Alison Cockrill began formal dance training at age 4, and a professional performing career in 1987. She has performed works by and toured internationally with modern dance choreographers Wade Madsen and Pat Graney. She fell in love with salsa after a trip to Guatemala in the mid-nineties and has been teaching it since 1999. One of her favorite parts of teaching is when beginning students get hooked and say what she said her first time in a salsa club, "I can't believe this was here all this time."
Rebecca Lucero has always believed that the best way to communicate and connect with each other is through movement, and she has been doing so herself since she was seven. Starting with ballet and jazz, she moved quickly through all genres of solo/partner dance available to her, such as West African, Tap, Hip-Hop, Flamenco, and Argentine Tango. However, since she learned of Lindy Hop in early high school, never has her dedication to this freeing, expressive, ecstatically joyful dance wavered. Accolades include; first place awards at the Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown with her hometown crew, Groove Juice Special; teaching with some of the best Lindy Hoppers in the country through Savoy Swing Club and HepCat Productions; and performing at the prestigious Benaroya Hall with the Seattle Repertoire Jazz Orchestra. Becca hopes her love affair with Lindy Hop lasts a lifetime, and she will continue to share that love with new and seasoned dancers until her knees give out!
Benjamin Lofton began dancing Salsa in 2009 starting with social dancing and eventually expanding to choreography. His love of improvised social dancing quickly brought him to West Coast Swing where he started dancing competitively, and with a meticulous focus on technique, rose to become an All-Star in the circuit in just over 3 years of competitions. His passion for introducing people to dance drives his teaching, and seeing the transformation in his students between their first time in a ballroom and their feeling of "oh, this isn't so bad, I can do this" is all the motivation he needs.
Blair Kaufer found Tango during her last year of college at Western Washington University and felt immediately transformed and awakened by the dance. She enjoys the complexity and subtlety of the music and appreciates feeling rooted in her own body while connecting with others. Her style has been influenced by a number of professional instructors that she has studied with over the years, which has helped her discover more freedom and vocabulary within the dance. During her most recent travels to Buenos Aires, she studied intensively with Virginia Pandolfi y Jonatan Aguero, Mariana Dragone, and at the DNI tango school. In the local Seattle area, Blair has performed at Folk Life and Dance Underground. Blair’s 10 years of experience with gymnastics as both an athlete and a coach has helped her understand the body mechanics and proper alignment for the dance, as well as how to communicate these core movements to students.
Carly Meiser's love for dance has evolved over the last 10 years. It began with organizing and choreographing for her college hip hop dance team at Western Washington University. This then led to other dance opportunities in the Seattle area with various studios and groups. She loves teaching adults and children of all levels and has dabbled in contemporary, modern, salsa, and bachata. If she is not dancing she is busy working with women in the community as a doula and midwife or hiking into the wilderness. She loves getting to meet new people so introduce yourself!
Cebrina Chavez began her formal dance training in Spain in 1993 after falling in love with dance during a backpacking trip across Europe. She returned to Seattle to become one of the original co-founders of Somos el Son Dance Company and has been teaching and performing Salsa ever since.
Dean Paton abandoned the baseball diamond for the dance hall in 1994, and fell so hopelessly in love with waltz that he founded the Valse Cafe Orchestra, an ensemble committed to the art of playing music for dancers. When he teaches rotary waltz, Dean stresses mastering the core of the dance - turning left, turning right, transitioning between the two -- then helps dancers use this foundation as a platform on which to build organic, graceful movement as well as a few elegant moves.
Frances Tee began dancing Ballet after watching the Dance of the Hours in Walt Disney's Fantasia. She discovered partner dancing in Boston where she learned to Lindy Hop and hasn't stopped partner dancing since. Coming to Seattle in 2007, she picked up Salsa dancing and continues to explore all dance to continually improve her connection to music and her partner. She wants to share Kizomba as one way to show how wonderful it can be to dance with that connection.
Greg Rolnick's dance training and performances began with ballet and modern dance in San Francisco, touring and performing with modern dance companies throughout the U.S. and Europe. In 1997 he became totally devoted to Argentine Tango when Fabian Salas came to teach at the Century Ballroom for two months. Since then he has taught and performed in California, New York, Hawaii, Canada, and Mexico. Greg's most influential teachers include Sebastian Arce y Mariana Montes, Chicho Frumboli y Juana Sepulveda, and Mario Consiglieri y Anabella Diaz-Hojman. Greg's ongoing study of the Gyrotonic Expansion System is helpful to promote relaxed, centered, grounded, clear and technically correct movement for the Argentine Tango classes.
Hallie Kuperman is the owner of Century Ballroom and The Tin Table restaurant in Seattle, Washington. Since 1991 she has taught pretty much every form of social dance with the exception of Argentine Tango (for which you have to have prettier legs!). Currently she teaches Salsa and Waltz. She produces, co-choreographs and performs in Century's cabaret shows. Since 2005 she has been the co-instructor for NW School's Social Dance Program. Since 2010 she has helped produce the "Dancing With The Stars"-style fundraiser, "Seattle Dances," for Plymouth Housing Group. She has taught at Google, Microsoft, Team Survivor Northwest, EMP, University of WA, Cornish College of the Arts, Folklife and more schools and private lessons than she can remember. Her passion is Century Ballroom, her students, clients of the Ballroom and The Tin Table and creating a community that people will never forget.
