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Phil Bourassa
(co-owner)

Phil lives and breathes Lindy Hop. After having tried other forms of dance, he was invited to a Swing dance at the Palais Royal in Toronto where he saw Lindy Hop for the first time. He was immediately hooked. His passion for Lindy Hop, its culture and its history has sent him to cities all over Canada, the U.S., Europe and Australia, dancing and working with some of the world’s top dancers. Phil loves to perform and usually never gives up the opportunity to dance in front of an audience. In Toronto, he’s been a part of two local dance troupes, including Capital Dance Productions. He’s also been featured twice on Much Music’s Much on Demand, CP24, Nuit Blanche, The Luminato Festival, and many other festivals and charity events in the Toronto area. When he’s not out social dancing, Phil enjoys training, writing choreography, DJing at Swing dances, rehearsing routines, watching dance videos, tap dancing and teaching. His main goal in teaching is to share his passion for the dance, promote awareness and improve the local scene.

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Ashley Bratty

Ashley has been in love with dancing ever since she can remember. But while growing up with ballet was a lot of fun… finding the Lindy Hop world in 2011 was like coming home. She was immediately sold on the supportive community, the joyous music, and, above all else, the positive energy and appreciation for silliness that Lindy Hop embodies. Ashley hopes to foster in new Bees the same love for positivity and friendly support that first drew her to Lindy Hop! She lives for moments where students see in themselves a hidden ability to dance like a pro that they hadn’t realized was there before!

An anti-violence worker by profession, Ashley is also a committed advocate for fostering inclusivity and safety in Lindy Hop classes and events. She actively works to make, and keep, this community a loving and safe space for anyone and everyone who wants to be a part of it.

Reesa_Bees-Knees-Dance-Teacher_sm-168x168Reesa Del Duca
(co-owner)

Reesa started Lindy Hopping with Bees’ Knees Dance in 2006. With a broad dance background behind her, it didn’t take long before she sought out all the jazz-era dance styles she could learn, including zany Collegiate Shag and her most recent passion: Balboa. In the classroom with Reesa, the emphasis is on fun, comfort and good partnering – creating an atmosphere where students develop solid technique while exploring the playful side of the dance. As a Follower who’s always eager to dance herself rather than just be “danced by” her partner, she makes it her mission to empower her student Followers to do the same. Always thrilled to be teaching, social dancing, or performing, Reesa is a firm believer that dancing to live hot jazz music can bring anyone joy!

James_Bees-Knees-Dance-Teacher_sm-168x168James Everett

James started formal dance classes at Bees’ Knees Dance back in October 2010. With a degree in jazz music and a background in terribly awkward (yet awkwardly rhythmic) “dancing” he took to Swing Dance like a bee to honey. It wasn’t long before he was flying through the levels, dancing most nights of the week and meeting some of the best people he would ever meet among the swing dance community. With years of teaching music and technology it was a natural progression when he moved into a teaching role in 2012. Since then his classes have been characterized by a mix of raucous laughter, intense learning, and an infectious love for what he currently specializes in, Balboa.

James stays active in music as well with his personal music project, metheus Bound, in which he sings, writes, and plays guitar.

Basil FlanaganBasil Flanagan

Basil has been swing dancing since spring 2014 and can’t believe he didn’t start sooner. He quickly got hooked and came to Bees Knees Dance to take his new dance hobby to the next level. Basil soon found himself taking every class he could get his hands and feet on, expanding his swing umbrella to include Balboa, Tap, Jazz, and Cane Tricks.

Basil came to dancing through his love of listening and performing jazz, and strives to approach dancing as a continuation of his considerable musical training. His teaching approach focuses on “feel” and musicality while getting new dancers confident and out on the social floor as soon as possible.

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Kris Light
(co-owner)

Kris was introduced to Lindy Hop and Bees’ Knees Dance while choreographing a musical featuring none other than James Everett in the Fall of 2011. A classically trained ballerina with decades of performance and competition experience in tap, modern jazz, lyrical and musical theatre, Kris found the leap to Lindy Hop challenging but endlessly rewarding.

A founding performer with professional troupe That Swing!, Kris specializes in 1920’s Charleston, sultry Slow Dance and characteristic performance styles of the Golden Age of Hollywood (Fosse, Rogers/Astaire, Kelly/Charisse).

Classes with Kris are goofy and explorative, with a strong focus on pushing personal boundaries. She incorporates techniques and aesthetics from other classic dance forms to increase body awareness and encourage students to uncover their own personal swing styling!

Arthur_Bees-Knees-Dance-Teacher_sm-168x168Arthur Lulu

Since 1998 Arthur Lulu has been living, breathing, and dancing the Lindy Hop. He has been an integral part of the Toronto Lindy Hop/Swing Dance scene as a dancer, teacher, performer, event coordinator, and ambassador. With its rich history, heritage, and energetic, playful nature, Arthur immediately gravitated to this original swing dance.

