In alphabetical order:
- Nathalie Gomes Adams
- Raymond Armant
- Jana Blakes
- Katarina Boudreaux
- Gabriel Cavallini
- Lori DeLeon
- Shanda Domango
- Rubia Garcia
- Shayra Burgos Garcia
- Kerry Genese
- Ector Gutierrez
- Alyssa Haney
- De’Jon Holmes
- Jess Leigh
- Olandra Lickter
- Pepa Lopez
- Laura Manning
- Reuel Reis
- Alexander Rowe
- Paul Schaefer
- Meghan Stewart
- Lindsey Zan
Nathalie Gomes Adams (Founder, Swing, Lindy Hop, Les Rebelles)
Nathalie is originally from France and started dancing when she was 11. She learned many dances but her favorite remains Swing and Lindy Hop. While in NYC, she became a World Swing Dance Champion and a Master Teacher. She has repeatedly won every major U.S. swing dance title. Known for her gravity-defying aerials, Nathalie has taught and performed in more than 23 countries. Her vibrant performances have earned Nathalie many stage, film, and television appearances. She performed and served as a consultant in the original Broadway production of Swing!, and has appeared at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. She was a featured dancer in the 2003 Julia Roberts film Mona Lisa Smile and was a model for the dancing elves in Robert Zemeckis’ 2004 animated feature The Polar Express with Tom Hanks. Her national television appearances include repeat engagements on The Today Show, as well as Entertainment Tonight, The View, Good Morning America, and on MTV.
Nathalie’s other notable credits include choreography and performances for Will Smith’s Willennium CD-release party, and a performance for President Bill Clinton at America’s Millennium New Year’s Eve Party, produced by Quincy Jones and Stephen Spielberg. Nathalie frequently teaches, choreographs and performs for corporate functions. Some of Her past clients include British Airways, Sony, Samsung, Biore, the New York Knicks, and Seagrams.
Although her performances are awe-inspiring, Nathalie’s true love is teaching and coaching. In New York City, where she lived for eleven years, she founded Hop Swing & A Jump, Manhattan’s primary swing dance studio and company. In New Orleans since 2005, she is now bringing you Dance Quarter.
Finally, Nathalie created the popular Jefferson Parish Ballroom Dance Program and supervised it for its first 6 years of existence. Today she is making a similar program available to all schools and grades of the Greater New Orleans area through MindSteppers!
Raymond Armant (Salsa)
Ray is a born and raised New Orleanian and grew up with a great appreciation for many forms of artistic expressions. His interests led him to study Architecture at Louisiana State University. While on winter break in 2004, he was asked by his sister to join her for a salsa class. He quickly fell in love with this style of dance and acquired a special affinity for the Latin Rhythms by immersing himself in learning all he could from local instructors and eventually at salsa congresses to learn from national and international instructors. Upon graduation from LSU he returned home with a drive and passion for dance more than ever. This passion brought him together with Jana Blakes and three other fellow New Orleans dancers to form Mambo Orleans. They began teaching locally as well as performing at multiple National and International Congresses. Through this experience Raymond gained another passion for teaching and sharing with others what he had learned over the years.
His appreciation of the music has grown as well over the years, developing a great love for music during the 1950’s Palladium era, 60’s Latin Boogaloo and 70’s Salsa Revolution.
Finally, Ray is recognized for the clarity and ease of his leading and the energy and enjoyment he exudes while dancing with every partner.
Jana Blakes (Salsa)
Jana Blakes lives, eats, and breathes dance. With an extensive background in Ballet and Jazz, her love for Latin dancing, specifically salsa, is inexplicable.
Jana has danced with New Orleans based Tekrema Dance Theater directed by Greer Mendy for many years and has performed in many festivals and various productions around the city.
Jana has also performed with now re-introduced Mambo Orleans, the infamous Jimmy Salserito McIver, and has done solo performances showcasing her ecclectic style of salsa infused with sexy and sassy jazz moves.
