I was introduced to movement in my youth through rhythmic gymnastics and later as a teenager during high-school theatre. In 2004, I learned of Mykl Werth and his co-creative social dance instruction at Northwestern Michigan College where I was studying to become a commercial pilot and Certified Flight Instructor. Over the next seven years, I gradually transitioned my life’s path from flying up in the sky to soaring across the dance floor.
I first began teaching dance as an afterschool programming facilitator in collaboration with modern dancer Jamaica Martin. We instructed at five Northern Michigan high schools starting in 2009. Two years later, I launched into teaching my own social dance workshops at several local yoga studios in Bozeman, Montana while pursuing further education at Montana State University. I then transferred to Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA, and extended my authentic movement exploration by studying multiple conscious dance forms and becoming a Kaleidoscope Community Yoga instructor.
Throughout the spring of 2013, I was introduced to my partner Maia Sandra. Having graduated from Cornish College of the Arts with a B.F.A. in Dance, Maia brought new awareness and possibilities to my dancing and instruction. We soon began instructing co-creative dance together at a couple of studios in Portland, Oregon.
In early 2014, we produced our first fifty-hour partner dance teacher training event which helped mold much of the content that I now base my social dance workshops around. I have spent the last decade teaching and researching partner dance up and down the West Coast of the United States and into British Columbia, along with occasional dance excursions to other parts of North and South America, as well as Europe. I love to explore new communities that are investigating conversational movement. My awareness and knowledge about partner dance flow and its relationship to Contact Improvisation have been greatly nurtured by my experience of being a regular facilitator at Dance Camp Northwest since the annual event began in 2013.
The instruction I share is a celebration of creative dance fused with authentic human relating. I have combined countless concepts into Lead Follow Flow from my study of more than three dozen movement modalities. I continue to offer individual and group dance instruction, as well as dance immersion retreats, teacher trainings, and online courses. I look forward to connecting with you beyond this book.
Circle photo by Satya Curcio Photography
I feel boundless appreciation for the many dozens of people who helped offer insight into how to teach conversational dance over my life. So much of who I am and what I share as an authentic movement facilitator has been adapted, upcycled, or directly inspired by movement artists and instructors whom I studied with over the past fifteen years, including: Christian Swenson (Human Jazz), Wren LaFeet (Cocrea), Loretta Draegan Laurin (Radical Contact Fusion), Maia Sandra (creative), Mykl Werth (Mykl Werth Method), Benjamin Cheney (somatic and creative), Michael Haug (Flow Studios), Martin Keogh (Contact Improvisation), Maggie Zadikov and Bob Czimbal (Vitamin-T), Betty Martin (Wheel of Consent), Ari Levitt (Fusion), Jenny Macke (Open Floor), Jens Wazel (Soul Motion), Tim Anderson (flocking and circle dance), Jamaica Martin (modern and co-creative), Joshua Kiel (co-creative, lifts, and Argentine tango), Kristi Spencer-Nemec (co-creative), Luke Elder (co-creative), Beverly Cady (Argentine tango), Dorothy Eisenstein (modern), Hughthir White (modern), Michal Lahav (Contact Improvisation), Katherine Cook (Contact Improvisation), Brad Stroller (Contact Improvisation), Paul Millage (Contact Improvisation), Jessica Tartaro (human connection and consent), Jeff Fox (Liquid Lead), Trevor Copp (Liquid Lead), Sarah Peller (Fusion), Stephen Harvey—also known as Wonder (Fusion), Logermund Nathamundi (Kaleidoscope Community Yoga), Leif Hansen (Spark Interaction), David Sewell McCann (How to Story), Juniper Felix (play), and Rudolf Laban (Laban Movement Analysis).