Alia Lux has been a dancer for the majority of her life. She started ballet, tap and jazz at the Academy of Dance in Rapid City at age 5. She continued into her teens and performed in 3 different productions of the Nutcracker. In her late teens, Alia developed a love for Hip-Hop and Reggaeton and she began dancing with Anita Sanford, who is the founder of Dance Northwest. After graduating highschool, Alia moved to the San Francisco/Bay Area, where she got to explore her love for Latin dance. She spent a lot of time dancing Casino style (Cuban-style) salsa at the hot spots in San Francisco. It was there she was recruited to study Afro-Cuban/Orisa dance with Jose Barroso. Alia returned to the NW when she moved to Portland, where she has had the opportunity to dance Rio style Samba and Samba Reggae with Donna Oefinger, performed in the Dia Tribe showcase, and was hired as a dancer/choreographer for a local, private production knock off of Dancing With the Stars. She also has been a Zumba instructor since 2010 and lead Zumba classes at Parkrose Highschool for 4 years. Alia has always been influenced by Jamaican culture from an early age. As a dancer she naturally became interested in Dancehall, a style of dance that was born in the streets of Jamaica. Naturally, Alia’s passion has took her straight to the source, to the island of Jamaica. She immersed herself in the street culture of Dancehall by returning a few times a year, experiencing street dance, and also training with dancers under the Dance Jamaica umbrella, like Kimiko Versatile. Alia’s love for Dancehall and Jamaican culture has driven and inspired her to share Dancehall and bring it to the forefront of the Northwest dance scene. Not only is Alia an excellent and patient instructors, but her love and knowledge of the cultural significance of the dance shows in everything she does.
Anjali Hursh (aka DJ ANJALI) has been studying dance her whole life.Her first dance teacher was her Indian Mum who trained in Kathak (North India Classical dance) as a student of the famed Gopi Krishna.Anjali herself studied Kathak with S. N. Charka & Santosh Vyas. She also spent years as a student of Jayanthi Raman, learning & performing Bharata Natyam (South Indian Classical dance.) As DJ Anjali she introduced Bhangra & Bollywood to Portland night clubs in 2000. Since then she has been a passionate promoter of both Bhangra & Giddha (Panjabi folk dances),performing at clubs and festivals in Portland & all over North America. Informally teaching bhangra for many years, Anjali started offering proper classes at The Viscount in early 2013.As a dance teacher you will find her approachable, friendly, and eager to talk about Desi (South Asian) dance.With a background in Jazz, Ballet & Modern, she combines a sense of humor & fun into her high energy dance class!
Bill Alsup started obsessively pursuing Tango in 1997, and has studied with dozens of Argentine Tango masters throughout that time and still. Bill's dancing is reknowned for its creative and playful musicality, due in no small part to his two decades as a professional French hornist. He has hosted the weekly Sunday Afternoon Tango Practica at the Viscount since the turn of the century (2000!), making it one of Portland's longest standing dance events still running. Bill is also active as a tango DJ, having played music at events in Eugene, Bend, Ashland, Seattle, and in Mexico, and regularly DJ's in Portland and throughout the Northwest. We love his classes not just because of his expertise and unique approach to Tango, but because of his creativity, warm and welcoming relationship with students, and his ability to make just about anyone feel good about their progress and the mistakes that come with that! In 1998 Bill created PortlandTango.com website - a great resource for Tango dancing about town. He also loves to spend his time integrating his passion for Tango with bicycling. He keeps a photo journal of his activities at flickr.com/photos/tangobiker.activities at flickr.com/photos/tangobiker.
Colin Livesey's interest in dancing dates back to hip hop and club music he listened to in high school and college, but it wasn't until he discovered Swing that he truly found his passion. He took his first Lindy Hop class at the Viscount in 2003 :) Since then he has traveled around the world to learn from the international rockstars of Lindy Hop and share this incredible piece of American culture with other Swing addicts. Colin is energetic and enthusiastic in class (to say the least!), and loves the challenge of adapting the material to each student's unique learning style. As an avid social dancer, Colin focuses on the importance of the connection between the partners and the music, and he believes that Lindy Hop is a conversation about rhythm! Even his teaching technique is rhythmic, using song to teach phrasing. So come on out, start learning the language, and join in the fun!
Emily Ernst + Rod Young
Emily has been an avid dancer since she was three years old. Growing up in a Norwegian and German folk dance group, she discovered her passion for dance. She started swing dancing when she was about 18 and instantly fell in love! Since then she's been performing, competing, teaching, deejaying and just dancing for fun as often as she finds time to. Emily loves teaching, especially Balboa. It's a great way to dance the whole night without getting tired, plus you get to wear awesome heels and dresses!