She has choreographed for the United Saleras of New Orleans (USNO) and her most prized project is Las Nolitas. Jana gives all credit to her dance mentors Greer Goff Mendy, ballet instructor Tamu Wilson Ortenzio, and ballet and jazz instructor Robbye Thomas for believing in her and instilling confidence in her talent.
Katarina Boudreaux (Argentine Tango, Ballroom)
Katarina is a singer, pianist, dancer, writer, and teacher who began her performing arts training at the age of four. A graduate of the New Orleans School of Ballet, she trained at Arthur Murray and taught for TC Dance Club.
She has performed with the Fort Worth Opera and Casa Manana as a principal dancer, and at both the New Orleans French Quarter Festival and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Her book “Still Tides” was a semi-finalist in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom 2016 competition, and her play “Wake at 4:30” was a finalist in the 2016 Tennessee Williams One-Act play competition.
You can see her perform every Tuesday morning from 10 am to 1 pm at the Oak Street Cafe, and with K and the Ra-Ra Racket and Orquesta Fleur.
Gabriel Cavallini (Swing, Lindy Hop, Balboa, Collegiate Shag, Charleston, Blues)
Music and Dance has been for most part of his life, he started dancing Rock & Roll in 1997 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 2000 discovered Swing Dance and beguine the journey of learning its different styles like Lindy Hop, Boogie Woogie, Balboa, Collegiate Shag, Charleston and Blues. Soon he started teaching, performing, dj and organizing social dances in Buenos Aires. In the meantime he was interested to learn other types of dances like Argentine Tango, Tap, Flamenco and an introduction to other types of Latin dances. In 2008 and 2009 he went to Herrang dance camp in Sweden ( which is the biggest swing dance camp in the world) to continue his learning. In 2010 he came to New Orleans and instantly he felt connected with the spirit of the city, since then he started teaching, performing and social dancing hundreds of hours with the local Live music.
As a performer he experienced to perform in all kinds of events from swing festivals, competitions, commercials, short films, music videos, private events, vaudevilles, theaters to perform with live music (including some of the most well known local bands). He also enjoy choreographing for his students which is something that he did in multiple occasions.
As a Musician he studied Classical and Tango guitar in the Conservatorio de la ciudad de Buenos Aires when he was younger and today he continue his study into Jazz & Blues music, also he perform regularly around the city.
Lori DeLeon (Les Rebelles)
Lori DeLeon started dancing in the fields of Kansas at the age of 4 and continues shuffling the dance floors of the nation. She recently migrated from San Francisco to the Big Easy. A balboa swing enthusiast and instructor, Lori has toured the country to learn, compete, and teach balboa any chance she gets.
A former jazz dance instructor and choreographer, Lori has taught students of all ages, from 8 to 88. She also has experience with teaching visual art in after school programs and is excited to participate in Dance Quarter’s Social Dance in the Schools and After School programs.
Lori started swing dancing in 2006 and quickly fell in love with partner dancing. Since 2008, she has taught classes in East Coast Swing, Lindy hop, Charleston, and Balboa swing. A yoga instructor and current physical therapist, Lori uses her experience to help build swing dance communities around the nation.
Shanda Domango (Hip Hop)
Shanda has established and choreographed the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s (ULL) first Hip Hop dance team – Infinity. While at ULL, Shanda taught Hip Hop at P.J.’s Dance Art School and choreographed and danced for recording artists such as Wentrell Thomas, New Cupid (of the Cupid Shuffle), and Dawn Richard of Danity Kane (formerly Diddy Dirty Money).
While in Los Angeles, Shanda attained a Master’s in Arts Management from Claremont Graduate University and her Personal Training Certification with the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. Merging her love for dance and fitness, Shanda traveled as one of the leading performers and choreographers of SWEET MANGO and toured her renown Hip Hop Cardio classes around the country.
