As well as being a landlord, father, grandfather, software developer and bodywork masseur, I love to dance and pass on my skills and experience to others.
Everyone who knows me says I have a natural ability to put people at ease when explaining things. I am told by most that I am calm, light-hearted, patient and non-judgemental. I'm happy with that characterisation and I get a kick out of acting it out - how selfish I am? 🤭
I started dancing 40s/50s Jive with Colin Tenn and Janeke Saebo of Brighton Jive some 16 years ago and fell in love with social dance. Can you believe I was reluctant to start classes? Once hooked, I discovered swing jazz dances and that quickly became my focus. As many of us do, I started Lindy Hop classes with the famous Karen and Gypsy John then tried some Balboa classes with John then Tony Bonehill, who was giving classes closer to home.
Balboa really entered my life when I first went to Herräng Dance Camp on the recommendation of Katy and Alistair McGrory - they said they knew I would love it and I did! Those late nights in "The Library" seeing the best international dancers such as Peter Loggins shuffling properly convinced me to return the following year for "Balboa Week". I became good friends with Katy and Alistair, seeing them regularly even outside dancing. From there I only wanted to learn Balboa and spent the next few years travelling to European festivals such as The Revival in Sweden, Oslo Balboa Weekend and Bal Love in Czech amongst others.
I found that I still wasn't progressing as I wanted and could tell that there was something key missing. My head knew how I wanted to move to the music, but I couldn't fit the 8-count moves I had been taught to the music. I had a light-bulb moment - Balboa is a 2 count dance! I drilled solo at home for many hours a week, not doing moves but moving to the music - I just focused on Pulse, Posture and "Pick up your weight". After a month or so it all clicked into place and I was able to follow any instrument I wanted for any number of counts. It's how I teach now and quite different from most others. My USP?
When I hit the dance floor again in 2019 it was as if a different dancer had arrived - I was confident in my movement and wowing my follows. I remember Katy McGrory's face after my "comeback" dance at Patcham Memorial Hall: She stood back, beaming, then hugged me tight to her chest. That was all the recognition I needed and I started to teach. It's difficult getting started and then COVID-19 hit too!
I am now a fully confident dancer, and can match the best out there - I am good enough. I have decided to start putting on much needed Balboa social dances in Brighton when we are allowed and to offer 1:1 classes. I tried group classes but it just doesn't suit me(thanks to Nikki Santilli of Hot Rag Jazz for the opportunity); I got too anxious about people either not keeping up or getting bored because they are ahead. 1:1 teaching is where I am most comfortable - being guided by you.
As a dancer and professional bodywork masseur, I am also expert at identifying and treating common dance-related muscle trauma and can offer an holistic session focused around such issues.
Happy shuffling x