For almost two decades, Brooke has been hopping across Canada, the U.S., Europe, and Asia, dancing, djing, and teaching as she goes. She has been called an organic follower, accidentally creative, and a vagabond street dancer. She isn’t entirely sure what these all mean, but she’s proud of these labels nonetheless!
Though she's always looking for her next adventure, Brooke's heart belongs to Toronto, the place she calls home. She currently directs a passionate team of blues dance enthusiasts that are known for their deep love of the history and the community... and their off-the-hook parties and events! After years of devoting weekly classes to delving deep into historical research and discussions, by popular demand Brooke is now making some of the featured artists' info more widely available on toblues.ca.
Brooke is known for classes that are unconventional, entertaining, and chock-full of good technique, historical tidbits, and new ideas. She inspires her students to dig deeper to understand the “why” and not just the “what” or “how”. With Brooke, you can always count on full-bodied “scrumpditiliumptious” quality movement and moves – the kind that you can really sink your feet into!
(He / Him)
When DEXTER SANTOS discovered Blues dancing in 2005, he found himself immediately drawn to the rhythms and sounds of the Blues. Something about the music - it's emotional depth and range, the varied subjects and stories, the gut-wrenching and the hip-shaking, the gritty and the smooth - gave Dexter's dancing new inspiration and direction. With a background in Ballroom dancing and Lindy Hop, Dexter has studied and collaborated with the best Blues dance teachers and dancers making him one of the most sought-after and admired teachers in the national and international scene.
As a teacher, Dexter aims to inspire dancers of all levels with the possibilities that Blues dancing has to offer while preserving its roots, identity, and art form. Dexter travels across the US and around the world spreading his passion and joy for Blues dancing through his fun, inspiring, and challenging classes. A particular class favorite often referred to as the "Shim Sham of Blues," the Hound Dog routine (a solo Blues choreography danced to Big Mama Thornton's song of the same title) has been taught to and performed with dancers in four continents.
Dexter has taught at nationally and internationally renowned exchanges and workshops such as bluesSHOUT (Chicago, IL), Austin Blues Party (Austin, TX), Down Home Blues Festival (San Francisco, CA), BamBLOOZled (Washington, D.C.), Rain City Blues (Seattle, WA), Steel City Blues Festival (Pittsburgh, PA), Mile High Blues Festival (Denver, CO), Toronto Blues Battle (Toronto, ON, Canada), Fallin' In Blues (Grenoble, France), Korea Blues Camp (Seoul, So. Korea), Drag The Blues (Barcelona, Spain), Breizh Blues Invasion (Rennes, France), Blues Baby Blues (London), and Black Swan Blues (Perth, WA, Australia) among many others.
When he's not teaching or performing, you'll find Dexter 'cutting his teeth' and refining his skills on the competition floor. Since the very first bluesSHOUT in St. Louis in 2007, Dexter has won first place in numerous Blues dancing competitions around the country and has won the title of Ballroomin' Blues champion at bluesSHOUT 3 times (2007, 2008, and 2010). In an unprecedented feat, Dexter won all four partnered competitions at bluesSHOUT 2010 in Austin: Open Jack & Jill, Strictly Jook Joint, Strictly Ballroomin', and Champions Division. Learn more about Dexter at his website: www.dextersantos.com
(She / Her)
Heidi began dancing and teaching Blues dances in St. Louis in 1999. She has been dancing, teaching and performing ever since. An early promoter of Blues dancing, she founded the first national Blues dance workshop (Cheap Thrills), which has since transformed into the nation's largest Blues dance workshop and competition weekend (bluesSHOUT!).
Now busy with family, Heidi no longer runs bluesSHOUT!, but she continues to travel the world teaching Blues dance as a living tradition, with a rich history and an exciting future. From local classes to international workshops to historical research and documentation of the dance, she is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Blues dancing.
Her classes are inspiring and challenging, but Heidi's focus on the underlying principles and fundamentals of the dance allows her to break down the most difficult concepts and moves, making them easy to understand and incorporate. Heidi is able to communicate and instill in her students a love of dance and a dedication to the learning process. Most importantly, her classes will put some serious 'boom boom boom' and 'aw haw haw haw' in your dancing.
