OUR 2017 DANCE INSTRUCTORS
Ruben Luna - an award winning choreographer having won many choreography competitions including 3 first place wins at the UCWDC world championships, Las Vegas Dance Explosion, Chicago Windy City Line Dance Mania, Boston Showdown and Ft Wayne Dance For All. Ruben has also been nominated for several Dancer choice awards including Dance of the Year and Male Instructor of year. Ruben received the 2009 Dancers Choice Horizon Award and recently received the 2013 Dancers Choice Male Personality of the Year Award.
Ruben’s love of dance helped him create popular dances such as “Hey Soul Sister” (co-written with Bracken Ellis) which reached the #1 spot for approx. 8 weeks in Carol Cravens WLDN), “Regresa”, “If I Could Change”, “Just The Two Of Us”, “A Little Party” (co-written with Jill Babinec “Trendin” (co-written with Sobriello and the Kinsers) and “Smooth Operator” (co-written with Michael Barr, Scott Schrank)
Ruben owes his success in line dance to his wife Susanna for without her he may never have line danced. She was persistent in asking him to take a class with her which he refused because he did not think he would like it very much. Eventually Ruben decided to attend a line dance class and a dance addict was born. Ruben began taking lessons 3 days a week and eventually began choreographing.
Ruben enjoys traveling and teaching line dance throughout the country.
When not dancing you will find Ruben watching sports, hiking, traveling, spending time with family and running his own Marketing & Advertising businesses.
(photo courtesy of garyandpierresilva.com)
Louise Bretz - Together with her husband, Woody, Louise has been teaching and promoting West Coast Swing in Ventura for over 20 years. She has been an active competitor and choreographer, bringing home several awards from the US Open Swing Dance Championships and coaching a team to a UCWDC World Championship. In 2014 Woody and Louise were inducted as a couple into the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame. Louise’s favorite things are experiencing a “magic” connection in a dance, and seeing students experience a “light bulb” moment.
Jan Blakely - I discovered Line Dance while vacationing in Morro Bay (1995). When I returned to Bakersfield, I found a wonderful instructor (Tyoni Busch) and she became my mentor, enabling me to present a dance I had choreographed for the “Pismo Western Days” competition that next year. I have been teaching and choreographing line dances ever since. I currently teach September thru June at the Masonic Temple building in Bakersfield: “Beginner” class each Wednesday & “Intermediate” class each Thursday. Then, in July & August each summer, I teach line dance for the Parks & Recreation in Morro Bay & at the Morro Shores Mobile Home Park in Los Osos. I LOVE line dancing & I LOVE the people! WHAT FUN ! !
Mark & Jill - I started dancing East Coast Swing in 1988. I met Mark in 1991 at the Carrillo Recreation Center when he had taken 6 weeks of West Coast Swing and we've been dancing & romancing ever since. We enjoy sharing and socializing in WCS, Hustle, Night Club 2-step, Tango, and Country 2-Step.
Norman Gifford - As a “single again” person in the late 1980’s, I turned to Country Western dancing and music as a way to re-enter the dating scene. I joined a local country dance club where I was privileged to take couples lessons from such greats as Dave Getty, Robert Royston, and Michelle Kinkaid along with other excellent local instructors. My interest in line dancing came when my then girlfriend, now wife (a linedance teacher and social country dancer) suggested that teaching line dancing might be a good thing for me to do. Achy Breaky Heart had recently hit the air, and linedancing was enjoying a great deal of interest. I started taking line dance lessons and soon had other dancers asking me for help with dance steps.
My education as a Chiropractor gave me a good understanding of biomechanics and with a B.A. in Music Education, I found that I could teach others how to enjoy dancing. My first teaching job was in 1992 at a mobile home park teaching senior citizens how to line dance. The gratitude and appreciation that I received from them spurred me into expanding my teaching activities into Park & Recreation districts all around the greater Sacramento area. For many years I taught up to eight classes per week of beginner and intermediate dancing.
The need for a safe, social environment in which to linedance led my wife & I to sponsor dances through the various Park & Recreation Districts where we taught. I became the DJ, and my wife took over the task of assisting beginners at the dances. We presently do a dance each month on the first Sunday afternoon at the Community Center in Fair Oaks, CA.
