Instructors

Your instructors for the weekend’s workshops!

  • Amanda Mayer
  • Chris Mayer
  • Dan Legenthal
  • Julie Brown
  • Mike Grosser
  • Mike Legenthal
  • Nicole Trissell
  • Paul Mandel
  • Ruth Evelyn
  • Shawn Hershey

And guest instructors!

  • Chris Wells
  • Joey Science
  • Laney Barhaugh
  • Laura Chieko

Amanda Mayer

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Amanda has been dancing since age five. Experienced in dance instruction, choreography, performance, and show production, she has studied blues dance, lindy hop, jazz, ballet, tap, contemporary, hip hop, ballroom, and many other dance forms. Amanda has been dancing, choreographing, and competing in blues dance since 2000, and teaching blues dance throughout the U.S. since 2003. She has taught at most national events and workshops, including BluesSHOUT!, Down Home Blues, Austin Blues Party, Mile High Blues, Emerald City Blues Festival, FX, Blues Blaze, and many others. Her style of blues dance combines a strong connection to her partner, creative improvisation to the music, and elements from many of the different dance styles she has studied. This has given her a reputation as an incredibly versatile and inspiring blues dancer. Amanda has an amazing passion for teaching, and is known for being clear, knowledgeable, friendly, and encouraging with her students

Chris Mayer

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Chris is known in the Blues and Swing dance community for his musicality, creativity, and fun-loving spirit. A self-proclaimed Lindy Hop addict until he found Blues in 2006, Chris was drawn into dancing by its unique freedom of expression. Since then he has created a style of his own, with influences from Tango, Ballroom, and everything in between.

Chris loves the challenge and camaraderie of national Blues and Swing competitions – give him any song and any partner, and he’s going to have fun. He is adored by students everywhere from Hawaii to Heidelberg, and his teaching and dancing can be summed up best by this quote: “Technique? Check. Fun moves? Check. Playful attitude? Check!”

Dan Legenthal

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Dan Legenthal lives in Boston, MA, working on as many vernacular jazz and blues dances as he can. His passion extends to both the social floor and competition. When not competing, he teaches at events like Korea Blues Camp (South Korea), Hot Blues In Toulouse (France), and Berlin Blues Explosion (Germany).

Drawing from his degree in Classical Guitar, Dan has unique insight into how to practice and develop one’s skills, and uses that knowledge to create a dynamic and engaging learning environment. Since dance is experiential, Dan likes to prioritize doing, and treats learning like a sequence of experiments where you can learn as much from failures as from success. This philosophy is anchored on clear, precise language, and a belief that every student is capable of developing their own skill by patient, intentional practice.

Julie Brown

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Julie’s expressive dancing and joyful, playful connection are known throughout the blues dancing world. With a background in theatre, improv comedy, and solo dance, she is best known for her solo movement, artistic choreography, and killer follower expression.

A hard-working competitor, Julie has won many national competitions, including Nocturne Blues 2015 Challenge Strictly and Open Jack & Jill, Winter Blues 2015 Invitational Jack & Jill, Snowbound Blues 2015 Solo Blues, bluesSHOUT 2014 All Jack & Jill, and many more.

As a teacher, Julie is clear, thoughtful, and varying degrees of goofy. From in-depth analyses of arm movement, to beginner-friendly intros to lead-follow conversation, Julie carefully crafts her classes and continuously tailors her material to fit the crowd at hand. Julie has taught blues 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 Grosser

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Mike reluctantly started social dancing in college when a couple of his friends persuaded him to do some ballroom east coast swing in their dorm social lounge. In the many years since then, dance has steadily taken over Mike’s life. He has danced until sunrise more times than he remembers, trained in a wide variety of dance forms, and taught around the US, Canada, and Europe.

As an instructor, Mike strives to put himself in his students’ shoes so that he can explain techniques 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 is constantly honing his skills. If you run into him at grocery store, on public transit, in a museum, or on a mountain top, you’ll probably catch him dancing.

Mike Legenthal

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Mike is a passionate aficionado of jazz and blues dances, known all over the world for her teaching skills, beautiful following, and expressive dancing. A full time blues and jazz instructor since 2007, she has been honored to teach at international events like BluesShout, Korea Blues Camp, and Blues Muse. Some of her past awards included placing in invitational/champion/all-star competitions at events like BluesShout, Bambloozled and Snowbound Blues, but the award she treasures most is the Keith Shapiro Memorial Award for community contribution. She brings both vibrant energy and technical precision to the classroom, and strives to make every social dance the best experience possible. Mike’s ultimate goal as a teacher is to help her students fall in love with the music and the movement of blues dance, and to help them develop themselves into better movers, thinkers, and partners in pursuit of that love. She is honored to help run Blues Muse and The Blues Experiment. www.MiketheGirl.com

Nicole Trissell

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With more than 20 years of dance training and over 9 years of teaching under her belt, Nicole is a movement and communication professional with a mission.

