Mackenzie is a Colorado native who has been dancing swing in the form of Lindy Hop, blues and other partner dances since 2012. Her passion for music and human connection pushes her to keep learning and growing though training, competing and performance. She has performed with the Jumpin' Jivecats, CM Dance, The Ladies and Gentlemen and the Denver Diamond Dolls. Some of her most notable teachers are Laura Keat, Amos Rose and Joe Demers. Mackenzie teaches intermittently at the CSU Swing Dance Society (Fort Collins), Polaris Expeditionary Learning School (Fort Collins), Rocky Mountain High School (Fort Collins) and the Intercollegiate Swing Dance Battle (travels). She has choreographed and taught routines for student short films at Colorado Film School (Denver) and was considered for the lead role in short film: Swing Nights. Her most recent endeavors have included improving her solo movement, learning Broadway style choreography and traveling to Chicago to learn balboa and bal-swing.
Mile High Blues 2017 - Novice Solo, 2nd place
Intercollegiate Swing Cabin Trip 2016 - Strictly Lindy, 2nd place and Jedi JnJ, finalist
Intercollegiate Swing Dance Battle 2016 - Slow Groove, 1st place
Dance is the relationship between movement and sound, much like film; which I think is something we can all get behind. I love the energy of dance, I can be completely silly or totally vulnerable with a partner I have never met and may never meet again. It teaches me to live in the moment, be sincere and appreciate what I have. I am ecstatic to pass this treasure along to any students that would have me teach them. There is a particular flavor of happiness in learning something new that brings me joy when I am able to experience it and help others to experience it as well.
I taught swing dancing with Mackenzie several years ago and she helped keep the lesson fun and engaging. Her technical skills were good, and greatly assisted in demonstrating the skills we were trying to impart. I'm sure she has only improved since then.
Mackenzie is entertaining and attentive in her private lessons and group classes. She's great with kids, and keeping the energy up even when material is challenging. I can always trust her to tailor her lessons to needs and learning styles of everyone in the room while still having a great time. 10/10 would dance again :D
My main goal in working with a new dance student is to make them feel comfortable during their first lesson. I like to give my students a little bit of background and history so they understand the culture and spirit of the dance before jumping into the movement. From there, I offer multiple ways of thinking about basic footwork so that I can get a feel for how my student most easily learns. My primary focuses in beginner lessons are connection with a partner and musicality, since it's not really partner dance if you're not dancing with your partner or in time with the music.
I have been taking lessons since 2012, mostly in Fort Collins, Denver and Colorado Springs. Aside from weekly social dance venue classes, I have invested my time in team choreography, both partnered and solo, weekly and monthly trainings and practicas and private lessons from other professionals.
In order to be able to teach as well as dance, I have attended several dance-specific teacher training workshops from nationally recognized instructors. These workshops have equipped me to plan lessons, set goals and be able to work with students of different skill levels within one class.
I have trained under recognized all-star dancers Laura Keat, Flouer Evelyn, Joe Demers, Cierra Ruffin and Amos Rose as well as attended several weekend workshops in Chicago, California, Arizona and my home state of Colorado from many instructors from around the world.
My music knowledge consists of college level courses in music theory and modern music history (late 19th and 20th centuries) and I try to apply this to my dancing both in practice and in teaching.
My rates for lessons are $30/hr for up to two people.
I offer group privates as well! Pricing is also $30/hr at a flat rate, plus $5 for every student added beyond 2 (so three students would be $35 per hour, four would be $40, etc)
If you would like me to come teach at your event, please let me know if you have standard pricing as I am more than willing to contribute to Colorado's dance community.
If you are outside of the greater Denver area (Fort Colins, Boulder, Colorado Springs, etc.), please note that I charge a $15 traveling fee unless I am already in town or which I will let you know when we discuss dates of teaching.
Please do not hesitate to message me if this pricing is outside your reach. I am willing to negotiate and willing to trade skills. Dance should be accessible to all, and I will do my part to make it so! I will certainly offer discounts for special (read: expensive) occasions such as weddings, or proms.
I started teaching in 2015, being inspired by my many teachers and the people who kept my local dances alive and kicking. I was first invited to teach as an assistant with my partners at CSU Swing Dance Society before the organizers reached out to me as well. My alma mater (Polaris ELS) invited me to teach at a week long intansive after I had given a presentation about the effects dancing has on a dancer the year prior. I have returned to teach at this intensive yearly.
I have worked with students across the board! From middle schoolers to adults, from complete begginer to competitive dancer, from shy tween girls to rowdy college boys and everything in between. Needless to say, I have discovered that there is something for everyone in partner dance and I am confident in my ability to adapt my instruction to benefit skill levels, ages and comfort levels all around.
Recently, I taught at Polaris Expeditionary Learning School and I can't even begin to describe the joy that was seeing middle schoolers and high schoolers learn to swing out in time to Count Basie and the likes. Their confidence and comfort sky rocketed throughout the week and it reminded me of when I was learning and everything I saw and discovered was so exciting.
My advice to you, swing dance student, would be to figure out how you best learn, and find a teacher who is willing to work with you in that way. Are you and auditory learner? Seek out a teacher who is good at explaining things vocally and not just showing you the movement. Are you a kinesthetic learner? Seek out a teacher who specializes in the opposite dance role that you are trying to learn so they can better dance with you (ideally, find a teacher who can dance both roles!).
It never hurts to assess your comfort and skill level so that you can communicate them to your teacher and most importantly, figure out what your goals are! It will help them plan a lesson tailored to your interests and objectives.
Some good questions to ask yourself:
What experience do I have with moving to music?
What is my relationship to music? (Does it relax me? Does it excited me?)
What do I want to get out of this lesson? (Am I going to a singular dance? Do I want to learn a new skill? Meet new people? Be healthier?)
What experience do I have with bodily awareness and movement? (Sports, fitness, manual labor, etc.)