Our Teachers & Staff ...

Here at The Jam Cellar, we boast a crew of instructors that we can really say is unrivaled anywhere in the country. Whether the dance be Lindy Hop, Charleston, Balboa or even Collegiate Shag, our instructors are sought after all over the world as some of the best teachers, performers and dancers in the world.

Here they are...

Al Mattei

Al (also known as Bigg Al) started learning vernacular jazz partner dancing on December 4, 1997 at a restaurant called Katmandu in Trenton, N.J. Throughout his social dance career, he has taken a comparative approach to the art form because many of the places he learned to dance had multiple classes in different dance styles. He has taken at least a beginner lesson in 32 different kinds of partner dance, and in 2003, he completed a 24-week course in D.C. hand dance. Al is Jam Cellar’s Glen Echo volunteer coordinator. Taking a cue from Leon James, he has an unusual collection of vertically-striped socks.

Annabel Quisao Photo

Annabel Truesdell Quisao

Annabel is a social dancing addict who loves the communication, spontaneity, and musical interaction fostered on the swing dance floor. After hearing many enchanting stories of her grandparents’ favorite pastime—dancing to big bands—it was no surprise when Annabel became hooked on Lindy Hop during her first exposure at Colgate University, her alma mater, in 2003. She began constantly traveling to dance with as many people as possible, and along the way, she learned that Balboa and Blues dancing were equally thrilling. Annabel loves the challenge and excitement of competition and has taken away top prizes in all three dances at several events including the International Lindy Hop Championships, All Balboa Weekend, and BluesShout. While competition yields prizes, her true reward comes in spreading the joys of dancing. Annabel has been teaching regularly since 2006 from State College, PA to Memphis, TN to Boston, MA to Washington, DC. She adores seeing students develop the technique and enthusiasm to inspire themselves and their partners and have fun, fulfilling dances.

Caroline Seipp Photo

Caroline Seipp

Caroline has been swing dancing since 2007. She has been heavily involved in the swing dance community working at university swing clubs, and various dance committees and has served on the board of the Washington DC Lindy Exchange (DCLX) for several years. Caroline has been an instructor for the Jam Cellar since 2011 and has a strong passion for the dance and sharing it with others! She enjoys following and exploring her creativity there, but she also enjoys leading on the social dance floor. She has also been a part of choreography teams and has performed and various events. Additionally, Caroline’s two worlds collide as she provides professional crisis support as the Safe Spaces Manager for the Jam Cellar and DCLX. If you need support, a laugh, or want to dance, go find her! (Photo credit: Jerry Almonte.)

Chelsea Lee Photo

Chelsea Lee

Chelsea got bit by the swing dance bug in 2007. Since then she has fallen in love with Balboa, Lindy Hop, Collegiate Shag, and a bunch of other swing dances she would love to talk with you about, or, better yet, dance with you. She is known for her infectious smile and creativity on the dance floor and is proud to have won awards at events like All Balboa Weekend, the Eastern Balboa Championships, and Hot Rhythm Holiday. She has taught with her partner David at events such as the Eastern Balboa Championships, the Twin Cities Balboa Festival, the Canadian Balboa Championships, Hot Rhythm Holiday, and Shag Explosion, and was a special guest mentor for the 2012 Balboa Experiment. As a teacher, she brings enthusiasm, organization, and an appreciation for students’ different learning styles as they explore the dance. She loves being a part of the Jam Cellar crew.

Curtis Breitenlohner Photo

Curtis Breitenlohner

Curtis would prefer that you get to know him in person.

David Lee Photo

David Lee

David has been passionate about swing dancing since he first started in 2006. He loves to share his enthusiasm for Lindy Hop, Balboa, Collegiate Shag, Charleston, and numerous other swing dances. He is known for his musicality and creativity on and off the dance floor and excels at breaking down mechanics in a way that is accessible to dancers of all levels and learning styles. His dance accomplishments include placements at All Balboa Weekend, the International Lindy Hop Championships, Lindy Focus, and Hot Rhythm Holiday. He has taught with his partner Chelsea at events such as the Eastern Balboa Championships, the Twin Cities Balboa Festival, the Canadian Balboa Championships, Hot Rhythm Holiday, and Shag Explosion, and was a special guest mentor for the 2012 Balboa Experiment. He loves being a member of the Jam Cellar crew.

