Workshops & Instructors
Sydney Charisse — Zouk
Sydney Charisse is a ballet-trained dancer, choreographer, teacher, and helpless lover of Brazilian Zouk, Fusion, and community building. While in Ann Arbor pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Dance at the University of Michigan, she co-organized in the local zouk community, taught weekly Zouk classes, and DJ'd Zouk and Fusion regularly both locally and regionally at events such as First Friday Fusion and Indigo. She began traveling to teach workshops, weekenders and at congresses (you might have seen her at Melting Pot or Motley Hue!) while at Michigan and after graduating, she hit the road with a big backpack and toured throughout North America, Europe, and Brazil for a year to teach, learn, and continue her graduate research on Brazilian Zouk. In June 2019 she spent two weeks in the Bay Area to teach and DJ at nearly all of the weekly Fusion and Zouk events before making a home base in Chicago to teach weekly Zouk classes and host practicas at Latin Street Music and Dancing.
Sydney draws on her diverse background in social dancing (principally Blues, Lindy Hop, Competitive Ballroom, Fusion, and Brazilian Zouk, among others), somatic practices, and 3 decades of solo dancing to train the complete body, inspire endless creativity, and facilitate safe and pain-free connection and communication. She prepares progressive exercises and strives to maintain constant motion in her classes, empowering students to tap into their creativity and joy of motion. Her Fusion workshops focus on expanding students' toolkits with elements from Brazilian Zouk.
To find out where else you can catch the #ZoukGnome, keep an eye on her Facebook cover photo for event links and updates. To catch up on her adventures so far, check out her Instagram @sydney.zouks!
Ken & Paula — West Coast Swing
Ken Kreshtool and Paula Wilson are super excited to join the DJX family! Paula and Ken began dancing together in 2012 and have become known for teaching West Coast Swing classes that are focused on "partnered movement” skills rather than moves, and for utilizing their students prior training for rapid, effective learning. Together, they have taught at national dance events, performing arts schools, and studios in America and Europe. They also run “Westie Cafe,” NYC's biggest, best, friendliest (and only) weekly West Coast Swing dance party in Manhattan. In addition to having day jobs and traveling to teach, they also serve as the Directors of TIPDI (The International Partner Dance Intensive). TIPDI is a series of interdisciplinary dance camps and workshops - both classical dance and partner dance - featuring top instructors from around the world. For more info about their classes, intensives, and camps, visit www.tipdi.com.
More about Paula: Internationally ranked West Coast Swing competition dancer. Graduate of the Alvin Ailey School's Professional Division. Professional modern dancer and internationally traveling Argentine Tango teacher for 12 years. Award-winning former early childhood education teacher. Other Dances: Forró, Lindy Hop, Samba de Gafieira, Zouk … and Fusion!
More about Ken: Internationally ranked West Coast Swing competition dancer. "The best instructor I've ever had in anything." —Harvard University students' comments, 6 years in a row, for his on-campus dance classes (while working on a PhD there). Ken also taught the largest Lindy Hop classes in the Boston area for many years. Other Dances: Ballroom, Blues … and Fusion!