About Grace and Nick
Grace and Nick have been dancing together almost as long as they've been dancing blues. This has led to a partnership that is fully formed and intuitive, both on the floor and while teaching. They frequently compete together, placing in events across the country and even internationally such as European Blues Invasion (London, UK), Mile High Blues (Denver, CO), Nocturne (NYC, NY), and North Star Blues (Minneapolis, MN). Their drive to continue growing gives them a great opportunity to improve their knowledge base for instruction as well.
In classes taught by Grace and Nick, you can expect a detail oriented, technical analysis of aesthetics and movement within the blues idiom. Their warmth and generosity make them excellent, approachable instructors, and both are quick to jump into a rotation and work directly with students when the opportunities arise. Students also praise Grace’s music choices for classes, as each song is carefully selected to set a certain tone and perfectly fit the material being taught.
"I am constantly impressed by how well they are able to craft classes that are rich in history, movement quality, and fun"
Grace’s rhythmic, playful movement took the blues scene by storm. Entering the scene in 2011 with a movement background in dressage and bareback riding, she fell in love with the blues, began her intensive and ongoing training, and burst into national finals and organizing regularly by 2013. Known for her innovative exploration within the blues idiom and contrast between jank and elegance, Grace seems to live within the music.
Regularly bringing her wealth of knowledge to students across the country, Grace's teaching emphasizes collaborative learning, developing personal expression within the idiom, and a follow-focused pedagogy. Her flexibility in classroom management allows her to adapt lessons on the fly to provide the best possible learning experience for her students. An invaluable resource to students and organizers alike, Grace is accessible and professional both inside and outside of the classroom.
When she's not teaching, Grace travels nationwide to compete in blues. Her accomplishments just in 2016 include 1st place wins at Nocturne’s Strictly, J&J, and Solo Tribute Challenge (New York, NY), North Star’s Strictly and J&J (Minneapolis, MN), and Steel City’s Solo Riffin’ Competition (Pittsburgh, PA). Find out more and watch her dance at www.gracedances.com.
"Our event had a number of issues, but Grace and Nick worked through them with us in a gracious and encouraging manner that made the event feel easy. Not only that, but they helped us as young scene leaders by teaching us how to run an event in a better way."
Nick's dancing is simple but musical, understated but empowering to his follow, chill with an edge of humor…..and a constant foundational grounding in the blues idiom. He teaches blues dance as a vernacular style with historical context peppered throughout and a sizable side of humor. His classes tend to focus on blues elements including idiom dances and variants (especially struttin'), musicality, improvisation, and conversational dance.
Nick enjoys competing at blues events to keep his skills sharp and demonstrate his vision of the dance; his successes in 2016 alone include 1st place at the Strictly competitions of Nocturne and North Star Blues, and 2nd place at the North Star JnJ and the Mile High Blues Strictly.
What People Are Saying
"Nick and Grace are extremely knowledgable in the mechanics and history of blues dance, and teach in a relaxed, but conscious manner that nurtures creativity within the blues aesthetic. I love how they bounce ideas off each other, making their lessons flexible and specific to the student. However, what I appreciate most about Nick and Grace is that they make their students feel awesome-- although I had felt exhausted and frustrated by the amount of material left to marinate in my brain, I came away knowing that I am a better dancer."
Pejing Lee, San Francisco
"I previously helped run the blues scene in Houston with a very small group, and we brought Grace and Nick into town to teach workshops several times. I am constantly impressed by how well they are able to craft classes that are rich in history, movement quality, and fun, speaking both as an organizer and as a student. They consistently set a good pace for classes based upon level and expertly guide the lesson to focus on the the most apt topics for the class's learning. A bit more personally, as an organizer, Grace and Nick have been an indispensable fountain of wisdom for all things related to running a happy, healthy blues scene/event. They conduct themselves professionally and generously both on and off the dance floor."
Blaine Gardner, Denver
"Grace and Nick taught my very first blues workshop. By the end of the weekend, I had fallen in love with blues all over again. Despite being a beginner at the time, they were really approachable and have continued to be a resource to me. Super fun, knowledgeable, and friendly! (Not to mention they have great hair)."
Marlee Litzinger, San Luis Obispo
"Nick and Grace bring the perfect blend of fun and serious study to their workshops. Students with different learning styles will be able to follow easily, as a kinesthetic learner I appreciated the "do this and now you try it" approach. They encouraged students to ask for feedback from their partners and work through sticky parts together--a skill I believe we can always grow in the dance world. I learned many concrete skills to take home and practice and yet was not overwhelmed by the material. The pace moved along nicely, it was never stagnant. And of course whenever Grace and Nick dance together you can't help but want to dance just like them. I'm so grateful such talented dancers are willing to take the time to teach their craft. I would not hesitate to choose their workshops at my next dance event."
Riley Karbon, Minneapolis
"I found Nick and Grace to be gracious and accommodating to my specific interests (solo blues, latin blues and struttin'). I walked away with a clearer understanding of the building blocks, historical context, and able to hear new opportunities in the music. Also with a new found appreciation for torchy's tacos and kolaches."
Franz Jundis, San Francisco
"Working with Grace and Nick was a true pleasure as an organizer - they were very coordinated and quite responsive in all of our communications. Not only that, but they were extremely flexible and our event threw them a number of challenges - a rerouted plane flight, a rainy day and a sticky floor with lots of spin based moves... Etc. Our event had a number of issues, but Grace and Nick worked through them with us in a gracious and encouraging manner that made the event feel easy. Not only that, but they helped us as young scene leaders by teaching us how to run an event in a better way. They were simply put, fantastic teachers that were a joy to work with."
Indigo Bannister, San Luis Obispo
"Grace is one of my favorite blues dance teachers. I've taken group classes and private lessons from her, and also hired her to teach workshops in my city. I love the way she combines dance technique with a healthy dose of fun and attitude, while also maintaining a solid connection with the music and the roots of blues dance. She's professional and fun, and very easy to work with. Her passion for the dance and the music is evident in every movement, and she brings such fire to the dance floor that she can't help but inspire those around her."
Amy Blank, Boston
"It's a real pleasure to have Nick teach at South Bay Fusion: I do my best to hire instructors that bring a strong Blues-idiom foundation and FUN to our dancers - while also stretching them to new concepts and techniques. Nick is great to work with, and I'd love to have him back anytime he's in the SF Bay Area!"
Bob Free, San Francisco