Will You Be My Balentine?
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Desiree has loved dancing her whole life. At the age of four, she began Irish Dance. Soon after, she was competing around the country and started teaching dance in early middle school. Around 2002 Desiree switched her focus to swing dancing and began studying Lindy Hop, Blues, and Balboa. Desiree continues to travel to swing dance events around the country to learn and compete. She has studied extensively with the top balboa dancers in the world and has even taken some lessons with Dean Raftery, an original balboa dancer. She has placed in competitions at Emerald City Shuffle, Eastern Balboa Championship, California Balboa Classic, Southern Swing Challenge, Hawkeye Swing Festival, and All Balboa Weekend. Recently, she received first places in the amateur and open couples divisions at Music City Shuffle. Desiree especially loves balboa because of its circular momentum, close connection, and intricate footwork. In 2011 Desiree started Chicago Balboa Underground, an organization dedicated to the promotion of balboa in Chicago. Desiree has a Masters Degree in Education and can be found teaching balboa throughout Chicago.
Since 1998, Matt has been honing his dance skills; starting with East Coast, he quickly moved into Lindy Hop and other Swing-era dances--with a very short detour into Ballroom. He's studied with top Lindy Hop and Balboa contemporaries as well being influenced by the original greats (Frankie Manning, Dean Collins, Maxie Dorf and Willy Desatoff).
From 2007 through 2011, he was one of the lead instructors for Get Hep Swing (assisting the incomparable Valerie Salstrom) and helped choreograph Hustle and award winning Swing routines. He strives to bring solid fundamentals and just-the-right amount of connection to Lindy Hop and Balboa, while creating room for musicality and playfulness. In 2011, he relocated to his home town of Austin where he's enjoyed teaching Lindy Hop and Balboa for Four on the Floor, and is a contributing instructor for BalAustin. He's happy to be wrangling the talented group of DJs Austin is lucky enough to have at the Swing Syndicate.
Nationally and internationally, Matt has been an instructor at Boogie By The Bay, the Eastern Balboa Championships, Dance Renaissance, and the Canadian Balboa Championships. He competes regularly in Balboa, consistently making the finals and has several placements at ABW, EBC, Canadian Balboa Championships, ILHC, California Balboa Championships, Music City Shuffle, Empire City Swings, and Camp Hollywood.
He was also a stand-in for Kevin Bacon in Footloose.* In his free time, he enjoys woodworking and coaching the Capitol City Feetwarmers with his wife Jen Reed.
*Recreating the famous dance scene in a skit. C'mon, he's not that old.