Jennifer Corbin – Latin Dance
Jennifer teaches Latin Dance at the Downtown Dance Collective (DDC). She brings to the DDC a tremendously varied background, steeped in instruction and creativity.
Jennifer has lived in (or been based out of) Montana for most of her life, living in the Flathead and Swan Valleys for many years. She moved from Kalispell to Missoula in 1999 to work for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks as a fisheries research technician and shortly after entered graduate school, completing her doctoral research in the beautiful Grand Tetons. During the day, she works as a field researcher and teaches biology at UM. In the evening, however, Jennifer can be found teaching and rehearsing at the DDC, which has been her second home for the past four years.
Instruction is not her only vehicle for dance. Jennifer also dances and performs with the DDC’s very own Espiritu Flamenco, appearing at many venues around the Missoula area, including The Wilma Theater in The Symbiotic Circus and the Silk Road. In addition, she dances with Patio Andaluz and The Elenita Brown Dancers and has performed in shows at the Crystal Theater and Missoula Children’s Theater. In addition to dancing at the studio, Ms. Corbin was instrumental in starting The Brick Room, which hosts several social dances at the DDC each month, and sits on the committee for Latin Dance Nights. Jennifer has also worked with Nathan Zavalney at Childbloom Guitar on music and movement workshops for children, focusing on flamenco and Latin dance rhythms. Most recently, Jennifer worked with Nathan on the DDC’s latest social dance night, World Dance Party, incorporating facilitated dance to explore Latin rhythms in a social setting. Other dance collaborations include Flamenco Jam at UM and Gypsy Camp with Lori Mitchell, another amazing instructor at the DDC.
Flamenco is Jennifer’s passion, but she loves all Latin rhythms, especially those dance forms that come from the people and tell their stories. Jennifer has studied locally with Heather Adams and Elenita Brown. This summer, she was afforded the opportunity to study flamenco at Festival Flamenco Internacional de Alburquerque, featuring Pastora Galván, Adela Campallo, Rafael Campallo, Olga Pericet, and Alfonso Losa. Jennifer brings this experience and her passion for this art form to her classes at the DDC.
Patrick Marsolek – Tango
Since Patrick had is first introductory lesson in the Argentine Tango in 2005, he has been passionately exploring, studying and learning about the dance. Shortly after that first lesson he attended a full weekend workshop and hasn’t looked back. He’s attended seminars, festivals and has studied with many of the modern ‘masters’ of tango from the United States and Argentina. In 2008, he traveled to Buenos Aires to study tango with Gustavo Naviera, one of Argentina’s most famed modern tango dancers, and his partner Giselle Anne. In Argentina, he also immersed himself in the ‘Milonga’ scene, the social dance phenomenon of Argentina, gaining a deeper appreciation for the richness and tradition of the tango. Since 2007 Patrick has been teaching tango around Montana. He’s one of the founding members of TangoHelena, a nonprofit community organization dedicated to promoting the tango and the culture of the dance in Central Montana. Through TangoHelena he teaches in Helena, Great Falls, Missoula, and Dillon. He enjoys sharing the tango with people of all ages. He’s had students in grade school and as old as 100 years. He’s taught in schools, retirement communities, workplace Christmas parties, private groups and individual lessons. He also teaches through Helena Civic Television which has aired more than 36 episodes of tango instruction. He has produced three instructional DVDs on the technique and steps of the Argentine Tango, which have been enjoyed world wide. You can read more about tango in Montana at the TangoHelena website: www.TangoHelena.com.
Lori Mitchell – Tango
We are all movers. Movement is an essential part of life. We begin our study of movement when we begin life. We express our selves with gesture, posture and stride everyday of our lives. That expression is unique.
I began a focused study of dancing at the University of Washington, as a pre-med student working towards a degree in Anthropology. Upon graduation I moved east to Boston, New York and then back to Seattle to continue dancing. It was dance for me not medical school.
Over the last 30 years I have studied modern, ballet, jazz, tap, flamenco and trained in Pilates, Gyrotonics, and Laban movement fundamentals. My work as a dancer has encompassed performance hanging from ladders, dancing in fountains, and dashing across the Broadway stage. Every performance was an expression of the Choreographers vision and my own story. In 1990 I co founded Thread Dance, a collaborative group of four dance familiars, and explored improvisation, personal expression and story telling through movement. Together we found the joy of sharing our dance with small audiences in intimate spaces.
In 1991 I earned my license in massage. Years of practice have taught me much about how the body works, and how to listen. Following this thread I earned my Nursing degree in 2005. Now I travel in the healthcare, academic, and dance worlds with an eye and heart informed by the joy and wisdom of the importance of movement, self expression, and acknowledgement.
Currently I study Flamenco with Elenita Brown, Heather Adams and most recently with Marisol and Joaquin Encinias at the International Flamenco Festival. I am a founding member of Espiritu Flamenco. My Tango teachers include Abby & Diego, Patrick & Grace, and several workshops with Alex Krebs and Murat & Michelle. Whenever possible I dance in Joy French’s Tuesday night Modern class – I highly recommend it.
I love to teach and am fortunate to teach Anatomy & Physiology Labs at Missoula College at the University of Montana and facilitate workshops for Living Art of Montana. At the DDC I get to teach Flamenco and Tango. And best of all I am blessed to dance and teach Tango around Montana with my fabulous partner Patrick Marsolek.
Zac Raasch – East Coast Swing
Prior to learning how to dance in 2011, Zac Raasch was convinced that he was born with two left feet, and that dancing was some type of utterly foreign magic only the “gifted” could do. Five years later, he now travels around the country, dancing regularly with anyone who shares his passion. In particular, Zac’s dancing passions are for America’s vintage swing dances—east coast swing, lindy hop, charleston, and balboa. He loves the loose, high-energy feel of these dances, their rich, American history, and the way they emphasize dancing’s social roots. As an instructor, Zac enjoys helping people who never thought they’d be able to dance learn how to move and have fun in these vintage dances. Off the dance floor, you can either find Zac dancing at one of the venues around town, or on the University of Montana campus, where he is a graduate student in Creative Writing.