(He / Him)
If John can learn to dance, then so can you! John began tripping over himself (aka dancing) around Detroit in 1997 while still in High School. He started with little skill and he was regularly told “you're not actually leading me to do anything!” Luckily his deep love for music, insatiable interest in meeting new people, and curiosity to figure it out drove him to keep with it. He began with East Coast Swing and Lindy Hop, then tried Salsa, Balboa and Collegiate Shag before finding Blues.
He learned to both lead and follow very early on, which gave him the confidence and ability to elevate his dance. His obsessive study of partnered movement would gain him notoriety as he began to teach. He became known for his fluid movements, musicality, creative move making, and connection. Recently, role switching has taken the spotlight once again in his classes. By encouraging students to learn both roles, he fights against the antiquated idea that 'men lead, women follow'.
An artist on and off the floor, John studied visual arts in college and has maintained one foot in making since then. From casting bronze, to fusing glass, carving wood, publishing photography, and forging steel, cross training in the arts has helped to strengthen his dance abilities. This parallel track helped to develop his eye for lines, shapes, space and motion, as well as his understanding of how bodies and objects can move comfortably and safely together.
He now enters his 20th year of teaching dance. He has taught throughout the US and Canada and as far as England, Holland and Argentina. ECBF 2019 will be his 75th workshop! While he has placed in competitions (www.fluidandformless.com/videos), he maintains that a dancer's true mettle is revealed when dancing with strangers on the social floor. Although he may be traveling less than he used to, he keeps a full schedule of private lessons and helps to run Seattle's weekly lesson and dance, Alibi Blues. He prides himself on his ability to engage students where they are at and navigate them into new levels with his masterful teaching skills. Learn more about John at his website: www.fluidandformless.com
Ruth and Mike
(She / Her; He / Him)
Ruth and Mike are among the most respected and sought-after instructors in the blues dance world. They have taught at most of the blues dance events that exist (In 14 countries and counting…). They are founding members and choreographers of the B Sides, which is the first and currently only ongoing professional blues performance group. Ruth and Mike are an exceptional teaching partnership, internationally renowned for their dynamic energy, precise explanations, entertainment value, and ability to make detailed technique fun to learn. They are prolific choreographers, avid dance nerds, and enthusiastic social dancers. Ruth and Mike are passionate about creating fresh and expressive art that stays true to the roots of the blues. They love dance pedagogy and mentoring newer teachers to fulfill their potential as instructors. Ruth and Mike both love carrot juice, smoky Scotch whisky, and philosophical discussions. Since they started traveling and teaching together, Ruth has started using the Oxford comma, and all of Mike’s electronic devices are from Apple. They have been known to fishtail in grocery stores and swing out in the aisles of moving trains. Check out their facebook page and youtube channel.
Ruth Evelyn skipped into her first dance class more than 25 years ago, and has since been dancing as many styles as she can get her feet on. Ruth’s 15+ years as a dance instructor have taken her on teaching adventures across the US, Canada, Europe and Southeast Asia. She has continually developed both her teaching and her dancing skills. Ruth is known for her ability to craft explanations that fit students’ learning styles. She brings a vibrant mixture of deep technical knowledge, passion for movement, and silly fun that students can’t help but connect with.
As a choreographer, Ruth's creations are received with widespread admiration. Ruth is a founding member and choreographer of the B Sides, guest choreographs for other groups around the world, and mentors people in choreography.
In addition to training in blues, lindy, Argentine tango, modern, ballet and many other dance forms, Ruth is certified in Franklin Method, an increasingly popular body somatics method. She has a long-standing love affair with close-embrace connection, has sneakily swung out in the Louvre, and is curating a fine collection of fishtail variations.
Mike Grosser is one of the most recognized names in the Blues dance community. Mike is a top level instructor, dancer, choreographer, performer, and mentor. He has not only won respected blues competitions but also thrown down hard in unofficial late night dance-offs. Mike is a founding member and choreographer of the B Sides, which is the first and currently only ongoing professional blues performance group. Students across continents rave about Mike’s insights, personality, and breadth and depth of knowledge. As an instructor, Mike strives to put himself in his students’ shoes so that he can relate material as intuitively and thoroughly as possible. He loves seeing students’ eyes light up when they understand a concept or feel a movement work naturally in their body for the first time. Mike lives and breathes dance. He is constantly honing his skills and developing new ideas. If you run into him at grocery store, on public transit, in a museum, or on a mountain top, you’ll probably catch him dancing. Learn more about Ruth and Mike at their website: ruthandmike.com