I got my start in partner dancing back in 1998 when the big swing craze hit the east coast (if you remember the GAP ad). I was 15 and all of my friends were learning how to swing dance. I begged my mom for dance lessons and she opened the phone book and found a local Arthur Murray and enrolled me for swing classes.
Although I initially went for only east coast swing, it wasn’t long before I started to learn everything so that I could dance all of the dances at the socials. I also started bringing my friends from school and doing the leader’s part so that we could dance together and they could follow. I continued with AM until I went away to college at 18 and did some lessons on and off with various AM franchises for a number of years.
While in college at Indiana University, I joined the IU Swing Dance Club, Ballroom Club, and Latin Dance Club. I continued to take lessons, danced several times per week, and started to learn international style. In addition, I added Irish Step Dancing (both hard shoe and soft shoe), and Belly Dancing to my repertoire and did several class performances in each style.
After graduation (2005) I moved back to MD where I had my first real job in the MD/DC/VA metro area and I started to think about teaching. I made the career switch from Microbiologist to Dance Instructor after my contract wth the government expired in 2006. I was introduced to Rendezvous Social Dance & Fitness Club where I met Barry Durand who gave me a chance and mentored me tremendously in West Coast Swing and Country couples dancing. I started teaching at Rendezvous as well as competing UCWDC ProAm with Barry Durand. Shortly after that I started competing also with Stephen Nadeau in the USA Dance amateur Ballroom circuit. Together we worked very hard for a number of years moving up the ranks from Bronze (all styles) to Pre-Championship and Championship level (American Style), winning 5 national amateur titles in 2010 (with thanks to our coaches Dan Calloway, Lydia Petrigova, Corey von Ginkel, and Mazen Hamza). I decided to go professional in country (UCWDC) in 2012 and had the pleasure of dancing with Sam Arvidson and Dean Garrish in the UCWDC ProPro category. I only stopped competing when I began graduate school in 2014.
I received my MSPH in May 2016 and am back to teaching. I love being able to share the joy of dance with others. Over the past decade I have taught at several locations (Rendezvous, Studio Dans, Hollywood Ballroom, Montgomery County Department of Recreation, City of Gaithersburg Department of Recreation, Towson Dance Studio), and I have had the opportunity to teach many different students with different backgrounds, including with disabilities (blind, deaf, and autistic students). I have gotten to teach at the Kennedy Center, at fundraisers, and volunteer for school clubs and good causes. I teach all different levels and abilities from beginners to competitors, from wedding couples to social dancers, and everything in between. I hope that you will allow me to share my experience and the joy of dance with you!