Dylan Kilpatrick

Greg Stasiewicz Photo

Greg Stasiewicz

One summer in high school, Greg went to a swing dance and despite not being sure if he ever got the basic step right that night, the experience struck a spark that ignited a desire to learn to swing dance. Unfortunately, a similar spark ignited at the venue 3 nights later burned the building to the ground. Several months later he saw an ad for another local dance and that, as they say, is history. When he moved to DC from North Carolina in 2008, he fell in love with the DC swing scene and has been part of the Jam Cellar crew since 2010.

Gretchen Midgley Photo

Gretchen Midgley

Gretchen was first introduced to swing dancing her freshman year of college, but she considers the true start of her dance career to be when she stumbled through the doors of the Jam Cellar a year and a half later and learned to swing out. She was bitten by the lindy bug hard, going on to become the president of the Catholic University swing dance club and founding its lindy exchange. Since then Gretchen has continued to instruct and mentor the CUA swing club and helped to establish the Jam Cellar’s College Program. She is passionate about seeing new dancers get as excited about lindy hop as she is! Gretchen also loves traveling to dance and is a proud organizer of DCLX. She is constantly looking for ways to meld lindy hop with her other loves, tap dancing and musical theatre, to varying degrees of success.

Jason Niesz Photo

Jason Niesz

Jason is lately returned from an extended stay on a desolate Mediterranean island. He spent years as the Duke of Milan, a role he one day hopes to reassume. He is a devout scholar of the liberal arts, and has power over spirits. Together with his delicate, tricksy servant Ariel, he orchestrated an escape from exile and the marriage of his daughter, Miranda. Recently he has broken his staff, buried it certain fathoms in the earth, and deeper than did ever plummet sound he drowned his books. Now, late in life, he seeks passage to Naples and a peaceful reunion with his treacherous brother.

Jeff Booth Photo

Jeff Booth

Jeff has been dancing for a nearly twelve years(!). A swing dance history enthusiast, Jeff has amassed one of the most extensive collections of classic swing dance footage in the country. As DC’s own swing dance historian, Jeff helps people learn while keeping sight of lindy hop’s roots. He has been teaching for over nine years and is sought after for his specialized knowledge. He is also an accomplished musician who, in a former life, appeared on MTV with his band.

Julia Seymour

Julia Seymour is the Tuesday night volunteer coordinator for The Jam Cellar. She fell in love with swing dancing after attending a dance in spring 2007. Since that time, Julia has expanded her knowledge of the dance exploring lindy hop, balboa and charleston. Her passion is social dancing and introducing non-dancers to swing. She dances frequently in DC including at The Jam Cellar each week and often travels to other cities to dance.

Lauren Devoll Photo

Lauren Devoll

Lauren is the one to blame for any snarky newsletters and unflattering Instagram shots. Though she escaped without accent, before transplanting to DC in 2014, her Lindy Hop journey began in Fort Worth, Texas. Her playful and expressive style has led her to the finals of several Jack-N-Jill contests across the country. If you don’t smile when you dance with her, you’re doing it wrong. And she’ll probably tell you. #GoFollowJamCellarOnInstagram

Latasha Barnes Photo

Latasha Barnes

LaTasha “Tasha” Barnes is an artist, dancer, entrepreneur, and ambassador of culture. Born and raised in Richmond, VA, Tasha has enjoyed much of her life immersed in jazz, funk, soul, and R&B music and dance thanks to her DJ father and dancing family. Having turned that lifelong passion into cultural activism she aims to preserve the arts that represent the urban experience, as a performer, educator and tradition bearer. She is internationally celebrated for her musicality, athleticism, and joyful presence throughout all her dance forms which include: House, Hip-Hop, Waacking, Vernacular Jazz, and Lindy Hop. Tasha has been grateful to share her passion for dance education and inspired artistic expression in NY, LA, Japan, Singapore, Russia, France, Bulgaria, and many other countries. Through her own expression and endeavors Tasha hopes to inspire others to cultivate an authentic sense of self in their creative expressions and daily lives.

Michael Quisao Photo

Michael Quisao

Michael Quisao hails from Dallas, TX and is based out of Washington, DC. After growing up as a wallflower at school dances, Michael took his first Lindy Hop lesson in 2006 and has been captivated by jazz ever since. His love of swing music and social dancing has taken him across the country to dance, compete, and DJ swing music; he strives to share the joys of swing dance and swinging rhythm with everybody he meets.

Michael has DJ’d for Balboa dancers at All Balboa Weekend, Lindy Focus, DCLX, I *Heart* Bal, and is the Head DJ at the Jam Cellar in Washington, DC.

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