Damon Stone 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 numerous 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 and has been interviewed as a dance historian in documentary, radio, and newspaper. Damon has been a featured instructor at camps, festivals, and workshops across five continents.
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 important and high-profile events in the US and abroad, including but not limited to: bluesSHOUT!, The Experiment, Muse, Hearken the Blues, and BluesGeek–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.
Dominic is an up and coming blues dance instructor, and he’s thrilled to embark on this journey with you! He has been dancing blues for about 3 years but has been dancing in his bathroom mirror for as long as he can remember! He is originally from The Bahama Islands, and the Caribbean style music he grew up listening/dancing to has an unmistakable influence on his style. He enjoys the depth and richness of the stories told through blues music, and the strong characteristic sound of the music itself. Dominic is best known for his fluid leg movements, whole-body multi-rhythm techniques, musicality and creative subtlety in his solo and partnered dancing. He draws inspiration from his 5 years of freestyle roller-skating, grooving to hip hop, house and R&B.
Dominic brings excitement and a calm, genuine enthusiasm to every class session! His love for personal expression and unique partnership dynamics shines through in his teaching as he encourages students to explore ways to take practical ownership of their movements. He regularly taught blues classes in his previous home scene in Huntsville, AL and has long enjoyed participating in bi-weekly practica with peers and mentors, workshopping every aspect of his blues dancing with his blues family. Dominic is a structural engineer and approaches the construction of dance/partnership mechanics from this perspective, so expect entertaining metaphors in his classes!
Laney started dancing foxtrot, polka, waltz and schotttische in a church-turned-gym in rural Montana at the ripe old age of 6. She’s since moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota and teaches blues dance locally, nationally, and internationally. Known for her effervescent presence and upbeat teaching style, Laney has been dancing blues for over a decade. She prioritizes empowering you, providing historical context, and keeping class creative and fun. Her primary goal is to help you find confidence and joy moving your body to blues and jazz.
She would also like to remind you that it’s a dance class, and you will probably sweat.
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 or placed in many national competitions, including Mile High Blues Idiom Solo Riffin’ 2018 (1st place), bluesSHOUT! 2018 All Star Strictly (2nd place), Snowbound Blues Expert Mix & Match 2018 (1st place), 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
Mike Sonder combines his knowledge of music, functional anatomy, physics, and a plethora of dance forms to create classes that are uniquely insightful, inspiring, energetic, and challenging. Mike strives to put himself in his students’ shoes so that he can convey 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 has taught in 19 countries and counting. He currently teaches Lindy Hop, solo jazz, Balboa, and well over 30 Blues idioms. Mike has not only placed in and won respected competitions across multiple genres but also thrown down hard in unofficial late night dance-offs.
Mike lives and breathes dance. He is constantly honing his skills and developing new ideas. If you run into him at a grocery store, on public transit, in a museum, or on a mountain top, you’ll probably catch him dancing.