Nicole enjoys enabling dancers to use their body in the most healthy way possible and her ability to diagnose and change postural issues is only exceeded by her love for cultivating dance as an art form. Whether you want to add technical excellence to your dance or experience music in a whole new, visceral way, Nicole has got you covered. Dance has been one of the most important forces for growth in Nicole’s life and she is excited to share her joy of dance with you.

Paul Mandel

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Paul took his first swing dance lesson in 2005. After learning to lindy hop in college, he was dragged to a blues house party in 2006 and has been hooked ever since. More than anything, Paul loves establishing a crystal-clear connection with his partner and discovering their unique blend of musicality together.

Since 2010, Paul has been teaching blues around the US and internationally. His focus as a teacher is in challenging students to take charge of their own learning while holding onto the soul and joy of their dancing.

Ruth Evelyn

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Ruth skipped into her first dance class more than 25 years ago, and has since been dancing as many styles as she can get her feet on.

Ruth’s 15+ years as a dance instructor have taken her on teaching adventures across the US, Canada, Europe and Southeast Asia. She has continually developed both her teaching and her dancing skills. Ruth is known for her ability to craft explanations that fit students’ learning styles. She brings a vibrant mixture of deep technical knowledge, passion for movement, and silly fun that students can’t help but connect with.

In addition to training in blues, lindy, Argentine tango, modern, ballet and many other dance forms, Ruth is certified in Franklin Method, an increasingly popular body somatics method. She has a long-standing love affair with close-embrace connection, has sneakily swung out in the Louvre, and is curating a fine collection of fishtail variations.

Shawn Hershey

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Shawn Hershey came from an extensive music background, studying classical trumpet performance at the Eastman School of Music, so when he started lindy hopping in 1999 with the Lindybaby studio, he quickly got hooked! He has studied extensively at camps and workshops with nationally renowned instructors, and in 2002, started teaching swing and lindy hop in Boston around with various partners. Shawn also began teaching and performing lindy hop internationally with his sister, Betina Hershey.

Shawn’s style is a blend of traditional blues, lindy hop, and tango. He strives for technical perfection, but values musicality and fun above all else! Shawn has won or placed in dozens of blues competitions throughout the years, most notably Enter the Blues, Mile High Blues, Emerald City Blues, Cheap Thrills, and BluesSHOUT! He started teaching blues in 2005, and has since traveled and taught at workshops and events around the US and Europe, including Blues Muse, Austin Blues Party, Down Home Blues, the Fusion Exchange, and BluesSHOUT! Shawn teaches nationally and internationally with Amanda Mayer, Julie Brown, and Natalya Alissa. He has also taught with Mike Legenthal, Heidi Fite, Joy Arico, and Kathy Warwick.

Before moving to NYC, Shawn taught with a collective of Boston dance instructors at New School Swing in Charlestown, MA. Along with Joshua Fialkoff, he runs a successful swing and blues bands, The Fried Bananas.

Guest Instructors

Chris Wells

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Chris has been dancing and teaching for about fourteen years. He’s turned this passion into a full time career in academia as a historian of jazz music and dance. He holds a PhD in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his doctoral dissertation on Savoy Ballroom house bandleader Chick Webb has received multiple awards. He conducts research on a range of jazz music and jazz dance history topics and regularly presents his work at national and international conferences. As a member of the musicology faculty at Arizona State University, Chris teaches a range of courses on jazz and popular music, dance and embodiment, and how issues of race impact practices of sound and movement. He loves working with other dancers and has taught very well-received classes on blues music’s technical intricacies, history, politics, and culture at national events including Nocturne Blues, Sweet Molasses Blues, Emerald City Blues, and BluesShout!

(photo credit: Jacob Spinney www.spinneyphotography.com)

Joey Science

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Joey Science started swing dancing in 2005, and still can’t wrap their head around where the time has gone. Since 2005, Joey has fallen madly in love with both lindy hop and blues dancing, and recently launched headfirst into learning Saint Louis Shag. Joey is actively training in both lead and follow roles, and finds that each role is important and exciting in its own way. Joey is an outspoken feminist, and ridiculously loud about it.

Laney Barhaugh

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Laney is a blues dance instructor, organizer, and DJ. She has been dancing Lindy Hop and blues for over 10 years, with some dabbling in tango and hip hop. She also loves lifting heavy things – it has given her confidence, better quality of movement, and has completely changed her dancing. She loves shaking her booty to any genre of music that encourages it. As a teacher, her goals are to integrate a little history and a little musicality into every lesson.

Laura Chieko

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Laura Chieko loves to dance, even more than she loves shoes. Since 2006, Laura has trained in Lindy hop, balboa, and blues, and dabbled in a myriad of other dance styles. She is known for her grace, enchanting performance, and effortless following. Her musical training informs her intricate musicality and opinions on how clarinets should sound. Laura loves blues for its emphasis on connection and the rich diversity in its music which she seeks to celebrate on and off the dance floor. On that dance floor, she is best known for her poise, ability to rock the color orange, and occasionally winning things.

An educator in dance halls and traditional classrooms, Laura is known for her sunny disposition, student engagement, and captivating exploration of tiny details. She pulls from her wide cross training to create classes accessible to a broad range of students. Learn more at laurachieko.com!