Instructors


Brenda Russell

Private lessons: brenda@DanceMode.com

Brenda is fulfilling her childhood dream as a professional dancer and instructor. She studies African American street dances from the turn of the century to the present. Brenda travels around the world teaching and training with various coaches and historians. Her strength is breaking down the dances in a way that is accessible for anyone, even if they don’t have a dance background. She strives to help her students find the dancer with-in themselves, taking inspiration from dancers of the past. Brenda is working with the Blues dance community during this time of growth to develop curriculum and events that raise the community’s level of dancing. Her hope is to provide structure for duplicable material, while keeping the inherent character and nature of the dance.



Catherine Palmier

Private lessons: cwpalmier@gmail.com

Racine du Mouvement/Catherine Palmier assists individuals to unleash one’s own authentic movement offering guided explorations to refine one’s dance using grounded organic movement , effortless power and fluid grace.

With over 10 years of professional dance experience, academic training, and knowledge of multiple styles of dance, Catherine skillfully and with a keen movement sensibility helps dancers discover the origin and understanding of their own personal movement. She draws from performance concepts, emotions, visualizations, memories, body mechanics, sensations and alignment to support a constantly flourishing understanding of dance for her students.

Catherine hopes her students receive insight, playfulness and enthusiasm from her work enabling them to develop their own signature style within their dance.

Because of Catherine’s ability to interpret various dance styles coupled with her proficiency in revealing the unlimited nature of African dance, this makes her appealing to dancers of any genre or experience level.



Mike (the Girl) and Dan Legenthal

Photography by Ben Hejkal

Private lessons (Mike): immaculateconnection@gmail.com

Private lessons (Dan): argylerockstar@gmail.com

Mike Legenthal is a passionate aficionado of jazz and blues, known all over the world for her friendliness, teaching skills, following, and expression. She embodies vibrant energy and technical precision, and strives to make every social dance the best possible. Whether at residencies, international workshops, or private trainings, she brings preparation and flexibility every time. Her classes can involve students morphing into robots or seaweed, standing on one foot blindly, or analyzing chord changes- always in pursuit of art. Regardless of subject, she always brings abstract and concrete topics, plenty of levity, and homework, to help students improve long after class ends.

Dan and Mike Legenthal first danced together in 2009, and have been dancing and teaching together at events all over the country. One of their regular, and favorite, gigs is teaching at the Augusta Heritage Festival in Elkins, WV every summer, working to bridge the gap between musicians and dancers. Dan is an up-and-coming dance star with several first-place wins under his belt, as well as a degree in classical music performance, while Mike brings an extensive social dance expertise, and a few championships of her own, creating a knowledgeable, musical pairing.



Andrew Smith

Private lessons: andrew@andrewsmithdance.com

Teaching internationally for over a decade, Andrew still wears the same pair of dance shoes he bought after falling in love with social dance at the end of high school. In classes around the world, he draws upon his experience in social, vernacular, and classical dances to inspire and challenge his students. He brings a balanced focus to technique, body mechanics, spirit, and creativity and strives to create a positive, safe learning environment. Andrew continues to hone his skills through competitions and wins at events around the country, including Enter The Blues, Rose City Blues (twice), and Portland Blues Experience (thrice). In his spare time, Andrew is a software engineer and holds a Master's degree in Sustainable Design and Construction from Stanford University. He enjoys hugs, yoga, and dark chocolate.

Visit www.AndrewSmithDance.com for more info.



Rachel Stirling

Photography by Kai Hayashi

Private lessons: redstirling@gmail.com

It was Pittsburgh, 2003 when Rachel got her first taste of blues dancing, shortly after getting hooked on lindy hop. She fell in love with the intimate connection between your partner and the music and all that hip movement. As her blues dancing has grown, she continues to marvel at the unlimited possibilities of self-expression and movement. She enjoys sharing that joy through teaching, djing, performing, and kicking so much ass in competitions.

When teaching dance, Rachel loves putting her Penn State degree in education to good use. Known for her incredible patience and ability to explain and demonstrate concepts in a variety of ways, she strives to get those "Aha!" moments. Rooted in strong fundamentals and clean technique, her lessons enjoy finding fun ways to sneak that focus into peoples' dancing. As a regional and national instructor, dj, and scene organizer, Rachel is spreading her love of Blues from coast to coast. For dance videos, pictures, and more info, check out http://www.redstirling.com.



Jae Wilson

Photography by Kai Hayashi

Private lessons: jaewilson07@gmail.com

Though Jae has spent over a decade dancing across Europe and the United States, he claims Portland, OR as his blues spiritual home. Whether claiming a spot in the corner at Duff's Garage, 'peacocking' in a jam circle at Bossa Nova or hollering raucously at the Blue Diamond, there's something uniquely intoxicating about the blues in Portland that Jae tries to recreate in his dance. His experiences in the international dance community have exposed him to a wealth of ideas and it's his pleasure to share with others. Jae seeks to follow in the footsteps of his mentors by inspiring students to feel comfortable taking ownership of their dance. Let's learn to find the joy in expressing ourselves through movement.