Swing Ann Arbor Series Instructors
According to Sara's mother, Sara was a dancer even before she was born. Sara flipped through elementary school and high school, training as a gymnast. After retiring from gymnastics, Sara dabbled in various dances, and even hapkido, before succumbing to swing music and dance. In 2004, while attending the University of Chicago, she learned Lindy Hop, and, shortly thereafter, blues - after all, she did live in Chicago. Sara has been swingin' out and messin' around ever since. Recently, she has been drawn to solo jazz and rhythmic tap, performing with the all-girl jazz dance troupe, Erin Morris & Her Ragdolls, as well as co-choreographing a tap routine for the troupe.
In 2007, Sara and her now husband, Jeff Meyer, moved to Ann Arbor for math graduate school. Since then, they have become increasingly involved in improving the quality of swing dance instruction in the region. In the absence of regular progressive series in Ann Arbor, Jeff and Sara established and taught the Swing Ann Arbor monthly series in September 2010. Under their supervision, the program has grown to provide three monthly series, a monthly workshop, and rotate through a dozen instructors. In addition to coordinating SAA lessons, Jeff and Sara still teach often, both in Ann Arbor and the surrounding region. Together they are known for their fun and engaging classes with an emphasis on social dancing.
Ross started dancing on a whim in 2009. He went for the full immersion experience, learning Lindy Hop, Balboa, Charleston, and Blues. Combining a background in music and a decade of martial arts experience, he seeks to explore connection and awareness both with a partner and the music to foster new creativity. Since 2010 he has taught and DJed Lindy Hop, Blues (a specialty), and Balboa around the Midwest and was also hired to teach a class in Aberdeen, Scotland. Ross moved to Ann Arbor in 2012 for the dance scene and is excited to continue to learn and teach in the region.
Jeff started swing dancing in 2003 while attending college in Chicago as a fun social activity to do with friends. Nine years later, this philosophy is still the driving force behind his passion for the dance. Jeff has studied the wide range of dances that fall under the swing umbrella, including lindy hop, charleston, balboa, solo jazz, and blues. Over the past few years, Jeff has travelled throughout the US and even France and Sweden to attend Swing dance camps and exchanges. He strives to always bring new, fun, and creative movements into his partner dancing.
Since moving to Ann Arbor in 2007, Jeff and his wife, Sara Lapan, have become increasingly involved in improving the quality of swing dance instruction in the region. In the absence of regular progressive series in Ann Arbor, Jeff and Sara established and taught the Swing Ann Arbor monthly series in September 2010. Under their supervision, the program has grown to provide three monthly series, a monthly workshop, and rotate through a dozen instructors. In addition to coordinating SAA lessons, Jeff and Sara still teach often, both in Ann Arbor and the surrounding region. Together they are known for their fun and engaging classes with an emphasis on social dancing.
Erin has been a pivotal figure in the Michigan jazz dance scene for over a decade. She has taught, competed and performed all over the United States and Canada. Her hallmark movement is sparkly, rhythmic, powerful and loose. Her musicality is deeply felt and expressively communicated. She is a sought-after instructor for her energy, empowerment and of course, her great metaphors. Her students enjoy clear and conversational breakdowns of information spanning music, history, biomechanics and raw movement.
Erin honors the tradition of the dances she teaches without losing sight of innovation and personal expression, and she always hopes to leave her students and audiences informed, inspired, and entertained. Ask her about lindy hop, charleston, jig walk, balboa, shag, blues, solo jazz, playing the tuba, riding horses, and writing poetry... also, was she really a professional go-go dancer for two years? Only one way to find out....
Brittany has been dancing since 2003, but long before her feet started triple stepping she was addicted to the music of the 20s, 30s, and 40s. She learned to dance in the beautiful San Luis Obispo, where she met her now husband, Ryan, and started a performance troupe called SLO Motion. Brittany has also competed at placed in several nation Balboa competitions, and currently teaches lindy, balboa, and Charleston in Ann Arbor.
Ryan played the saxophone for many years and greatly enjoyed playing many genres. He really enjoyed listening to swing and latin music, but liked the improvisational aspects of jazz and blues. One day he sat down, well actually stood up..., to cut a rug and his musical interests began shifting from playing to dancing. Dancing to great music allows free expression both with and to the music, much like the improvisation he so enjoyed in jazz. Ryan has been swing dancing since 1998 and began teaching in 2003. His teaching style is nitty-gritty with lots of metaphors, jokes, and discussion between students to highlight both the style and essence of each dance he teaches. Ryan has been a part of the Santa Barbara (CA), Fort Collins (CO), San Luis Obispo (CA), and Ann Arbor (MI) swing scene where he primarily dances the lindy hop, charleston, and balboa, but he has been known to bust out in a shag or blues dance on most nights out.
Mike's passion for jazz music goes back generations - his grandfather would tune into European jazz radio while in Soviet Russia and bring back bootleg records from business trips. When a swing dance club was created at his undergrad in the early 2000s, he was one of the first members, and by the time he graduated he was president of the organization. In addition to organizing, Mike is an enthusiastic teacher. From running sales training sessions in his time in business, through teaching classes full of undergraduates about language and the mind, to bringing Lindy Hop to another set of feet, Mike is interested in the best way share knowledge with new people. He primarily teaches Lindy Hop and Balboa, though stay tuned for a vintage slow dance class one of these days. Mike has taught with the awesome Molly Rubenstein and now primarily teaches with the wonderful Brittany Morton.
Kurt has been dancing since 2004. He came for the girls, but stayed for the Lindy Hop. As a pianist and percussionist, the rhythms of Lindy Hop and Charleston came naturally. His dancing style revolves around musicality and efficient movement so he can dance to those great up tempo jazz tunes from the 20's, 30's and 40's. Kurt has been in a number of Swing Ann Arbor performances and recently choreographed Swing Ann Arbor's first student performance series.