Shanda has worked with clients across the country from Los Angeles to New Orleans in achieving weight loss, lean muscle gain, and increased energy. She specializes in creatively designing workouts for clients that are fun, challenging, and encourages growth.
Shanda currently resides in New Orleans, Louisiana where she runs a company that provides dance, nutrition, and fitness as healthy, active lifestyle services to corporate, community, and private groups and individuals.
Rubia Garcia (Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Cha Cha)
Rubia Garcia is a born and bred New Orleans Lady. Trained to play Classical and Jazz music since the age of seven, she quickly fell in love with the rhythm of Latin music in her early teens. In 2001, she began training with Cuban-born Salsero Aurelio Gonzales; performing Casino Style Salsa, or “Rueda” at various venues around Louisiana. In 2004, she broadened her dancing skills by training with world renowned instructors and performers Troy Anthony and Jorjet Alocer.
She moved to the Dominican Republic in 2006 to study Spanish and various forms of Latin music and dances including Cha Cha, Merengue, and her personal favorite, Bachata. After returning, she had an undeniable desire to devote her life to the teaching of underprivileged youth within New Orleans Public Schools, and rebuilding the Latin dance scene which seemingly had been irrevocably damaged due to the worst natural disaster this country has ever seen. Shortly after Hurricane Katrina, Rubia created her own dance company, Soul II Sole, and began to travel, train, and perform at Latin dance events across the globe with an undying determination to show the world that the New Orleans’ Latin dance scene was very much still alive.
With almost 15 years of dance experience in Salsa, Merengue, Cha Cha, and Bachata; most noted for her unique look, which earned her the name “La Rubia,” and her rare ability to both lead and follow with style and precision, Rubia Garcia is one of the most well respected and influential members of the New Orleans Latin dance community. In her own words, however, “people who believe they have come to know all, in actuality, know nothing at all. Even though I am an instructor now, I know as a dancer, I can always learn and grow exponentially.” Because of this fundamental belief, she is constantly traveling and training to sharpen her Latin dancing and teaching skills.
With an invigorating personality, lust for life, and passion for dance, Rubia has dedicated all of her vitality in service of others and helping them find the dancer within at any level.
Shayra Burgos Garcia (Zumba)
Shayra was born and raised in Puerto Rico and has memories as a little kid of dancing and choreographing her favorite Menudo songs. Shayra used to teach salsa and latin dancing for fun in Puerto Rico.
In 2010 she moved to NOLA to become a doctor in neurolinguistics. At the same time she discovered the joy of doing Zumba®. In 2014, she decided to become part of the Zumba Instructors Network. Shayra has been teaching Zumba® ever since, and LOVES it and her students.
Kerry Genese (Swing, Lindy Hop)
Kerry is a swim coach by trade, seduced by a life of jazz music and twirling. She joined her school’s swing dance club as a way to decompress. Directly after graduating, she moved to Philadelphia to begin dancing and teaching full-time.
Kerry is based in New Orleans now, a city teeming with passion and a place that entertains a baseline of joy and musicianship unmatched anywhere in the world. She seeks to maintain the lessons of connection, community, and inclusivity she learned in the City of Brotherly Love and add to them layers of musicianship and individuality that she cannot help but soak in here in the Big Easy.
As a dancer and teacher, Kerry values feeling and humor. Her concentration is on improving technique, but always as a means to another end.
Ector Gutierrez (Argentine Tango)
Known for his smooth and seductive style, studied Argentine tango in the United States and Buenos Aires under the world’s greatest tango masters. His personal style is heavily rooted in the techniques of traditional Salon tango and also utilizes some of the freedom and creativity of Tango Nuevo.
Ector is based in the New Orleans area, but his dancing and teaching talents take him around the region and across the globe, including workshops as far away as Beijing and Hong Kong.
Ector performed in Crisalis Music Project’s Cuatro Estaciones Portenas in 2006 and Maria de Buenos Aires in 2007. Also in 2007, he was a principal dancer in Collins’ stage show Luna Argentina and performed with her at Casa Argentina de Houston’s Night of Tango.
