James began his love of swing dancing after watching the movie Swing Kids and seeing all the cotillion kids at his high school actually swing dance. In 2004, he was randomly walking on Upper Sproul while attending UC Berkeley, and started dancing at Lindy on Sproul on the day of its revival. He trained under dance guru Howard Chong and after a year, began choreographing Movement performances and organizing Lindy on Sproul to produce Lindy at Night and Swing Cal.
After graduating from Cal, James co-founded the Dancers Den. James is at it yet again at The Breakaway because he deeply believes that swing dancing should be a permanent fixture of fun, community, and exercise in the modern day, not only for the dancers but for the organizers, the DJs, and the bands as well. When not swing dancing, James loves to backpack and nurture his up and coming boy band career.
Mary's older sister was an inspiration and first encouraged her to try social Ballroom Dancing, then Balboa. From there, Mary went on to discover Lindy Hop at Lindy on Sproul where she met and became friends with many founding members of The Breakaway. Captivated by the dance's joyful affirmation of being and opportunity for playful expression, she is thrilled to be on the marketing team to help share this dance with others.
Amalia Social Events
Amalia discovered swing dancing for the first time through a Balboa workshop that a friend pulled her into in her hometown, Barcelona in 2008. She enjoyed it very much and shortly after she was introduced to Lindy hop. She moved to Grenoble (France) in 2009 and got the chance to keep learning and exploring the swing scene there and around Europe. A few years later, she discovered the pleasure of dancing slow music as well through Blues. Lindy brings her lots of joy, fun, playfulness and a big smile in her face while Blues dancing allows her to express more sensuality and explore a different connection that is very grounding for her. Building a swing dancing community here in the East Bay with such wonderful people is a new adventure that she is very passionate about and very grateful to be part of. See you at The Breakaway!
Rachel started volunteering at The Breakaway at the door, and was so excited to support a new swing dance venue in the Oakland that she started volunteering other areas as well. She loves planning parties and building community. She has been dancing since a she was a youngin’ jamming out to the radio in her room, and remembers first hearing big band music on the radio in high school. Years later, the two connected when she was hanging out in Golden Gate Park and got pulled into Lindy in the Park. Dancing has also inspired her to get back to her childhood hobby of playing music. Rachel loves doing fancy walks on the dance floor.