- SONYA DESSUREAULT
- JOELLE & BRET NAVARRE
- JOAO PARADA
- ELISABETH RAUNIG
SONYA DESSUREAULT (CANADA)
Sonya began her career when she went to school for modern dance in her hometown of Montreal, Quebec. Afterwards, she worked professionally as a salsa and latin street dance teacher. Sonya discovered west coast swing through a crossover performance as a salsa congress.
Sonya loved the freedom of expression in west coast swing and knew she had found her dance. With her trademark intensity, she trained and quickly moved up the ranks. She took a risk and left everything she had in Montreal and went to Europe. She began by teaching at a west coast swing event and from there was invited to teach all over the continent. Sonya began a partnership with Stephen White at that time, together producing several notable and iconic showcase and classic routines.
Sonya believes all great dancing comes from learning to understand and then having fun with what you know. She’s technically precise and thorough in her teaching methods and structures. She’s known for her fierce commitment to personal growth in herself and others, both on and off the dance floor. Now, Sonya works fulltime to empower women in partner dancing to dance free.
JOELLE & BRET NAVARRE (FRANCE/USA)
Originating from opposite sides of the world (USA/France), Bret and Joëlle Navarre found each other through dance, and quickly realized they belonged together. They have a unique style coming from a fusion of Bret’s dance background in Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Ballroom and Latin, combined to Joëlle’s experience in Hip-Hop, Belly Dance, Salsa, Mambo and Afro-Caribbean dances. Together, they combine over 30 years of experience in dancing and teaching, and they are regularly hired internationally to teach, judge, perform and develop West Coast Swing during Dance Events or Workshop Weekends. They both compete in the « All Star » division, even if nowadays most of their performances are asked by organizers during Pro Shows or Invitational (Jack’n’Jill or Professionnal Performances during Festivals).
They have a great passion for shows and routines : Bret competed in different divisions during several years at the US Open WCS in the Team, Cabaret & Showcase Divisions ; while Joëlle got most of her stage experience through other dance forms : performer in BellyDance and in Salsa Congresses (Marseille, Toulouse...), and choreographer, coach & performer in the National promotional FRAM tour (travel agency) during several months with a dedicated team composed by 15 dancers, 2 costumes designers & 5 Sound&Light technicians. Therefore, it felt very natural for Bret & Joëlle to choose to invest into routines and team coaching in West Coast Swing : the In’Seine Swingaz in Paris (5th place French Open WCS 2015 & 1st place at French Open 2017) and the JT Swing Teams, choreographed by Jordan Frisbee & Tatiana Mollmann & directed by Bret & Joëlle Navarre in Paris and on the Côte d’Azur (French Riviera). They also participated with some of their students in the category “ProAm Routine” and took 1st & 2nd place during Sea, Sun & Swing 2017.
They also run international events, such as Med in Swing in Southern France or the Desert EndlESS Holiday in Phoenix (in collaboration with Jordan Frisbee, Parker Dearborn and the ESScamp alongside Desert City Swing run by Mike Gadberry).
Bret & Joëlle are mainly recognized as coaches and for their clear, efficient & precise pedagogy, based on the idea to make their students understand the techniques and mechanisms used in West Coast Swing, while maintaining a fun & welcoming learning atmosphere. They continuously train, for their own dancing as well as their teaching & judging methods, under the biggest names of West Coast Swing : their philosophy is that a teacher should remain a student during their whole career to stay as up-to-date and close the innovations and changes that dance can encounter, especially since West Coast Swing is a constantly evolving dance.
JOAO PARADA (BRAZIL)
João had his first contacts with dancing at the age of 8 when he was learning german folk dances and modern dance. In 2006, he moved to Rio de Janeiro where he got to know many different types of ballroom dances and started dancing bolero, samba, zouk, salsa, forró and argentine tango and participated in several intensive courses on technique in dance and didactics with some of the best coaches in Brazil. In the same year, he was already having his first contacts as a teacher in these dances.
In 2012, he got to know West Coast Swing and because of the freedom of expression through movement and music he fell in love with this dance, which motivated his deep dedication to the style. Since then, he has participated in several international and national events competing, judging and teaching classes
He is currently dancing in All Star division and has put his Med School on hold to work as a dancer and teacher fulltime.
ELISABETH RAUNIG (Austria)
Elisabeth started her dance career with Ballet when she was 4 years old. Even today Ballet is still part of her life, when she wants to go back to focus on her own body and dancing. At the age of 16 she started to learn Ballroom Dances which made it possible to fulfill her dream of becoming a dance teacher. She started the academy of dancing teachers in Vienna in 2014 and finished it in 2017. Elisabeth always tries to improve her dancing and teaching and never stops learning different dance styles. At the moment she regularly attends Ballet, contemporary dance and Hip Hop classes.
Her first contact with WCS was at the Euro Dance Festival 2012 when she saw Jordan's and Tatian's classic routine 'More' and later the same night Tatiana's one foot spins at the afterparty. She immediatly fell in live with this dance. Elisabeth started teaching weekly WCS classes in 2014 and has been a regular attendee of WCS events since 2015. In 2016 she created WCS Styria with the purpose to spread her love of WCS. Currently she is competing in Advances division and isnlooking forward to her learning and teaching trip to Brazil where she will be studying Zouk and teaching at the WCS event Brasilia Swing Brasil.