A teacher for various studios/organizations in Toronto since 2001, Arthur has performed with well known musical acts Big Rude Jake, Colin James, and Jeff Healey to name a few. He has performed at The Montreal Jazz Festival, The Canadian National Exhibition, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto’s Beaches International Jazz Festival and The Opening Night Gala at The Toronto International Film Festival. He has also appeared on Breakfast Television and was featured in Alex Pangman’s One Night in Monte Carlo video.

Heather_Bees-Knees-Dance-Teacher-168x168Heather O’Shea

When Heather O’Shea took her first Lindy Hop class in 2006, she was hooked. She has had a passion for dance since childhood but was captivated by the joyful, free-spirited nature of this particular style of swing dancing. For months afterward she attended just about every social dance, class and workshop the Greater Toronto Area had to offer. In the fall of 2006 she started performing and teaching with Arthur Lulu and has since grown and developed her own style and technique as a dancer, instructor, and performer. Heather values connection, partnership, and efficiency of movement in her social dancing.  She also injects a healthy dose of fun and humour into her teaching that makes classes enjoyable and puts students at ease.  Her love and enthusiasm for the dance are evident in classes, on stage, and on the social dance floor.

Jasper_Bees-Knees-Dance-Teacher_sm-168x168Jasper Palfree
(co-owner)

Jasper began dancing when he moved to Toronto in 2009. His studies of theoretical physics catered to his lindy hop habit, and he became actively involved in the University of Toronto Swing Dance Club. He began teaching at Bees’ Knees Dance in 2010.

Jasper is a patient and dedicated teacher, and leads classes that cater to diverse learning styles. He is known for using exercises, games, or even “tricks” to help students unlock their dance potential. Jasper draws inspiration for his classes from classic clips of vernacular jazz dancing, particularly of the Nicholas brothers or Al Minns and Leon James.

Shannon_Bees-Knees-Dance-Teacher_smShannon Refvik
(co-owner)

Shannon is a vivacious dancer and performer who specializes in Lindy Hop and Authentic Jazz. Since having started dancing in 2006 she has become an integral part of the Toronto scene and is one of the co-founders of the University of Toronto Swing club.

She draws inspiration from lively dancers like Frida Segerdahl. Her teaching style really reflects the idea that “Anyone can dance”, and because of this she especially enjoys teaching beginners. She loves seeing beginners achieve feats of footwork that they themselves never thought they could do.

HS_Ari-168x168Ari Silburt

Growing up, Ari never thought he would be a dancer. Playing hockey, baseball, basketball and lacrosse all his life, he didn’t encounter any form of dance until 2009, when he tried an East Coast Swing class at Mount Allison University to help out a desperate friend. Three years later Ari left the east coast for Toronto, bringing his energy and enthusiasm with him, where he started to learn the Lindy Hop at Bees’ Knees Dance. Instantly hooked by the creativity and athleticism of the dance, Ari eventually abandoned the sporting world in pursuit of connection and musicality.

Ari tries to bring his analytical brain to each and every class, pinpointing obstacles that might prevent the student from achieving his/her desired dance goal. Loaded with enthusiasm and energy, Ari works hard to push students out of their comfort zone to accomplish what they never thought possible.

hs_steph-168x168Stephanie Taylor

Stephanie Taylor (née McKernan) dances, organizes, performs, judges, teaches and sometimes even competes. Technically she specializes in the field of African American Vernacular Jazz Dancing; her favourite part of all that is the Lindy hop and solo Jazz dancing. Her dancing trademark is a special mix of inspiring musicality, solid social and performance dancing skills, and unpredictable explosions of excitement. Her ‘mad dancing skillz’ earned her several top three placements at the Pacific Northwest Lindy Hop Championship and the Harvest Moon Ball Competition at the Killer Diller Ball. She has performed and taught at events across the Pacific Northwest and in Toronto.

She founded and continues to produce and direct the biggest and best weekend of dancing in Western Canada, Lindy Bout. Since moving to Toronto she has had the pleasure of teaching for and performing with many of the organizations that promote Lindy hop and Jazz in Toronto: Bees Knees Dance, Capital Dance Productions, Hogtown Swing, Toronto Lindy Hop, Toronto Swing Dance Society, Swing Toronto, Swing and Tap Academy and UT Swing. She has performed and taught at events such as Luminato, the Canadian National Exhibition and Ontario Place.

HS_Caitlin-168x168Caitlin Wellman

Caitlin seriously got in to Lindy Hop in 1997 at the age of 15 in Ithaca, NY. With fellow students from her Alternative school she was a founding member of the multi-award winning performance troupe Minnie’s Moochers who most recently performed together again at the Frankie95 Celebration in New York City. Before setting down as a regular instructor in Toronto she was in demand as a teacher across the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and Asia for many years. She has also been the Director and Choreographer for Toronto based performance troupes The Flappettes and Capital Dance Productions.

As an instructor, her focus is on solid lead/follow technique – based on momentum, connection, and rhythm – which helps her students enjoy the dance on a deeper level and become more connected to the music and their partner. Her teaching is clear, articulate, and full of fun with many creative ways of helping you improving your dancing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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