Kerri McCaffety, well-known in New Orleans as a writer and photographer, is Ector’s regular partner and teaching assistant.
Ector has learned from instructors including Fabian Salas, Mariano “Chicho” Frúmboli, Daniela Arcuri & Armando Orzuza, Carolina Zokalski & Diego Di Falco, Daniel Lapadula, Julio Balmaceda & Corina de la Rosa, Mario Consigliere & Anabella Diaz-Hojman, Susanna Miller and many more.
Ector teaches in and around New Orleans, imparting to his students his sensual combination of old and new styles. He continues to learn and to attend workshops and travels to Buenos Aires regularly to submerge himself in the richness and culture of Tango.
Alyssa Haney (Adult Ballet)
Alyssa Haney grew up in Austin, TX where she trained in ballet, jazz, modern, contemporary, pointe, and musical theatre at McCallum Fine Arts Academy and Tapestry Dance Company. She moved to New Orleans to pursue her BFA in dance and history at Tulane University, graduating cum laude in 2010. She received her MA in Dance Theories & Practices from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro in 2015, having studied pedagogy, dance research, technique, improvisation, dance history, and choreography. She was a department TA, teaching courses in ballet and dance appreciation, as well as serving on departmental committees and in the Association of Graduate Students in Dance. She currently teaches for the Loyola University Department of Theatre Arts and Dance, as well as the Loyola Preparatory Arts Program. Alyssa is an active member of the New Orleans dance community, having choreographed and performed with D’Project since 2010, as well as appearances with Ballet Hysell and the Loyola Ballet.
De’Jon Holmes (Bachata, Salsa on 1 LA Style, Salsa on 2 New York Style, Cuban Style Salsa, Casino, Rueda, Merengue, Kizomba)
Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. My 1st dances were Bachata and Merengue highly influenced by my Dominican background. Studying and Training with and under Aurelio Gonzalez (Cuban Master based in New Orleans), Troy Anthony, Jorjet Alcocer and Raymond Armant of Mambo Orleans has since solidified my foundation as an Instructor and Student. I am currently a Professional Instructor based out of two Dance Studios in New Orleans where I teach 6 classes per week in addition to teaching and performing around the country in various communities and at various congresses. Currently teaching Bachata (Traditional and Sensual), Salsa on 1 LA Style and Salsa on 2 New York Style, Cuban Style Salsa, Casino, Rueda, Merengue and Kizomba.
Jess Leigh (Dance Trance)
Jess grew up in Ohio and danced as a little girl. When she got a little older, dance seemed to not be as important and faded away. She played soccer, ran track, played in her high school band and was a cheerleader. When she moved to Jacksonville, Fl she discovered Dance Trance. The founders of this program were so successful in Jacksonville Beach that they opened a second location in Downtown Jacksonville and then licensed the name and program to various people. Jess was asked by the owners to train to be an instructor and to spread the love for this program. When Jess moved to New Orleans, she started her own Dance Trance classes and she is the only one offering this program in town. Jess says, ” I’m so happy to be dancing every day and I’m so excited to share this program with a city I love!” We are happy to welcome Jess in our team.
Olandra Lickter (Blues)
Olandra discovered Blues Dancing in the Fall of 2012 and never looked back! Attending classes and workshops all over the United States and more recently competing at different events, she is dedicated to developing her own dance while sharing her passion with others.
With a background in massage therapy and anthropology, she is interested in using our bodies safely and with creative expression to cultivate communities of people that honor and delight in blues music and dancing.
This past year, she has been working with Upturn Arts as a youth dance instructor and teaching assistant. She is also a Summer Dance Education Intern with the Bates Dance Festival 2016. When she’s not teaching, you might see her practicing Tango, Swing, African, tap, hip hop or anything else around our soulful city of New Orleans.
