Meet our instructors . . .
- Susan Balshor
Susan passed away in January 2013. She was an extraordinary dancer, dedicated teacher, artist and co-producer of the Valse Café Orchestra. She is missed.
- Joanie Brown
Info coming soon
- Guy Caridi
Guy has been dancing since 1988, performing and choreographing since 1991, and teaching since 1993. He is a founding member of Seattle's Savoy Swing Club and with his dance partner, Nancy Fry, the first couple from the Pacific Northwest to teach Lindy Hop and Balboa. He has taught and performed internationally and is well known for his respectful, sensitive and humorous teaching style. Guy has been artistic director of the Savoy Swing Club Performance Troupe for over fourteen years. In 1999, Guy and Nancy took home trophies in the Lindy Hop and Team divisions at the U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships in southern California. In total, four of five routines choreographed by Guy were place-winners.
Guy has produced many dance events and shows in Seattle, including "What Is This Thing Called Swing" with The Rhythm Hot Shots from Sweden, "Swingin' Then, Swingin' Now!" with the legendary Norma Miller, and the annual Pacific Northwest Lindy Hop Championships (1999-2006).
Guy's choreography credits for local theaters and schools include State Fair, Oklahoma!, Wizard of Oz, Charleston!, Kilroy Was Here, Music Man, Oliver!, Peter Pan, Anne of Green Gables, Urinetown, Robin Hood the Legend Continues, The Fantasticks, Beauty & the Beast, A Rock & Roll Midsummer Night's Dream, Suessical the Musical, and High Button Shoes. "The Sound of Music, Godspell, Into the Woods. He also choreographed and was a featured dancer in the 2011 movie "Camilla Dickinson".
- Leah Fast
Leah began partner dancing 15 years ago with Living Traditions, the "parent" of NDN, but she's been a dedicated dancer from age 6, studying ballet, jazz and modern dance, and performing in Europe and North America.
Leah's impressive foundation in classical dance, along with her talent and passion for the joy of social ballroom's playfulness, gives her a depth of understanding that will help NDN students go beyond merely learning steps or patterns–and more quickly become good dancers.
"What I love most about teaching is seeing new dancers let go of their self consciousness when they discover how wonderful dancing can feel," Leah says. "I really liked Living Traditions' approach. It focused on communicating with your partner. It wasn't about 'looking good,' but about enjoying yourself and the partner that you're with. My goal is to continue that tradition, to help students escape feelings of pressure and just have fun."
- Cathy Footer
In 2001 my daughter headed off to college and the search began to find something to get off the couch!! I thought of the things I enjoyed and music and dancing were at the top of the list.
The very first dance lesson I signed up for terrified me so much that I couldn't get out of the car and left the parking lot only to drive back around the block, get out of the car and discover something that brings me an immense amount of joy!
I jumped in feet first (pun intended) taking at least 3 lessons a week and the rest is history. While on staff at a 3 day dance event my first dance instructor convinced me to become his teaching assistant in Tacoma. Then a few years ago the late Tom Clifton asked if I would partner with him for classes at NW Dance introducing me to the Seattle dance community. I have met so many wonderful people, my husband at the top of that list!
I love to see students begin week one a little clumsy and maybe a little scared and move through the series to really dancing at the end. What a thrill!!
My message to new dancers is relax, take a deep breath, work on your basics, don't be afraid to take the basic class over & over until you really get it so that everything that comes after that is easier, and most of all HAVE FUN!!
- Nancy Fry
Nancy discovered her passion for dance in 1981 and has been dancing ever since. Over the years she has participated in a large variety of partner dances, and enjoys it all. She began teaching Lindy Hop and swing-related jazz movement classes in 1994 with Seattle's Savoy Swing Club, for which she was a founding member. At the U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships in 1999, she and her dance partner, Guy Caridi, placed in both events in which they competed.
Nancy's joy on the dance floor is in connecting with her partner, and she believes that this connection is where the magic in partner dancing is to be found. Nancy began teaching swing and waltz with Northwest Dance in 2004, and is happy to be part of this great team. Her teaching focus concerns that special connection between partners, in helping her students develop the ability to communicate and move together, to lead and follow, while having fun.
...more info coming soon
- Dean Paton
Dean Paton abandoned the baseball diamond for the dance hall in 1994, and fell so hopelessly in love with waltz that he founded the Valse Cafe Orchestra, an ensemble committed to the art of playing music for dancers. When he teaches rotary waltz, Dean stresses mastering the core of the dance - turning left, turning right, transitioning between the two -- then helps dancers use this foundation as a platform on which to build organic, graceful movement as well as a few elegant moves.
- Stuart Spencer
I started dancing 30 years ago with a Scandinavian group in Seattle called Liekarringen at the old Sons of Norway at 300 W. 3rd (Later the Mountioneers' Club). Went from being a rank beginner to being the Dance Director during my 14 years with Liekarringen. Before I left Liekarringer I started with Alvfotter, a Swedish group, and danced with them until the group stopped performing in the late 1990's. After all the Scandinavian, I started taking class es from Walter Dill and NancyAnna in various kinds of Ballroom dancing and did that for about 3 to 4 years. In 1999, when Zach started Waltz Etc. I started going there to work on my skills in Ballroom and enjoy a new community of dance partners. Since 2008, helped at various classes for NDN and began doing the set-up before the dances.