Rod's passion for swing dancing grew out of his interest in 1930-1940’s Jazz (Swing Music). In 2008, after hearing and seeing such amazingly fun music and dance, he was finally compelled to start dancing himself, and before long, Rod was out on the dance floor several nights a week. It wasn’t long before he was teaching and DJing various swing nights around town. This love has lead him travel to other cities several times a year in search of awesome teachers and top quality music. His desire to promote classic swing jazz and dance motivated him to join the board of the local non-profit swing organization, The Portland Lindy Society (PLS) in 2010. As the current President of PLS, Rod is able to put a lot of time and energy into bringing some of the best jazz bands in the country to Portland.
Heather Klawender has been dancing since age 3, when she began studying the fundamentals of ballet, jazz and tap. As a young child, Heather found in dance a sense of community and belonging, and moreover that an excitement and abiding passion had been awakened within her. She danced competitively across the United States during her grade school years and as a young adult began to experiment with various movement styles. Heather is absolutely gonzo about dance and movement of every kind. She has been devoted to a personal practice of yoga since 2002 and has been teaching yoga since 2013. Heather has traveled to L.A. to study hip hop, samba and salsa; she's studied ballet, modern and casino style salsa at Western Oregon University; she's performed as part of a competitive salsa troupe, and as the member of two fabulous burlesque troupes in Portland and has even checked out some aerial acrobatics. She's currently having a blast as a back up dancer for a local urbano hip hop artist. A lifelong student, Heather continues to take classes and workshops at every opportunity and is humbled with gratitude to grow her hip hop chops with the incomparable Mariecella Devine and to learn something more deeply fascinating each week about latin dance from the marvelous dancing queen, Sarah Riddle (blush...Heather wrote this bio!). Heather believes wholeheartedly that each of us can thrive into our most authentic selves, that we can tap into a wellspring of joy, self acceptance, body love, confidence, peace and connection through dance and movement. She aims, in her classes, to foster a positive learning environment in which all feel welcome to move, groove, sweat and most of all, smile! She is honored to share her deep and enduring love of dance with the students at Viscount Dance Studio.
“Argentine tango is unique in that you can never repeat the same dance twice, even with the same song and the same partner; a living, breathing art form that allows us to be expressive, attuned, and relish in the grace of sharing time and space together.” ~Glykeria
A recent addition to Portland, Glykeria Manis teaches Argentine Tango and is the organizer of the popular annual Greek Island Tango Retreat on the island of Milos (www.greekislandtango.com). Before moving to Portland she taught at Piel Canela, the largest Latin Dance & Cultural Center for the Arts in New York City and was a featured guest instructor at the acclaimed “Central Park Tango” & “Tango on the Square.” As an outgrowth of her training with many internationally recognized instructors in NYC and Buenos Aires (including Oliver Kolker, Ana Padron & Diego Blanco, Maria Jose Sosa, Aurora Lubiz) Glykeria became aware of Tango not only as an art form and social dance, but also as vehicle to explore non-verbal communication that increases attunement to ourselves and to others. As a result, she went on to obtain a master’s degree in the field of Dance & Movement Therapy, and conducted research demonstrating the therapeutic and heath benefits of the Argentine Tango. Drawing from this rich background, her unique classes and workshops strive to infuse her teaching of Argentine Tango technique with somatic awareness training, emphasizing balance, greater ease and range of movement, and suppleness that lead to greater emotional openness and creativity. Her goal is to teach students how to connect with themselves, their partner and to the music of tango, and to support the dancers drive for self-exploration in an environment meant to open the senses and the heart for this passion-driven dance.
Jennie Fremont has been active in movement arts her whole life, starting from her days as a gymnast as a child and adolescent. She became interested in salsa after a trip to Latin America in 1998, and since then it has become her passion. She has danced and studied on 1 and on 2 salsa, but her favorite is Cuban salsa, otherwise known as Casino, or Casino Rueda when danced in a circle. Music and dance from Cuba has been her primary focus since 2006, during which time she has studied and taken workshops with Donna Oefinger of Axe Dide, Mike and Simona of Rumbanana, Kati Hernandez, duane Wrenn, and many others. She has also studied a variety of Latin and Afro-Caribbean dances such as son, rumba, samba, samba reggae, reggaeton, and folkloric dances from Cuba and Brazil (Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian). Jennie’s teaching style is clear, direct, humorous, and energetic. She values her formal studies as much as her 16 years of social dancing to create classes that emphasize not only technique, but also musicality, rhythm, and of course, fun and individual self-expression.
