Joleigh grew up in the Bay Area and loves being a part of the Oakland community. She first started swing dancing in Berkeley at Lindy on Sproul in the Fall of 2006, and was a student in the very first SwingCal class in Spring 2007. After graduating, she stayed involved in the East Bay Lindy Hop community and taught at SwingCal, Pixar, and I-House, started mentor groups, and helped organize events such as the Stanford-Cal Lindy Exchange and Lindy at Night. In 2011, Joleigh and James partnered with Jean and Bromley to open a Berkeley dance venue called The Dancers' Den. Her passion lies in community building, having a good laugh on the dance floor, and meeting new people.
Joleigh's vision is to collaborate with dancers in the Oakland community to build awareness of the historical roots of Lindy Hop, and foster an open, diverse environment where dancers can be creative, try new things, and explore uncharted territories of dance together.
Shawn had two lives. There was the 17 or so years before he danced, and there was all the years after that - when he was given a chance to dance with [M] at Berkeley. As a total noob, he was simultaneously introduced to both lindyhop and hiphop dancing. This forged a palpable link in his heart for these two styles from different era - the "classic/vintage urban" and "modern urban" dance that shared much of the same roots.
Being an active member of the Bay Area urban dance community, Shawn continues to introduce the beauty of connected partnering and dance conversation to the scene through performances, open sessions, and cyphers. Being a bold and idealistic lindyhopper, he strives to build a swing scene where dancers can be free from conformity, celebrate individuality, and continue the innovation and evolution on this historical style of dance.
"If you can talk, you can sing. If you can walk, you can dance."
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.