Damon Stone

Kelsy Stone

Damon has been dancing his entire life, starting with vernacular Jazz/Blues first taught to him at the tender age of six by his grandmother. After nearly a decade of learning at the heels of his elders, he went on and eventually studied a numerous dance forms until coming full circle in 1995 to focus primarily on the history and styles of Swing and Blues as his family danced them with a special focus on the Southern styles from the Mississippi Delta region. He has studied the development of vernacular Jazz/Blues dance across the United States learning from a number of the original dancers. He is largely regarded as one of the foremost authorities on Blues idiom dance and has been interviewed as a dance historian in documentary, radio, and newspaper. Damon has been a featured instructor at camps, festivals, and workshops across five continents.

Kelsy brings her lifetime of dance training, a passion for vernacular dance, and a sharp eye for technique to the Blues dance world. She has brought her joy and knowledge of blues idiom dances to some of the most important and high-profile events in the US and abroad, including but not limited to: bluesSHOUT!, The Experiment, Muse, Hearken the Blues, and BluesGeek–serving as faculty, mentor, competition coordinator, and judge.
Kelsy’s critical eye and love of deep technique are tempered by her love of “dad jokes,” getting lost in the music, and embracing of the ridiculous. She shows her appreciation of African American culture by speaking of the history of Blues idiom dance and taking her craft seriously, but never herself. She believes every mistake is an opportunity to learn, every class an opportunity to challenge, and every dance an opportunity to pay respect to those who came before.

Nial Bruce & Annabelle Hale

Erica Brown

Annabelle and Nial have been dancing together for seven years with a primary focus on Collegiate Shag. Coming all the way from Melbourne, Australia, they’ve been working hard to build the Shag scene there while also having taught across Australia, the US, and the UK. Back home they teach lindy and shag classes as well as compete regularly, and dance with local troupes. Although they are avid competitors their true passion is dancing socially and comfortably, and building scenes with strong fundamentals..

Miss Erica Brown is a bona-fide Blueswoman. She has worked with some of the finest artists in the world, and has shared stages with such heavyweights as B.B. King, Al Green, Delbert McClinton, Tab Benoit, Kenny Neal, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Bob Margolin, Janiva Magness, Todd Park Mohr (Big Head Todd) Billy Branch, “Mud” Morganfield, and Debbie Davies, to name just a few.

In 2012 Erica was awarded the Five Points Jazz Festival’s Tribute Award for significant and lasting contributions to culture in the Five Points, Denver neighborhood and throughout the Region!

We are thrilled to welcome Erica to our Saturday lunchtime lecture on Big Mama Thornton.

Juan Villafane

Sara Deckard

Juan Villafane is a world-renowned swing dancer, teacher and performer specialised in Lindy Hop & Authentic Jazz.

Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he had been dancing for the last 18 years, teaching, competing and performing at some of the most important Lindy Hop events around the world, in the United States, Europe, Asia & Australia.

Along side Mariel Gastiarena and Manuel Bicain, he is the producer of Swingin’ Party, the biggest Lindy Hop party in South America, CA.PO.S, (the Buenos Aires Swing Dance Championships) and Swing City, the first Lindy Hop, Authentic Jazz and Tap school in Argentina.

Sara Deckard, though never classically trained, has been dancing since her mother taught her how to “mash potatoes” as a little girl.  In 2004, she fell in love with Lindy Hop and all dances of the Jazz Age such as Charleston, Balboa, Shag, Drag Blues and others.  She began competing and performing in 2005 and has since won titles in Lindy Hop, authentic jazz, and blues dance at events around the world.  As much as she loves to show off, Sara is a true street dancer and is happiest on the social dance floor, or connecting with students in a relaxed workshop setting.

As a teacher, Sara is spirited and encouraging.  She emphasizes staying true to the spirit of Swing and creating authentic, organic movement while maintaining one’s own creative voice and, of course, having as much fun as possible.  She strives to give her students the confidence to get out and let their spirit move, experiment with new steps and celebrate happy accidents.  Sara has taught at many workshops around the world, including the acclaimed Herräng Dance Camp in Sweden.  Sara is also an instructor for cmDance’s school outreach program, which fosters the next generation of jazz babies in Denver, CO.