PJ Turner (USA)
Semion i Maria (Rosja)
Chuck Brown (USA)
Karin i Rolf (Izrael/Norwegia)
Marcin i Kasia (Polska)
PJ Turner lives in Knoxville, Tennessee with his beautiful wife Lisa and his 2 amazing daughters Alyssa and Brianne. His dance journey follows below, but first get to know his roots. PJ was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee and still resides there. His whole family lives nearby including his Mom, Dad and older brothers. He met his wife in high school, where they became best friends and then fell for each other. PJ became a father at a very early age and then married Lisa after high school. Needing to provide for his family he immediately went into the workforce. He gained experience in carpentry, HVAC, plumbing, electrical and appliance repair, collector, server, Dance Teacher—basically a Jack of all trades. At one point he held 3 jobs at the same time trying to make it in the dance world. He has worked very hard to get where he is and will continue to do so.
If you have seen PJ at a dance event you know that he is one of the most approachable pros in the business. He always wears a backwards hat and a big cheesy grin, he may talk a little funny, but he’s down to earth, dances with everyone, is always animated on the floor, and brings a smile to your face with his southern charm. These are some of the reasons that he is one of the most sought-after pros!! His classes are always super fun with his BOOM MOMENTS so always be prepared for him to scare the pee out of you! LOL.
PJ started dancing at age 10 with Clogging (a form of tap). His brother was going out to a local club to learn line dancing and came home telling these amazing stories. At the age of 12, PJ started Line dancing at the same place as his brother. By 14, PJ started partner dancing and met his future wife. She taught him East Coast Swing, some mixer dances, and the Sweetheart Schottische.
While still a teen, he discovered that his grandmother had become very sick and could not come to see him and his brother dance. At the same time PJ’s family learned that there was a national TV show being filmed in Knoxville called Club Dance. So the family went on the show and his grandmother was able to see both her grandsons dance!!! On set, PJ met a bunch of new dancers and trainers. He stayed on this show for the next 3 years. During his TV career he learned 2-step, triple two, waltz, cha cha, polka and then he saw WEST COAST SWING!!!! This dance suited him perfectly, so quit other dances to focus entirely on developing his WCS.
In 2001 he went to his very first dance event/competition: Peach State in Atlanta, GA. Previously he had been dancing in a club bar for 8 years, and the dance event was a huge change. At the event he saw WCS for the 1st time in its real form, danced by Robert Royston, Mario Robau Jr., Kyle Redd and Sarah Vann Drake. His dream was to become skilled like them. He entered his first Jack and Jill contest and placed 3rd in a packed Novice Division filled with lots of competitors.
A few years later PJ joined a small dance team called Team Joe. They traveled all around the southeast of the U.S. to teaching, competing and social dancing. The energetic team competed and placed in team divisions, strictlies, Jack and Jills at events like Grand Nationals and UCWDC Worlds. They developed quite the reputation and people were excited to see them! Team Joe had a great run and ended in 2011.
PJ started traveling the Swing Circuit all over the nation competing in Jack and Jills and strictly competitions. He was on a mission for the NASDE tour. In 2012, he was awarded the NASDE tour Champion. Along the way he also received several Social Dance awards including the Prestigious Bob Preiss Social Dance Award from Swing Diego, Boogie by the Bay and River City Swing. In 2013 PJ partnered with Tashina Beckmann King. Dancing together, they put 6 routines on the floor including Feel Again, Counting Stars, Demons, Livin on a Prayer, Let the Good Times Roll and Helium. They were US Open finalists and performed in an Off-Broadway show in New York called Swango. While they were dance partners, they were invited all over the U.S. and internationally to teach, judge and perform.
In 2015, PJ quit his job and commenced dancing professionally full time. It’s a decision he has never regretted. PJ loves dancing and is extremely passionate about teaching and social dancing. Now PJ travels all over the world teaching, judging, performing, competing, and always learning! Despite his rigorous travel schedule, PJ NEVER forgot that the most important thing is family. He has an AMAZINGLY SUPPORTIVE FAMILY that is his rock and cheers him on.
If you see PJ out at an event, don’t ever hesitate, just ask him to dance. His motto is and will always be: Just make her smile!!!
Maria Elizarowa and Semion Owsiannikov
Maria & Semion have been dance partners for about four years. Semion has been dancing ever since he was eight. He started with ballroom dancing first, then got into social dancing, and finally into West Coast Swing. When he started competing in WCS, he got to Intermediate level very fast and kept on winning every competition he took part in. His latest achievements are taking first place in the Open Strictly at the US Open 2016. He is known for his musicality and great connection with his partners. Maria has been dancing since 2007. In 2008 she fell in love with social partner dances. She started learning hustle/discofox and salsa. She had been dancing hustle and discofox for 4 years, working on her solo choreography as well when West Coast Swing came in to her dancing life. After that she couldn't stop dancing WCS. She enjoys the versatility of the dance, bringing new emotions, options for musicality and styling to every dance. Together Maria and Semion won the Open Strictly division at Budafest in both 2014 and 2015, the Open Strictly division at The After Party (San Diego, USA) in 2015. Semion and Maria were the first Russians to ever get to US Open Classic finals 2016 and in 2018 they achieved II place in US OPEN classic division!!. Their partnership emphasizes musicality and connection. They love the possibilities for communication and dialogue between partners during every dance, and seek to help their students discover this incredibly fun aspect of WCS. They share a philosophy that care and attention are the best things partners can give to each other during any dance.
