New York Stars
Local teachers with Big Apple flair
Global artists with unique classes
OVER 18 TOP INSTRUCTORS • Cédric & Caro • Damon Stone (CA) • Julie Brown (MA) • Shawn Hershey (NY) • John Lozano (WA) • Joshua Fialkoff (PA) • Laura Chieko (NY) • Flouer Evelyn (NY) • Ross Blythe (IL) • Forrest Rogers-Marcovitz (MA) • Cierra Ruffin (CO) • Jered Morin (EU) • Fenella Kennedy (UK) • Brooke Filsinger (CANADA) • Heriberto Perez (OH) • Marty Majeske (NY) • Dan Nash (UK) • and more
Cedric & Caro
Once they met in 2012, Cédric and Caroline decided to join their competences in order to develop their qualities of dancers and teachers. As well as being very active in building the local swing scene in Strasbourg, they also go beyond borders and further and further away to dance, teach and perform. You will be able to appreciate their dynamic classes, a delicate blend of Cédric’s humor and Caroline’s poetry. Both are keen on transmitting their ideas through a very progressive pedagogy. One that approaches technique in a very precise and detailed manner, and also teaches movements combining basics, surprises, musicality and grace. Whereas Cédric reminds you of the big principles of musicality, Caroline invites you to explore sensations, emotions and personal expression in Blues. We are very lucky to feature them their first time in the U.S. where you can learn from these teachers who are hard-training, deeply respectful of the history, and pushing the expectations of what’s possible.
Damon 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 score of different 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, a long time board member of the Northern California Lindy Society, former member of the California Historical Jazz Dance Foundation, and has been interviewed as a dance historian in documentary and for radio. Damon has been a featured instructor at camps, festivals, and workshops across five continents. Learn more on his website.
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. Check her website for dance videos, pictures, and more info.
New York, NY
Shawn Hershey came from an extensive music background, studying classical trumpet performance at the Eastman School of Music, so when he started dancing in 1999 he quickly got hooked!
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 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!
Along with Josh Fialkoff, he runs a successful swing and blues bands, The Fried Bananas.
With over a decade of teaching blues under his belt, John has helped to shape blues scenes around the Midwest, West Coast, and Canada. His methodical approach to studying and teaching partnered movement packs the biggest punch with the lightest touch. His accessibility inspires beginners, enables intermediates and unlocks the advanced. His masterful soft lead is swooned over, his following leaves people awestruck, and his ability to seamlessly switch roles is unmatched in the natural world. The effortlessness that he demonstrates on the dance floor can only be compared to that which he demonstrates when puffing himself up in a bio.
Whether his classes are exploring Blues fundamentals, components & variations, or adaptive techniques, they are guaranteed to be accessible and addicting.
That’s right, this is still the Instructors list — Josh is joining our Live Music Track team to share insights into the deep connection between music and movement.
Joshua Fialkoff lends his smoky voice and unique piano stylings – a veritable gumbo of “roots piano” flavors – to dance exchanges and series around the world, and has been doing so for over ten years. Joshua first began playing for dancers as a bass player for Solomon Douglas. Later, as a pianist, he started his own group and began sharing his distinct brand of Blues and Swing. Joshua is known for his unique arrangements that are at once new and old, and an authenticity and rawness that shines through in his presence and performance.
Blues and Swing events throughout the US, Canada, and Europe regularly feature Joshua or one of his ensembles. He has shared the stage with a number of esteemed musicians including Gordon Webster, Barbara Morrison, and Meschiya Lake. Joshua is the rare performer who cares deeply about his audience, who is constantly seeking to connect and engage the people he plays for, and who yearns to instill in everyone within earshot an irresistible urge to move.
Listen to his skills at joshuafialkoff.com [top photo: devon rowland]
New York, NY
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!
New York, NY
Flouer is a full time dance instructor based out of New York City, though she can often be found gallivanting about the world spreading her love of the blues. With over 20 years of training in various forms of partner dance, having performed with modern dance companies and competed in ice skating throughout Europe, North and South America, and acquiring her MFA in Dance; Flouer presents a very contextual, holistic approach to Blues.
In her classes this often translates into encouraging individual artistry while paying close attention to connection, technique, and historical references. Dance classes are about people- they should be interactive, interesting, and FUN! Flouer is deeply dedicated to furthering the art of Blues dancing, and believes that people physically moving and learning together can lead to powerful experiences.
Watch her moves on her professional dance website
Forrest is known for his SnakeHips and other unique individual dance stylings. In addition to dancing Swing and Blues for over a decade, Forrest studied ballet for eleven years, starting at age four. Along the way he has also dabbled in jazz, tap, tango, hip hop, West African dance, and capoeira. Based in Boston, Forrest spends his time working on robots and was the head organizer for the Steel City Blues Festival in Pittsburgh from 2011 until 2016.
