Meet our fantastic staff! Whether it is providing top-notch instruction, crafting an enjoyable event, or capturing gorgeous photography, we are passionately committed to making the Underground Dance Community as great of an experience as it can possibly be!

Ashley Rosenerashley

Instructor/Organizational staff

Ashley began dancing when she attended a lindy hop kick-off dance at grad school in 2012. She was immediately in love and attended weekly lindy lessons and dances for a few years, eventually dabbling in blues, salsa, west coast swing, and more.

After about one year of dancing locally, she started to travel and has since been all over the Midwest and beyond for dance weekends and workshops. While she now primarily dances locally due to her adoption of an adorable puppy, she can still be found out and about dancing in the area. She became a DJ and instructor for the Underground Dance Community just over two years ago and enjoys helping others grow as dancers.

briBrianna Benvenuti

Instructor/Organizational staff

Brianna is a lifelong dancer, experienced competitor, and versatile educator. Starting with ballet and tap at a young age, she has studied with many renowned instructors and now has most of the major dance forms in her repertoire. With nearly 10 years experience both competing and teaching in dance, she has special expertise and interest in Lindy Hop and youth ballroom. She holds a B.A. in Dance and Exercise Science from Western Michigan University and hopes to continue her studies of the arts.

Casey McCoyCasey

Instructor/Organizational staff

Casey hates writing in the 3rd person. I discovered the world of Swing dancing through a series of odd tangents throughout my life, which lead me to my first swing out at the Underground Dance Community in January 2015. I’m based out of Kalamazoo, MI (Yes, the one from that Glenn Miller song) where I also meet with local college swing scenes as well as help run the Kalamazoo Swing Society.

Everywhere I go I try to bring my joy of dance onto the floor, sometimes baffling other dancers with the seemingly unlimited pool of energy I draw upon throughout the night; whether it is swinging out until 5AM at a late night dance, or waking up at 8AM for a 3 hour intensive class, I come eager to learn and have fun.

I love a plethora of both swing and blues dance styles. I like to find inspiration in dance by looking towards the original dancers of different styles, as well as how they developed their styles and why they developed in those ways, and I use this to better understand where American Styles of Dance belong in our contemporary world. Sharing things I am passionate about, such as glassblowing, long boarding, Taco Bell, and now swing dancing which I started teaching November of 2015, with such an awesome community, makes me excited to see where dance will take my students and me.

DavidDavid Clark

Instructor/Organizational staff

David started moving to the music in middle school playing Dance Dance Revolution in the arcades outside Detroit. It wasn’t until after college when he discovered swing dance at the East Coast Swing scene in Grand Rapids at the beginning of 2014. After being introduced to Lindy Hop later that year David was hooked on the fun and energy the dance offers.

David dances nearly every day during the week and tries to travel as often as possible. Along with learning new dances, including West Coast Swing, David is hoping to learn and help others learn how to move to the music in any form.

Emory ThompsonEmory

Instructor/Organizational staff

Emory began dancing his freshman year of college and has been going ever since. Changing cities, changing jobs, changing scenes but always dancing. He took a foray into blues for a couple of years with solid renown in competition and instruction but eventually fell back to his first love of Lindy Hop. With its high energy and jazzy sound, there is nothing he would rather be doing than dancing and teaching Lindy Hop!

IKE - I FIGHT FOR MY FRIENDSIke Swets

Instructor/Organizational staff leader

Ike entered the world of dance through a very strange series of coincidences in October of 2013, and was immediately captivated by the art. He initially tried many different styles, but none of them infatuated him quite like Lindy Hop; the seemingly endless amount of fun it offered coupled with the room for creative freedom and individual expression quickly sold him on it.

Ike loves to share his passion for swing dance with others and can often be found doing so around Grand Rapids, his local scene, to help to further the growth of the Lindy Hop community there. When he’s not busy doing that, he’s most likely out of town attending a dance weekend somewhere as he also loves to travel and can frequently be found at various dance events around the Midwest. He enjoys and finds excitement in all the various styles of swing, which even includes, much to some of his more traditionally-vernacular minded peers’ dismay, WCS.

