTICA COLLEGE, NY
The Common Ground, Ithaca
171 Cedar Arts, Corning
Fat Cats Night Club, Corning NY
Lando's Night Club, Corning NY
Marconi's Lodge, Corning NY
Dancer's Alley, Horseheads NY
Hichory Hill Camp Ground, Bath NY
American Legion, Hammondsport NY
Bradford Central School, NY
Grass Roots Festivals
Dance Flurry-Saratoga Springs
"FAT CATS" NIGHTCLUB, Corning
Hammondsport Central School
Prattsburgh Central School
Corning West High School
171 Cedar Arts, Corning
The Village Tavern, Hammondsport
Bill Borgida Productions, Ithaca
Gay La Event-Hanger Theater, Ithaca
171 Cedar Arts, Corning & Elmira Clemens Center
KEUKA LAKE PLAYERS, Hammondsport,The Secret Garden (2006)
"All for the Love of Dance" w/Geno Aureli-Syracuse (2010)
1999 Swingin'New England Dance Festival, Boston WCS, F, 1pt
World Swing Dance Council http://www.swingdancecouncil.com/
1998 ISDN, WCS Jack n' Jill, 2nd (? partner from Rochester)
1998 CORNELL DANCE SPORT EVENT, Ithaca WCS, 3rd (John
1994 INTERCOLLEGIATE DANCE FESTIVAL for Cornell @ Washington,
Intermediate, American Style Foxtrot/Swing-2nd (Peter Radford)
American Style Tango/Waltz-3rd (Peter Radford)
American Style Mambo/Merengue-2nd ((Tom Smulers)
American Style Rumba-2nd (Jose Ingojo)
American Style Cha Cha-2nd (Jose Ingojo)
West Coast Swing-3rd (Jose Ingojo)
Argentine Tango-2nd (Jose Ingojo)
93 ROCKY MTN SWING DANCE EVENT/Denver, CO-Jack n' Jill,
88 Pro/Am Competition Ballroom/Denver, CO-East Coast Swing 1st