MEET OUR INSTRUCTORS
Mike Legenthal has been a full-time student and teacher of blues since 2007. In her dancing, she seeks to be distinctive and creative, but always drives towards the heart of blues aesthetic and culture. She immerses herself in the music and in playful, dynamic partnership. As an instructor, she offers both detailed technical descriptions and imaginative metaphors, to reach a wide range of minds. She is clever and respectful, and hopes to leave her students engaged in nuanced critical thought. Mike’s current projects include being a member and choreographer in the B-Sides, helping to run The Blues Experiment, and researching blues-idiom movement through video, in the hopes of expanding the community’s knowledge base.
Dan Legenthal lives in Boston, MA where he spends his days pretending to be a mild-mannered business person. However, at night he turns into a dancing machine. In a former life, Dan studied classical guitar at a conservatory, but now he uses those skills to learn and grow as a dancer. When off the social floor, Dan teaches and performs around the world at events like Lindy Focus (USA), Korea Blues Camp (South Korea), and Swingin’ the Blues (Australia).
Jenny Sowden is an award winning, full-time, international dance instructor based in New York City where she is the founder and director of Brooklyn Swings. Jenny has been training in dance for over twenty-five years and teaching for over twenty, with a BA in Dance and Theater from San Diego State University. She has studied 34 different styles of movement including Ballet, Tap, Hip Hop, West African, Capoeira, Aikido, Tango, Salsa, Lindy hop, Balboa, and Blues. Her background influences her teaching and general style through musicality, variety, expression and an understanding of body mechanics. Jenny believes the dance floor is a ‘World of Yes,’ where by constantly accepting and being inspired by what happens, creates an amazing place to be. We then take classes in a ‘World of Intention’ to expand our ‘World of Yes.’ Find out more at JennySowden.com.
Adam is proud to call Huntsville, Alabama home, but he's originally from Mississippi. He’s been partner dancing since 2004, starting in Ballroom, Latin street dances, and Lindy Hop, but he followed Krystal into blues in 2010, and it’s been his primary focus ever since. He’s passionate about social dancing and blues music, and loves to explore all different blues styles in his instruction and setlists. He strongly believes in teaching the context and history of the music and the dance, focusing on research in his spare time. His analytical approach to connection and value for intuition in dance provides a unique classroom environment that promotes self-awareness and improvement beyond the classroom. He believes in learning through experience and experimentation, so expect a LOT of getting up and dancing in his classes.
Grey found blues dancing long ago when dancing with his grandfather as a child. At university he found others doing a dance similar to what he knew, and clung to the familiar music. Grey is internationally known for innovative classes, deep cultural context, an intuitive learning style and leaving students with a lingering feeling they have been changed beyond just dance. He loves to challenge students physically but also intellectually and emotionally, with his experience based teaching.
Personally he is striving towards elevating his technical skills and playfulness while dancing and brings that into his classes hoping to lead by example and show that we can always be learning. Combine all this with his skill as a dancer, being known for musicality and performance, Grey has cultivated unique respect as an All star division competitor in the USA.
When not dancing he writes Obsidian Tea: a blog about blues history and Black Culture.With a focus on race relations in America he strives to bridge the gap in understanding between two of major cultures in the US, through frank conversation and humor. He’s excited to be accepting more offers to lecture about his research. When not working Grey enjoys spending time with his cat, art and cooking.
Kenneth Shipp hails from St. Louis, MO as an instructor who grew up dancing hip hop and breakdancing before jumping into blues. He has spent the past few years passionately studying the family of blues idioms, incorporating his nerdy personality along the way. Kenneth’s life experiences inform his dancing and wants his students to walk away with a better historical and contextual understanding to exhibit it in their dances. With every class and practice, he'll encourage you to approach social dancing with coolness, relaxation, or in other words “Chill The F$%& Out.” When he’s not dancing, you can likely find him ranting about the latest blockbuster movie, game, or nerd convention.
Julie’s expressive dancing and dynamic connection are known throughout the blues dancing world. With a background in theatre and solo dance, and an undying desire for continued learning, she is best known for her solo movement, choreography, aesthetics, and killer follower expression.
A hard-working competitor, Julie has won or placed in many national competitions, including Mile High Blues Idiom Solo Riffin’ 2018 (1st place), bluesSHOUT! 2018 All Star Strictly (2nd place), Snowbound Blues Expert Mix & Match 2018 (1st place), and more.
As a teacher, Julie is clear, thoughtful, and earnest. From advanced Struttin’ variations to beginner-friendly intros to lead-follow dynamics, Julie carefully crafts her classes and tailors her material to fit the crowd at hand. Julie has taught blues dancing in San Francisco, Seoul, Austin, Boston, London, Chicago, Zurich, and many places in between. She also teaches regularly in her home-base of Boston. For dance videos, pictures, and more info, check out https://dancewithjulie.wordpress.com.
Dan is immersed in the music and the movement. He constantly travels internationally, teaching and learning and happily sharing his ideas along the way. In his teaching, Dan’s enthusiastic approach brings a focus on innovation, connection, and attention to your partner. Dan is also a veteran DJ, spinning for events across 4 continents and DJing everything from international events to local dances on a weekly basis. He’s also organized both locally and for international events as their Head DJ, including BluesSHOUT! and The Blues Experiment. In the end, Dan is most excited to work hard at improving the dance and to see his students break through their boundaries.
Known for both her leading and her following skills, Ruth’s teaching gives detailed, inspiring, and artistic guidance for both roles. Ruth’s 20+ years as a dance instructor have taken her on teaching adventures in more than 20 countries around the world. Some students enthusiastically claim that “mean Ruth” is their favorite- a hard-core coach happy to help people push themselves to fulfill their goals. Others say they prefer some of her more light-hearted classes, with vivid metaphors and lots of fun exercises that make learning natural and easy. Organizers, co-teachers, and students agree that Ruth’s teaching techniques combined with her dance expertise make her a fantastic instructor.
In addition to teaching, Ruth is passionate about choreography. She is one of the choreographers and founding members of the B-sides, the world’s first professional blues dance group, and collaborated with many people on projects. Her University studies in music and dance impact her choreographic style, merging stage and social dance ideas and aesthetics.
Students rave about Ruth’s uncanny ability to change their lives on and off the dance floor by drastically deepening their body awareness and restructuring their longstanding movement habits. She draws on her two certifications in Franklin Method, as well as deep studies in many other mind-body modalities to help students eliminate pain and to discover new movement possibilities.
As a dancer, Ruth is a technique geek whose true love is artistry. Her dance passions range across several dances- Balboa, Blues Dances (over 30 idioms), Lindy Hop, and Argentine Tango are her current focuses. When asked what her uniting vision is across dance- leading, following, solo, she replies, “Relating. Relating to a partner, relating parts of the body, relating to music, relating to community, relating to culture, relating to history.