Ike is an instructor and scene organizer for the Underground Dance Community. His classes are as fun as they educational, and his ability to break down material to comprehendible concepts have earned him great reviews there.

Michael Sepanikmike

Photography & Video Media management

Michael Began dance in August 2014 attending the G.R.O.S.S. Star Wars theme night and from there fell in love with dance. After a while he noticed that people bring cameras to swing and take pictures a lot, so he brought his. After a while he gained confidence with his shots, composing and what not and just started making quality photos. One instructor of his (Rob Evans) would always say “push the buttons, make the pretties” and so he did.

After about a year of dance Michael joined the Underground Dance Community and started learning Lindy Hop. At first he was only going to UDC to dance but brought his camera anyway. Now he does most of the photos and video you see coming out of the UDC.

Along with providing weekly photograpy, in 2015 he started his art prize project (for Art Prize 7) Dust Dancing, which was a creative idea that resulted in some truly unique and beautiful shots. Mike’s work can be viewed on his website here: www.MikeWillArt.com

SammiSammi Kunz

Instructor/Organizational staff

Sammi, like many other of the Underground Dance Community members, started her foray into the wide world of dance through the Grand Rapids Original Swing Society. While she was there one Tuesday evening, she saw a couple dancing Lindy Hop, and instantly decided that she wanted to do that too – she quickly picked it up, and eventually began teaching swing around Grand Rapids at places like local college clubs, the Grand Rapids Original Swing Society, and finally the Underground Dance Community.

Sammi brings a fun and unique perspective to her classes, offering a fresh take on concepts traditional concepts breached in all swing classes. Her calm and relaxed demeanor help her students focus in on the topic at hand and sets them up for rapid and long-term improvement.

When she’s not out dancing, Sammi can be found crushing any fool that dares challenge her at Super Smash Brothers, playing through an entry in her favorite series of video games, The Legend of Zelda, or working graphic design projects.

Sarah McLellansrah

Instructor/Organizational staff

Sarah’s dancing career all started at the ripe age of 3 when she discovered that she hated tutus and quit any form of dancing out of spite. As she grew up, she vowed she would never dance again due to her amazing lack of hand-eye coordination. But when some of her friends started to learn swing in her sophomore year of high school, she was too intrigued and decided to go with them to the swing scene in downtown Grand Rapids. From that first night she was hooked. After doing East Coast Swing on and off for four years, Sarah was introduced to the UDC in May of 2015 and fell head-over-heels in love with Lindy.

Since then, she has primarily focused on Lindy Hop and Charleston, while also dabbling in West Coast Swing. In addition to the social aspect, she loves the competitive side of Lindy. Whenever possible, Sarah travels the Midwest and beyond for dance.

Sarah’s pedagogy places an emphasis in guiding her students in the right direction while also giving them space to experiment with the dance. She believes in individuality on the dance floor but also holds form in high regard. She is best known for her height (or lack thereof) and ability to crack jokes so awful even dads groan at them.

Scott Herdegen                                                      

Instructor/Organizational staff

Scott began dancing in front of the tv, moved by the raucous tunes from “The Music Man”. He didn’t fall in love with the craft until high school when he attended an audition clinic focused on dancing. From there he found swing dancing and lindy hop. Now he dances as much as he can traveling to events and spreading the good work of all dancers before him.

AngelAngel Jenio

Guest Instructor

Angel Jenio is a seasoned dancer based out of Lansing, MI. She frequents The Underground Dance Community and other dance scenes to teach and enjoy a great night of dancing. With proficiency in many different styles of movement, ranging from swing to belly dancing, Angel has a vast amount of experience as a dancer and a teacher, making her classes beneficial for all who participate. She approaches her students with a down-to-earth personality and gives concise and accurate individual critiques, allowing dancers to quickly identify and proceed with whatever dance goals they’re trying to work on.

Angel graduated from MSU and is now the communications director for a state agricultural organization. She is a cat aficionado, and can often be found showing off videos featuring fine felines from her vast pet media collection. One of her favorite films is Demolition Man (1993), which stars Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes.

 

The Underground Staff

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