Ever since attending his first evening dance and late night, Matthew has been chomped on by the swing and blues bugs. An unexpected twist of fate in the summer of 2000 took him away from his newfound love and landed him in Peoria, Illinois, an (at the time) dance desert. So Matthew, for mostly selfish reasons, set off to correct the travesty by teaching and inspiring anyone who was willing to be welcomed into the dance community. His training in Chicago, on the road around the U.S. and in parts of Europe, created a well-rounded and versatile understanding of the dance. He passed this knowledge on to his students, along with passion, and a side of sensi-blues & swing-ities.
Wiggling through life from a young age, Cassandra always had a fascination with motion and movement. Her addiction to swing began unexpectedly at eleven while be-bopping alongside her mother. What began as a fun outing quickly became a way of life and a lifelong obsession. Seeking out new ways to express emotions through movement, Cassandra took every class she could find, exploring fundamentals, style variations, performance techniques, and musicality. Throughout college, dance was never far from her mind, escaping two to four times a week to any dance within driving distance. Each new state and community she became a part of offered a new way of experiencing and thinking about dance, diversifying her understanding of this complex an immensely fun activity. Always moving, always exploring, and always growing, dance has opened her world to a fuller life and a greater community.
Newly relocated to North Carolina in the summer of 2012, Matt has brought over 17 years of dance insight to the area. He unpacked, straight out of the moving truck, an unquenchable thirst for more knowledge. Realizing that one could spend multiple lifetimes studying dance and still have more to discover, he has targeted a few key areas. One focus is exploring each dance’s background, current state, and the various ways it is evolving. He is also interested in principles of movement and partnering that apply across the spectrum of social dance, and help build that “It was like they were reading my mind!” connection with more dance partners, more frequently.
Cassie and Matt's unique teaching strategy combines challenging, yet achievable moves, with abstract concepts conveyed through, often quirky, yet effective analogies. Innovative exercises are used to develop skills that will make dance more conversational and interactive, allowing both partners to add more of their own voice and perhaps a dash of spice without sacrificing connection. Together, Cassie and Matt bring their combined 26 years of teaching insight to introduce students to the fun, silly, somber, modest, racy, coy, energized, serene, and creative side of dance. One reason they are so passionate about sharing dance with others is that they have both witnessed firsthand the way dance can transform a person’s life. They have seen students with two left feet trade them in for two of the right ones, and they firmly believe that everyone has the potential to be a great dancer. Whether you have never danced before or you have have this whole dancing thing in the bag, they invite you bring your own unique perspective, to build, explore, and enhance your dance-abilities in their classes.