Melissa Roane studied tap, jazz, and hip-hop before falling in love with Lindy Hop. When she fell for Lindy, she fell hard. The music, fashion, dancing, and even the movies of the 1930s and 40s are a huge part of her life and really inspire her style. She began learning Lindy Hop in 1999 in the Washington, DC area, and danced socially three to four times a week. As the trend in Swing was leaning toward a smoother version of Lindy Hop known as Hollywood, she learned some of this styling from international champions Steve and Carla. Here in Portland, Melissa zips across dance floors blending smooth Lindy, East Coast swing, and Balboa (and Shag, and Shim Sham, and Charleston, and....). She began teaching in 2003 and has performed at various events around town. If you're lucky, you may catch a glimpse of her famous swivels. Melissa, although she is too modest to admit it, it one of Portland's most important figures in Vintage Style Swing Dances. She is encouraging and knowledgable, but adorably modest in class - which has garnered her a solid following and place among the Swing greats of the West Coast.
Sarah Riddle has been dancing, teaching, and performing Latin dances since 1997. Her lifelong training in Ballet, Contemporary, Modern, Cabaret, and Jazz, which have deeply influenced her style of Latin dance, teaching, and choreography. A former member and co-director of Portland's first Salsa dance company, Sabor Latino, and one of Portland early Salsa pioneers, Sarah has studied, performed, choreographed, and taught all over the world. Her training in african based social dances is vast (LA style, Puerto Rican, Columbian, Casino, Afro-Cuban, NY Salsa on '2', Classic Mambo, Forro, Kizomba, Boogaloo, Plena, Bomba, and even Samba) making her approach to dancing and teaching not only well researched, but thorough. Sarah is a former PCC faculty member in the Humanities department teaching World Dance: History of Salsa, so if you have an interest in the history of Salsa, she loves to talk about it! That being said, her Salsa classes are taught on 1, and Cha Cha on 2, incorporating bits from all the other types of Latin dance out there, so that students are well informed of what they experience in the social scene, and in their travels! Don't know what on 1 or 2 means? Don't worry, she'll explain it in class ;) Her wedding prep and Partner 101 classes pull from her experience with other dances, such as Swing, Tango, Waltz, Zydeco, and NightClub 2-Step. She does not teach ballroom, or competitive dance. Her style of teaching is 100% client based. Sarah is able to articulate not just how the dance and music work, but why, and how to make it yours. Her classes are upbeat, fun, sometimes analytical, and full of dancing (not just demo). The material is dance-floor appropriate, meaning you can actually use it in a social setting. She applies a no-scold policy to all of her classes, so don't be afraid to make mistakes ;) Sarah plays in a local rock band (Ages and Ages) as a percussionist/vocalist, so be prepared to learn some rhythm! She also spent 10 years as an early childhood educator, so you can be sure that she will cover all styles of learning in her approach to teaching, and with supernatural patience.
Zora Von Pavonine
In the decade plus that Zora Von Pavonine has been performing Burlesque Cabaret, she has performed all over globe. She doesn't stop there! Zora also produces and manages her own burlesque troupe and was prominently featured in the documentary "Burlesque: Heart of the Glitter Tribe," of which she is also the associate producer. Zora's love of burlesque the dance is matched by her love of burlesque the performance-art form, as it intersects with protest, sexuality, humor and unapologetic self-love. The many faces and purposes of burlesque help to describe the foundation for her teaching modality. Zora enjoys serving students with rigorous yet accessible choreography with a delicious sexual slant that welcome and encourages all bodies, all abilities, and all genders. Bring your heels and your knee pads if you are that flavor of extra.
Haily Holt + Mike Wilson
Mike started collegiate shag after finding a video on, of all places, Instagram in May of 2017. He fell in love with it immediately and devoured any content he could find on the dance. Since he couldn’t find any partners to practice with, he started voluntelling those close to him to learn it, too. Haily was one of those people and, after five minutes straight of the two yelling “Shag!” “No, Lindy!” back and forth before ever having their first dance, Haily was gently persuaded. Once she learned the basic, she felt the pull of Collegiate Shag and it didn’t take long her for to get hooked. Both dancers soon registered for any shag event they could go to and have since learned from some of the greatest Collegiate Shag dancers in the modern era. They continue to devour all the Shag knowledge they can and hope to see Portland become one of the main cities in the US reviving Collegiate Shag. They prefer to emphasize the smoother and more efficient style of double-rhythm Collegiate Shag most commonly seen with Los Angeles dancers and seek to prove that anyone can learn this style of dance. They promise it’s not as exhausting as it looks!