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About Me

I grew up dancing to the tunes of the Swing era from a very early age.  My grandmother was a flapper in the 20's and, when I was young, taught me the Charleston.  My mother taught me what she called the Big Apple or Jitterbug.  Dancing in the kitchen while cooking was a norm in my home.  Later I received a well-rounded training in various dance forms such as Flamenco, Jazz, Ballroom, and Modern.  But when I found Frankie it was like coming home, and for the last 20 years I have specialized in the Lindy Hop, the father of all swing dances.

 

The Lindy Hop blossomed out of the Harlem Renaissance in the late 1920’s in response to the hot new Jazz and early Big Band sounds of the era. Then re-immerged in the 1980's due to the re-discovery of Frankie Manning, the most significant innovator, choreographer, and father of Swing Dance of the 1930's.  I studied with Frankie extensively, and starting in 1994 he invited me to teach and perform with him.  Lindy is one of my great passions; it is pure joy. I have been very fortunate to have known Frankie and learn from him the original steps, authentic styling, and exuberance of this dance.  It is my pleasure to perform & teach it to others.

 

I have created a private film archive of the Golden Jazz Era Dances from filming the original dancers of the era and various master teachers over the last twenty years. I teach through my dance studios The Joint is Jumpin!  and as a guest teacher internationally.

frankie&denisesmall

Experience Highlights

In 2007 I was invited to teach in Herrang, Sweden for 3 weeks. I had up to 200 students in my Swing Blues classes from all over the world. I got a tremendous response to my style of teaching and style of Blues. I also was invited to show my artwork in their new gallery: Le Petite Louvre. The show focused on Frankie Manning & Josephine Baker.

 

I teach  up to 25 hours a week through my own studios "The Joint is Jumpin'!" Swing Dance Studios in various cities in Oregon. I teach many different types of Swing classes: Lindy Hop, 20's & 30's Charleston, 30's Shag, SwingBlues, swing era Line Dances, and Performance classes.

I  have enjoyed being a guest teacher at the university level: Portland State University, Oregon State University, the University of Oregon, Northwest Christian College, George Fox.

 

Crystal Ballroom, Portland Oregon:  For 3 years I was the resident Swing Instructor and performer at the Crystal.  I exclusively performed and taught a 2 hour lesson to 300 - 800 people every Sunday for Swing Sundays. These events presented all the great Swing bands of the new era: Bill Elliot, Casey MacGill, Indigo Swing, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, The Cherry Poppin Daddies, Lavey Smith, Pink Martini, etc.

 

For over 10 years I traveled to Europe to teach and perform with Frankie Manning.  I organized 2 - 6 workshops a year hosting and teaching with guest teachers such as: Chazz Young, Betty Wood & Lance Benishek, Lennart Westerlund, etc.  I also brought Erik & Silvia Robeson, and The Rhythm Hot Shots to the area.

 

Working with the original legendary dancers of the golden Swing era.  

Teaching workshops & classes in the Eugene, Salem, McMinnville & Portland area.

 

Thank you for your interest,

 

Denise Steele