In 1996, the need for new line dances that appealed to my students led me into linedance choreography. I have created over 100 linedances over the years and am thrilled at the success that “Burlesque” has garnered. I was inspired to do the dance after watching the credits to the movie Burlesque where Cher sang the song “Welcome to Burlesque”. Reflecting back, I was also driven by the music to choreograph “Sway Me Now” in 2005 after seeing the movie “Shall We Dance?” with Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez. Other popular dances of mine include: A Love Worth Waiting 4, Behind Closed Doors, Sparkle & Shine, and A Kiss 4 Me. In the Las Vegas Dance Explosion 2012 my dance Amor de Rumba placed 1st in the Beginner Division and Amica Mia placed 2nd in the non-phrased Intermediate Division. I have been published in Linedancer Magazine in both the First in Line and Steppin’ Off The Page sections.
I have had the repeated privilege to be an invited instructor at the Pismo Beach Country Western Dance Festival, subsequently Clovis Western Days, Cambria Western Dance Festival, and Boogie ‘til the Cows Come Home and have been the DJ for Scooter Lee’s “Dancing for the Dream” event in the Sacramento area from 2008 to 2015. As a choreography competition winner I have been invited to teach in Las Vegas at the Vegas Dance Explosion. My dance choreography can also be found on other sites including Linedancer Magazine and Copperknob.
Cliff Housego - developed his love of dancing during the country craze in the early 80s. That led him to dancing competitively in the UCWDC circuit, where he finished first overall in Silver Advanced. Cliff danced in the Hustle USA competition and is currently a member of the LA Hustle Movement Competitive Dance Team.
As the owner of Total Entertainment DJ's inc., Cliff has been a DJ and Master of Ceremonies at all of the major West Coast Swing and Country events here in Southern California. Presently, Cliff DJ's and Teaches a monthly West Coast Swing Dance event in partnership with Louise and Woody Brett and additionally Cliff Djs, MC's and teaches dance at his monthly country and swing dance at the House of Dance in Ventura. Cliff has been teaching WCS and Night Club Two Step every Tuesday for the past 24 years at The Borderline in Thousand Oaks.
Cliff would also like to thank Vannessa for having him as a part of her beautiful event here in Solvang!
Lisa Kay Harwin - is from Santa Barbara. Her dance instructions emphasize safety and fun, through technique and humor. Her mentors have been among the tops…Skippy Blair, Mary Ann Nunez and Sonny Watson. She uses much of her curriculum from the “Golden State Dance Teachers Association” along with her own innovative teachings. Lisa looks forward to “Stepping Up Your Swing”.
Bill Elmer - has been teaching dance for the last decade+. He has done this out of love for dance rather than for survival! Bill started competing in 2000, something he does to this day, although to a lesser extent. He has happily taught in Santa Barbara through Parks and Rec for nearly 10 years and at Borderline in Thousand Oaks, going on 5 years now, as well as choreographing many wedding dances. His favorite dances are Country Two Step and Nite Club Two Step.
Marie Del Giorgio - brings 25+ years of country western dance experience to this event. She has been dancing, performing & competing since childhood in many forms of dancing -- you name it & she has probably danced it or at least taken a lesson on it. She has danced professionally for the Marriott Corporation & Disney. Marie was fortunate enough to be asked to teach the Season 3 American Idol finalists how to line dance. Marie was also asked to perform & teach on the Ellen Show. Marie loves to teach at private functions. "Dancing is such great exercise & so much fun. You get to meet the greatest people. It beats going to the gym ANY day!"
Vanessa Robertson - Started taking line dance lessons in 2004. Loved it and expanded into learning all the country couples dances. Then one day I decided that Djing and teaching line dances would be fun! I have choreographed a few line dances "Here for a Good Time", "Til You Hear a Banjo", and "All Good in the Woods". I have DJ'd many weddings, and I teach 2-step and line dancing Tuesday & Thursday nights at The Maverick in Santa Ynez and Monday nights at the Oasis Center in Orcutt. I also have a Friday Night Country dance in downtown Santa Barbara the 2nd and 4th Friday nights or sometimes I hire a live band for a Saturday night...And now I'm enjoying my next adventure of hosting a year dance event..."Central Coast Country Dance Event" Loving it!!!