Jay Senior has always enjoyed connecting with music through dance. He derived much of his early enjoyment gyrating well into the morning hours at outdoor raves such as Burning Man. But something was always missing. Discovering first Swing and Country dancing in early 2000 and then Salsa and Bachata in 2007, Jay realized what was missing was the connection one experiences with music that can only be achieved through partner dancing. Then he discovered Kizomba and the true meaning of connection. Jay teaches Kizomba with Frances Tee at workshops throughout Seattle and most recently started teaching at Century Ballroom.
Jo Ann Coker enjoys the elegance, beauty, and grace of the Waltz. She started with Ballet in her youth, then went on to Ballroom, but Lindy Hop and Balboa grabbed her heart. Over the course of 20 years, she expanded her dance background to include Lindy Hop, Balboa, Waltz, Foxtrot, Blues, West Coast Swing, Bachata, Kizomba, Tango, and even a little bit of Salsa. In addition to their traditional forms, Jo Ann also enjoys playfully fusing different dance styles. You can expect clear instruction, a focus on proper technique, and plenty of car analogies.In addition to teaching at the Century Ballroom, Jo Ann is a professional DJ, event producer, and massage therapist.
Jonathan Wingard-Phillips was all but convinced that he had two left feet and no sense of rhythm, until he started experimenting with Ballroom Dancing in 2005. Immediately he fell in love with partner dancing, but when he found Salsa, he thought he had found his match. Bachata is his new love. It gives him the opportunity to express himself and be creative with the amazing music. The body-rolls, dips, and sexiness are just icing on the cake.
Josh Scribner is a Seattle-based dancer and choreographer known for his innovative and contemporary interpretation of tap dance. He recently finished a year-long tour with Cirque du Soleil, has appeared on the television show "Showtime at the Apollo" at New York's famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, toured with the Las Vegas dance company, "Iron Beats," and participated in the creation process for Cirque du Soleil's "Zaia." When not performing, he teaches and choreographs around the US and Canada, and directs the Alchemy Tap Project, a performance company for dedicated teens and young adults.
Katie Kihara has been dancing most of her life and discovered Swing as a teenager. Inspired by Swing's partnership and rhythm, Katie takes joy in both the social dance floor and the performance stage. She has been a member of multiple performance troupes including Sister Kate and Swing-a-majig. As an instructor, Katie prides herself on clear instruction that keeps classes lively and fun.
Katie Schneider has been dancing West Coast Swing for over 10 years and competing nationally at the Champion/All-Star level since 2005. Her background includes a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education with a minor in Dance, and she has studied Jazz, Ballet, Modern/Contemporary, Country and Swing. She’s a very experienced teacher and is known for her focus on technique, the lead/follow relationship, and her creative musicality.
Kim Pittman began dancing West Coast Swing in 2005, but has danced all her life including Ballet starting at age 5. She also has experience in Tap, Jazz, and Ballroom. Kim has been dancing competitively in West Coast Swing since 2009, working her way up to the advanced level at dance conventions. Kim likes West Coast Swing for its freedom and ability to play within the music as well as the variety of musical genres that can be incorporated. Kim holds a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and a doctorate in Physical Therapy. Her career as a physical therapist involves teaching body awareness and movement patterns in order to stay healthy and avoid injury – important information to have when doing something athletic such as dance.
Mark Kihara loves Swing dancing. Nothing brings him more joy than sharing his passion for the dance and its music. For more than 10 years Mark has taught, performed, and competed in Lindy Hop. Additionally he has produced and emceed swing dance events all over the world. Notably he has been a featured instructor of Herräng Dance Camp, the world's largest and longest running Swing dance camp. Inspired and tireless, Mark makes believers out of anyone who ever wondered if they could dance.
Taylor Stender has found a way to dance most of her life. Her first love was Lindy Hop, her true love is Balboa. She has been dancing since 2007, teaching since 2010 locally and regionally; feathers in her hat include placing and being a finalist in several national Balboa competitions. Enjoying both the social connection and self expression in Swing dance, Taylor has developed her own unique voice as a follower and strives to encourage her students to do the same. She finds value in comfortable and fun movement and you can be sure to find your own flare in her classes. Taylor is reported to own more shoes than common sense dictates.Photo Credit: Priya Alahan Photography
Travis Whetman has been sharing his love of swing dancing in the Seattle area for over a decade. He is known for his ‘classic’ style of Balboa dancing which is no surprise given his love of watching and analyzing the dancing of such leads as Maxie Dorf, Hal Takier, and Willie Desatoff. If you take a class with Travis you can expect a good balance of technique and fun moves, and there will always be a good amount of corny jokes and laughs!
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