Meet The Team
Rob is an accomplished swing dancer, teacher and DJ, with a particular fondness for Balboa, who has been sharing his love of swing dancing and swing music professionally since 2011. Rob took his very first swing steps in the corner of a social dance floor on his birthday in 2008, and that night changed his life, he was instantly hooked and set about doing every class he possibly could. And it wasn’t long before he was attending international swing events and performing with the local demo troupe(s). There have been a lot of kick-ball-changes and stomp-offs under the bridge since those days but his enthusiasm for all things swing has never wained!
Rob’s passion for all the swing things has him out dancing, teaching, or practicing most nights of the week. Rob can teach Lindy Hop, Charleston, Blues, and Solo Vernacular Jazz, but his first love is Balboa, for which he is one of Australia’s top competitors. He is also the founder of a solo jazz and hat tricking group called The Keen Gents Collective, which is the largest such group in the world.
Rob’s enthusiasm for dancing is only matched by his love of the infectious dance music of the swing era. Under the tutelage of one of America’s top swing DJs (Kyle Smith), Rob has worked hard to build the knowledge and skills that are expected of a world class swing DJ.
If you’d like to find out more about Rob click here.
Emma started dancing in 2005, only dancing sporadically until 2009, when she became completely addicted! Since then she has gone on to be a member of all of Brisbane’s performance troupes, including teaching and choreographing for Balboa performance troupes, teaching Lindy Hop, Balboa, Charleston, and Solo Vernacular Jazz in Brisbane, and travelling around Australia, New Zealand and the US for dance events.
In 2011 Emma and her dance partner (now husband) Rob, took their love for Balboa to the next level and started teaching weekly classes. Since then they have both been a big part of the glue which holds the Balboa community in Brisbane together! Not only by teaching regularly, but also by travelling to events all over Australia and internationally, bringing back all the goodies they have learnt to share with their students and the wider community, and enthusiastically supporting Brisbane Balboa events such as Balboa on the River and Balboa at the Botanics
In addition to her enthusiasm and involvement in the community, Emma brings a disciplined approach to dancing, based on her training and work as a music teacher, you could say literally of Emma that “rhythm is her business”, and she also makes it fun!
If you’d like to find out more about Emma click here.
Leigh has been dancing almost as long as she has been walking, and aside from that one time her knee took her out of action a few years ago, you would be hard pressed to find a recent Swing Dance or Balboa event in Brisbane that Leigh hasn’t attended, taught at, performed at, helped organise, or supported in some way.
Leigh has 10 years of teaching experience and has taught Balboa, Lindy Hop, Blues, Collegiate Shag, Solo Jazz and Charleston and has recent experience teaching alongside talented International Dance Instructors. Leigh is also an instructor in Queensland for SwingTrain – an innovative fitness class that combines Swing dance moves with high intensity cardio.
In addition to her dancing and teaching experience, Leigh has worn many hats over the past decade including: Co-Owner and Director of Empire Swing until 2017, leading multiple Brisbane based performance troupes including; The River City Stompers, The Royals, The Cat’s Meow – an all-female solo group and Three Stray Cats – an elite jazz dance trio, as well as organising local workshops featuring both local and interstate instructors.
If you’d like to find out more about Leigh click here.
Katrina (or Trina to her friends) started dancing as a little girl, doing all the usual things: jazz, classical and tap. Trina rekindled her childhood passion for dancing when she stumbled across Swing dancers doing Lindy at The Mustang bar in Brisbane in 2004, she started Lindy lessons ASAP and not long after that started learning Balboa, which became her one true dance love! Trina just loves dancing and has performed in Swing, Balboa, Tap and Burlesque performances, as well as being part of the Red Hot Rhythm performance troupe and also a couple of solo jazz troupes including The Cat’s Meow.
Trina and her dance partner and husband Rick, have been pillars of the Brisbane Balboa community from day dot, rarely missing a Balboa class. Trina and Rick have supported and attended (almost) every Brisbane social, and they have both been integral to the success of Brisbane Balboa exchanges as volunteers for many years. Interstate and International travel has been limited by family and work commitments, but outside of Brisbane, Trina and Rick have attended Camp Jitterbug, Swing Camp Oz and All the Cats
Trina has been a valued vollie in Brisbane for many years, and, 3 Years ago, stepped up into a organising role for Balboa on the River. Brisbane Balboa Weekend is lucky to have her enthusiasm, energy and experience behind our event.
Karen took her very first tentative triple steps in Brisbane in 2005 and about 3 months after that started a long time love affair with Balboa. Since then Karen has danced her way around the world swinging out on 5 of the 7 continents (getting to those other 2 is top of her wishlist). During her travels, Karen attended many dance camps, including the world famous Herrang, Snowball & the now inoperative Highland Swing – her all time favourite – held in a castle in the Scottish Highlands.
Back in Oz Karen has rarely missed a Brisbane event with an almost 100% attendance rate for Balboa on the River. Karen takes being silly very seriously – she is very good at organising stuff, passionate about swing dancing and delights in playing with words. What Karen loves most about swing dancing in general and Balboa in particular is it’s inclusivity, connectivity and sharing a 3 minute moment with another person – and of course the music always puts a smile on her dial.
Karen also organises Balboa at the Botanics – Brisbane’s seasonal Balboa Social.
Jonathan started swing dancing in 2009 in Edinburgh when Karen convinced him it was better than salsa as a social partner dance. After being thrown in the deep end, Jonathan took advantage of every opportunity to improve his dancing, attending Highland Swing, Snowball, Herrang, B