"Chuck Brown is a Champion level competitor with over 18 years of experience. He is recognized as a top international instructor, judge, DJ, event promoter and dance business consultant. Chuck has won numerous national competitions and awards, including placing at the U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships several times; recently making the Champions Division finals at SwingDiego 2010 and 2011.Chuck is known for his musicality, creativity, versatility, and especially, his amazing lead on the dance floor. It has been said by many of the top pros, that Chuck is one of the best social dancers in all of West Coast Swing. His dance training includes West Coast Swing, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Contemporary, Ballet, Blues, Carolina Shag, Lindy Hop, Salsa, House, Country and African.Chuck’s teaching methods have produced some of the fastest moving and successful competitors and dancers in the Unites States as well as Internationally. He has taught all over the globe, including Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Korea, Singapore, United Kingdom, Russia, the USA and many more. He is an incredibly passionate and tough teacher who cares about his student’s dance goals as well as their friendship."
Karin Kakun i Rolf Hegrand
Karin holds a university dance degree, has been dancing all her life and teaching for more than 14 years. Choreographer and performer, she teaches WCS, Hip-Hop, stretching, pole dance and she was the Israeli salsa champion.
Karin started her WCS career in 2014 and from the first moment she fell in love. She is now competing both in All Star and Champion divisions and teaching in Israel, where she directs a West Coast Swing line of classes. She travels and teaches all around Europe.
Rolf Hegrand discovered West Coast Swing online in late 2015.
Since taking his first West Coast Swing class in 2016, Rolf quickly rose up the ranks. He has been teaching the dance since 2017 while working full time in the Norwegian armed forces.
Rolf is the only male WCS dancer from Norway to competie in the WSDC All-Star Division.
Marcin i Kasia Skalscy
Kasia i Marcin to para instruktorska z ogromnym doświadczeniem zarówno tanecznym jak i nauczycielskim. Przez wiele lat zajmowali się głównie turniejowym tańcem towarzyskim (Marcin tańczy już ponad 20 lat i jest sędzią Polskiego Towarzystwa Tanecznego). 15 lat temu Marcin zajął się trenowaniem par sportowych w tańcu towarzyskim (od osób początkujących, po pary klasy S), Kasia natomiast wybrała nauczanie tańca użytkowego. Przez ten czas nabrała doświadczenia prowadząc zajęcia dla dzieci, młodzieży, dorosłych (również osób poruszających się na wózkach inwalidzkich) w kilku szkołach tańca oraz prowadząc szkolenia dla innych instruktorów. Stworzyła również własny charytatywny kurs tańca, który z roku na rok przyciąga setki osób stając się największym kursem tańca w Małopolsce.
Jako Skalski Dance tworzą oni instruktorski duet, który potrafi zarazić tańcem i nauczyć dosłownie każdego, przekazując równocześnie pozytywną energię i uśmiech :)
West Coast Swingiem zainteresowali się około 6 lat temu trafiając na youtube na filmik z tańcem Benjiego Schwimmera, a od około 4,5 roku jeżdżą aktywnie po całej Europie na westowe eventy szukając wiedzy o Weście u najlepszych nauczycieli na warsztatach i lekcjach indywidualnych, oraz biorąc udział w konkursach.
Około 4 lata temu zaczęli uczyć West Coast Swingu w swojej szkole w Krakowie i w tym czasie udało im się zbudować największe westowe community w Polsce. Aktualnie w Skalski Dance School zajęcia z Westa prowadzone są na 5 poziomach zaawansowania, a sporo studentów zaczyna jeździć również na eventy zagraniczne punktując już ostatnio w kategorii novice, a nawet awansując do kategorii intermediate.
To co jednak jest dla nich w weście najważniejsze, to aspekt integracyjny, czyli social dancing i zabawa tańcem :) Dlatego największą radość daje im zawsze to, że osoby, które przed pierwszymi zajęciami uważają, że się do tańca nie nadają, szybko zmieniają zdanie i na stałe wchodzą do westowej społeczności. Mając ogromne doświadczenie i umiejętność analizy ruchu oraz kreatywność w wymyślaniu ćwiczeń są w stanie nawet trudne tematy przekazać nawet na zajęciach z dużą liczbą osób w sposób taki,
że nawet najbardziej oporni są w stanie potem zatańczyć :)
Starając się ciągle podnosić swoje umiejętności jako nauczyciele uzyskali międzynarodowy certifikat GPDIA (West Coast Swing) i wzięli udział w Big Intensive Masterclass dla nauczycieli Westa z jednymi z najlepszych nauczycieli w Europie, którzy swoje szkoły prowadzą w Genewie – Jang Widler i Tuluzie – Nicolas Bourgeais (jedna z 2 największych szkół WCS w Europie). Aktualnie osobami które mają największy wpływ na ich taniec oraz nauczanie są Maxence Martin i Virginie Grondin.
Ciężko byłoby wymienić wszystkie warsztaty na których byli (starają się być na westowych eventach średnio raz w miesiącu) ale ważniejsze z nich (bardziej techniczne i dające obraz czego i jak uczyć) to:
Intensive z Maxence & Emeline, Intensive z Maxence & Virginie, Intensive z Robertem i Nicolą Roystone, Judging z Mario Robau, MAJA Tour z Maxence + Jang, BIM z Jangiem i Nico, Intensive z Mario Robau.
West dla nich to tak naprawdę nie tylko taniec – to przede wszystkim pozytywni ludzie, wspaniała zabawa i „ładowanie baterii” na długi czas :D