Outside of Boston, Forrest has traipsed across 6 continents, taught in 5 countries, won competitions at blues events around the world, including in Berlin, London, and Tel Aviv, and twice won the BluesShout All-Star Jack n’ Jill championship. A lively instructor, Forrest focuses on each student developing their own unique dance aesthetic. Dance Forrest Dance
Heriberto Perez (Eddie, for short) was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico before moving to the U.S. He’s currently Co-Owner of Viva Dance Studio in Cleveland. He specializes in competitive and social dancing with a focus on lead, follow & technique teaching dances like Blues, Argentine Tango, Salsa, Mambo On2, Cha-Cha, Boogaloo, Latin Body Movement & more.
Heriberto loves to travel. His unique style makes him a favorite lead and guest instructor wherever he goes. Heriberto believes it is important as an instructor to continue his dance education as well; he’s constantly fine-tuning his technique and discovering new ways to help his students learn.
A favorite on the social floor for his rhythmic play and clear lead allowing for effortless follow expression, Ross inspires his partners and onlookers alike. His movement background in martial arts and sport fencing affords him a grounded strength and athletic balance, giving rise to precise, secure changes between shapes and directions.
Ross was drawn to the blues idiom because of its emphasis on personal expression in relation to a partner and the breadth of tempo and style within blues music. As a teacher Ross builds layered classes to challenge all levels, balances technique with application, and chooses appropriate music to support each exercise. Met with overwhelming competitive success, Ross has placed 1st at a number of contests within the last two years: BluesSHOUT 2015 Open Strictly (Chicago, IL), North Star Blues 2016 JnJ (Minneapolis, MN), Austin Blues Party 2016 Social JnJ (Austin, TX), Snowbound Blues 2016 All Star Strictly, and Sweet Molasses Blues 2016 Advanced JnJ (Boston, MA). Get some dance inspiration in his Blog alongside Sarah Lokay.
Cierra is known for being a quirky, musical, and emotional dancer. A a child she was never able to stop moving and became obsessed with Blues dancing after discovering it.
Her love of blues comes from her relationship with her grandfather and the reconnection Cierra feels to her heritage while dancing the blues. Cierra loves to bring that history, culture and context, into her own and her student’s dancing by challenging their dancing in ways beyond just movement.
Cierra has only recently started competing and has been placing in open competitions and is excited to be a new competitor in the All-star Division. Cierra recently took first at Mile High Blues in the all- star Lead and follow contest. See her dance thoughts on her website.
London, UK / Columbus, OH
Fenella Kennedy is a dance-geek from England, now residing in the graduate department of the Ohio State University, where they’re getting a PhD in the interaction of dance and language. Fen started social dancing in 2010, fell in love, and is known for innovative fun on the social floor, and a warmly welcoming class environment. They are also known for switch dancing in socks and pyjamas, running on no sleep, and a passion for movement analysis that knows no bounds. Seriously, none. They run the Back of Jazz blues research blog, and would love you to ask them to dance!
For more than a decade, Brooke (CAN) has been hopping across Canada, the U.S., Europe, and Asia, dancing, djing, and teaching as she goes. She has been called an organic follower, accidentally creative, and a vagabond street dancer. She isn’t entirely sure what these all mean, but she’s proud of these labels nonetheless.
Brooke is known for classes that are unconventional, entertaining, and chock-full of good technique, historical tidbits, and new ideas. You can always count on full-bodied “scrumpditiliumptious” quality movement and moves – the kind that you can really sink your feet into!
You can see her community-building efforts at TO Blues
New York, NY
Marty is one of the original creators of the Steppers Set in New York & New Jersey that started in 2007. The group has taught, workshopped, demo’d, and expanded Chicago Style Steppin’ throughout the 5 boroughs and Garden State. They’ve have been guests for various community organizations, businesses, and dance associations and appeared as special guests on local media and cultural events along the East Coast.
London, United Kingdom
Dan is a favorite in Europe and the United Kingdom. He brings an understanding of music history and working intimately with Blues dancers to MezzJelly.
Dan’s music performances encompass the whole acoustic blues genre from the rough-edge bottleneck blues of the Mississippi Delta to the intricate finger-picking styles of Texas and the Carolinas. He focuses on rare and standard blues classics by bluesmen such as Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker and Lightnin’ Hopkins.
When you’re in a class with him, you learn about what makes the dance possible, how the musician thinks about the tune, and the way you can apply this to your dancing! Grab a sample of his Blues from the Crossroads