Pepa Lopez (Youth Club, Mindsteppers)
Pepa Lopez is originally from Spain. She is a Certified Elementary teacher with Specialty in Music Education, with more than 10 years’ experience working with children, and actually works as a Spanish Teacher in Jefferson Parish. In Spain, besides working as Elementary teacher, she taught music, theater and dance in the early years program of The Artistic Lyceum in Marbella, Spain, and participate as Monitor in Summer Camps doing all kind of outdoor activities with the children (canoeing, archery, trekking, climbing…)
She migrated from her native Mediterranean city to New Orleans five years ago, to teach Spanish in an exchange program for Elementary Schools in the US, where she felt in love with the city and its culture.
She has being dancing since she was 7 years old, when she learned Sevillanas (a Flamenco dance) dancing in the streets, and she hasn’t stop since then.
She has tried all types of dances, being trained in Salsa, Merengue, Rumba, Cha-cha, Ballroom and Hip hop, but was in New Orleans where she discovered her new passion, Swing and Lindy Hop.
She has been a teacher assistant for the Jefferson Parish Ballroom program, teaching Ballroom dancing to 5th graders, and her students won in 2 occasions. Pepa is always excited to work with young children, and loves to be able to share with them her passion for dancing.
Laura Manning (Swing, Lindy Hop)
Laura Manning is a performer, instructor, and all round disciple of early 20th century American jazz dances, a field in which her talents and experience vary widely: On any given day you’ll find her practicing with New Orleans’ Wild Dominoes, entertaining the crowds on Royal Street with the Smoking Time Jazz Band, teaching classes uptown and down, planning or choreographing the Old New Orleans Lil Big Vaudeville Variety Show, or just going for it at the Spotted Cat to her favorite local band. Personable and down to earth, Laura is esteemed for her distinctive, rhythmic dance styling, her amicability, professionalism and acuity when working with others, and the joy and spirit she brings to all aspects of her working life, from writing scripts, creating and producing shows, to dancing, teaching and performing. She loves her students and she loves her home, New Orleans.
Reuel Reis (Lindy Hop, Blues, Jazz)
Reuel Reis has been sharing the art of Lindy Hop, Blues, and other vernacular jazz dances for almost two decades. From humble beginnings, teaching weekly classes at his college swing dance club, Reuel has since taught workshops and won competitions everywhere from Chicago to New Orleans, Orlando to Seattle, Philadelphia to San Francisco, and many places in between. Born and raised in New Orleans, Reuel attempts to imbue the spirit, and culture of his hometown into every class and every dance.
Alexander Rowe (West Coast Swing, Night Club 2-Step, Lindy Hop, Swing)
Alex Rowe has been a dancer at heart from the time of House Music and “Stop, Hammer Time!”. (How’s that for “old school”?). “I truly believe the body is a wonderland and it’s always an investigation of its potential,” Alex says.
Alex began his partner dance journey in 1999 at a country bar when a close friend took him on his 21st birthday. That same week, Alex was introduced to lindy hop. After three months of almost nightly dancing, life never looked the same.
“I feel the same about WCS and Lindy,” he says. “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing!”
Paul Schaefer (Swing, Lindy Hop, Balboa, Charleston)
Paul Schaefer is a life-long NOLA native. He has been teaching, mentoring and training others for over a decade in his professional trades as a counselor and military officer, but can be found moving his hips in several dance communities throughout the greater New Orleans metropolitan area. Making his feet happy and bringing joy to the soul, his mission as a dance instructor is to assist others in finding the same. “If you’ve got a smile on your face, you’re doing it right.”
He has been enjoying physicality, movement and physical expression since the age of 6. He began his partner dance journey in 2008 training under World Swing Dance Champion and Master Teacher, Nathalie Gomes Adams. He taught his first dance class in 2010 while deployed overseas in Iraq. He dabbles in a multitude of dance styles which include Salsa, Bachata, Argentine Tango, Kizomba, Hip-hop and Cajun/Zydeco, but has a special love and emphasis on the Swing family of dances (East Coast, Lindy Hop, Balboa, and Charleston). He is known for is smooth style and easy lead. He has performed for Dance Quarter flash mob and special events, the Harold Tompson GALA and has appeared in the Times Picayune, WWL Channel 4, and HBO’s True Detective cable television series.
