In 2009, a long-time friend of mine kept insisting that I go try swing dancing with her. She even invited me to dance lessons taught by a friend of hers. After 2 months of coaxing, I gave in and agreed to go to one lesson and one dance. The lesson was held in the recreation hall/lobby of a senior living community and the dance a few miles away at a club full of college students. I enjoyed myself well enough learning something new, but it didn’t really catch yet.
With more persuasion, I eventually went out dancing a few more times at a couple of other low-key venues. It all changed when I went to my first dance at Atomic Ballroom. I had learned enough of my basics to enjoy the dance by then, but what I experienced at Atomic Ballroom changed my view of the dance. That night exposed me to the real beauty of Lindy Hop from dancers who would offer me their advice and friendship in the community and inspired me with their dancing.
Within a year, I was teaching others about this new hobby of mine at those same low-key venues I had gone to before. I explored various styles that Lindy Hop was done historically and over the years, used that knowledge to define my own way of dancing which continues to grow and evolve. There are many dancers today that inspire my Lindy Hop, but my historical inspiration would have to be Dean Collins.
While I love Lindy Hop, I am known best for Balboa. It took several attempts, but when I finally understood authentic Balboa, I fell in love with it. For the next 2-3 months after, I did nothing except explore and refine what is often called Pure Balboa before adding anything related to Bal-Swing. I was so heavily focused on my Balboa and Bal-Swing that it wasn’t until I decided to join in a Jack & Jill competition that I realized that I could count how many times I danced Lindy Hop on one hand in that year. The following year, I began teaching Balboa and in turn refining my own understanding of the dance. I have a strong love for watching the historical dancers of Balboa for inspiration. Greats like Willie Desatoff, Maxie Dorf, Dean Raftery, Hal Takier, and Ed Thompson are constantly on my playlist.
I really enjoy sharing the dances that I love with people equally as eager to learn it. I spent my first year teaching 2-3 hours a week for free at a church and am still often seen taking dancers aside and helping them while out at a dance venue. Many dancers while I was new did the same for me. I hope to be able to inspire others to keep dancing.