Meghan Stewart (Belly Dancing)
Meghan was inspired in high school by world famous belly dancer Petite Jamilla, and after joining her class, has since then traveled throughout the Southeast studying and performing belly dance, in troupes and as a solo artist. She started teaching belly dance in Hattiesburg, MS in 2008, eventually opening The School for Belly Dance with Petra Cafe in 2011. She has had the honor of studying with award winning dancer and belly dance mother Connie Rasa, and has work-shopped with Rachel Brice, Ariellah, and Leyla Jouvana. She performed as a special guest in Belly Dance Superstars with the troupe Sirqus of Jreams in Birmingham, AL (2004), solo artist at the award winning Atlantis Gala in Hattiesburg, MS (2007), and as a solo gypsy dancer with the Mississippi Opera’s production of Carmen (2007). She has been dancing in restaurants and events for 12 years, and is currently performing at Attiki Hookah Bar and Grill in the Quarter every weekend. Meghan specializes in Traditional Cabaret and is excited to resume teaching in her adopted home of New Orleans, and hopes her students will find it as inspiring and fulfilling as she does.
Belly dance is one of the oldest dance forms in history, and it allows the dancer to embrace his/her own unique body, no matter the shape or size. It is an empowering dance that was created for women by women to aid in childbirth and eventually was used as a form of entertainment. It is a low impact workout for people of all ages, and along with muscle tone it helps improve self esteem, posture, and digestion.
Lindsey Zan (Ballroom)
Lindsey was born (and mostly) raised in Texas, where she started dancing when she was 3. She trained in ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, modern and lyrical throughout her childhood winning several first place titles for duet and group performances in jazz and ballet. She continued dancing through her teens with a focus on ballet, jazz, pom, and high-kick, and won first place titles at both the regional and national level while competing with her high school dance team, the Klein Oak Strutters. She also performed with her dance team at many community events, including half-time shows for the Houston Rockets.
Lindsey received a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Texas at Austin and then moved to San Diego to pursue a graduate degree in psychology. Her eight years of study & research has resulted in a deep understanding of the varying ways in which people learn, what motivates them, and how people communicate. Lindsey has leveraged this knowledge in building her training and teaching methodologies, and has built a career focused on improving group & team dynamics, leadership development, and coaching. She was a significant contributor to the best-selling book on emotional intelligence, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and has been published in the journal Leadership in Action for her research on executive coaching with the Center for Creative Leadership.
Lindsey was first introduced to partner dancing in San Diego where she learned Samba and Cha-Cha at Mary Murphy’s Champion Ballroom Academy. She moved to New Orleans in 2012 and in January 2014, she took her first lesson in Argentine Tango at Dance Quarter with Ector Gutierrez and Katarina Boudreaux. Since then, she has intensively trained in tango and has traveled the world to take lessons from master teachers, including Liz & Yannick Vanhove, Fabian Peralta & Josefina Bermudez, Alejandra Hobert & Adrian Veredice, and Daniel Martinez Cadavid. At the beginning of 2016, she co-founded Milonga Osada, an organization that hosts social events and visiting instructors, in order to support and continue the growth of the New Orleans tango community.
Lindsey is a lifelong learner of dance and has continued to expand her training in partner dance including west coast swing, salsa, rumba, east coast swing, blues, foxtrot, and waltz. She has performed tango in New Orleans with Ector Gutierrez and has performed Can Can, Charleston, Go-Go and Jazz with Les Rebelles. In 2016, she trained with her soon-to-be husband to perform tango for their first dance – which was a moment she will never forget. Her unique background & experience has given her the perfect set of skills to work with wedding couples so that they can have a magical and unforgettable first dance experience on their special day.