Class Series Instructors

Claire Carey

Claire began learning swing dance at the age of seven in 1998, and began teaching partner dance in 2008. She discovered her passion for West Coast Swing in 2010, where she has achieved multiple first placements, and competed in the All Star division. She has loved teaching Cross Step Waltz, East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, Blues, Foxtrot, Nightclub Two Step, and other vintage waltz forms in Seattle for Dance For Joy! Claire and her mom, Lilli Ann have taught together both nationally and internationally, and are known for their fun, innovative, and technically-minded teaching. In class, Claire specializes in empowering follows to have strong skills in connection, intuition, and self expression. She also loves teaching private lessons to leads and follows, and helping students find the nuances that make everything click into place!

Lilli Ann Carey 

Lilli Ann Carey began partner dancing with Living Traditions in the 1990s and then went on to teach for them for several years before leaving to start her own company, Dance for Joy! Lilli Ann loves to dance almost anything but focuses her teaching on waltz, West and East Coast swing, zydeco, foxtrot, one-step, blues, fusion, and a few vintage dance forms. Lilli Ann promotes dance through classes, workshops, and events through her company, Dance for Joy! and is excited to return to Northwest Dance this fall! She is known for producing larger scale events including the An Evening in Vienna Viennese Ball and also coordinates the highly successful Dancing ’til Dusk program for Seattle Parks and Recreation. Lilli Ann has taught in Vancouver BC, Juneau, Alaska, D.C., Baltimore, Atlanta, in the Bay area, Portland, and Oregon and St Petersburg, Russia. Her creativity, love of the connected and playful dance, and innovation has brought her national recognition and an ongoing and excited student base. You’ll often find her teaching with her daughter Claire.

Scot McKay

Scot began dancing on the country circuit in 2004, and fast became one of the most sought-after leads on the dance floor. He began dancing West Coast Swing in 2008 and started sharing his love of the dance through teaching in 2014.  As a past president of the Seattle Swing Dance Club and current VP, he continues to grow the West Coast Swing community with outreach programs geared toward new dancers.

Wren Newman

Wren’s extensive training began early with a childhood of competitive gymnastics. After gymnastics, she devoted herself to various forms of dance before falling in love with West Coast Swing. She dances, teaches, competes, and judges at local, national, and international locations. As a member and former officer of the Seattle Swing Dance Club, she helps to foster the local WCS community through social dancing spreading her passion for West Coast Swing to a growing community of dancers.


Guest Instructors

Avani Desai

Instructor Avani Desai’s love for Indian folk dances brought her to Rhythms of India in the Seattle area twelve years ago to study Bhangra, a celebratory and joyful dance from the Indian state of Punjab. Even though her background lies more in the folk dances of the state of Gujaraat, she was always drawn to the energy and vibrancy of Bhangra and became a part of the elite team in no time. Avani has been dancing and teaching alongside Miss Shub Kaur for the past eight years and is enjoying every minute of it.


Sean Donovan

Sean Donovan loves to dance, and it shows with the passion, joy, and excitement he brings to teaching. Positive and playful, Sean is a creative and effective communicator who focuses on the power of dance to delight and transform us. Dancing and teaching since 1999, both nationally and in Seattle, Sean has been on staff with NW Dance Network since 2004.  Sean revels in teaching a variety of dances, from Swing (his first love) and Zydeco (a passion that prompted numerous learning expeditions to Louisiana and Texas to Blues, Waltz, Whiskey River Jitterbug, Country Two Step, and more. Sean is also an accomplished DJ, both on-air with KBCS 91.3FM for over a dozen years and in dance halls and clubs all over Seattle, mixing grooves from various genres in ways that keep the mood high and the dancers on the floor. More information on Sean at Gator Boy Productions

Janice Eklund

A long-time resident of Port Townsend, Janice learned to dance when Walter Dill and his daughters moved back to PT from Seattle. Shortly thereafter, Janice began a 10-year stint as Walter’s teaching partner locally and on Whidbey Island. For the past several years, Janice has been teaching on her own. For four years she has had the pleasure of teaching various dance classes to students at Oak Harbor College. A firm believer that there is magic in dance, she is thrilled to share that joy with any and all who want to join the dance community.

Daniela Gallardo

Daniela Gallardo’s love for music and dance also started at an early age. She created her first choreography at age 15 and has been dancing Salsa for over 10 years. The mission of La Clave Cubana is to share the transforming energy of dance through the real essence of Cuban Salsa. “We believe dance should be for everyone who is looking to improve their mental, physical or even social lives and that is why we devote ourselves to pass along the joy of Salsa to anyone, no matter what age you are or what experience you may have.” Agua!”

Shub Kaur

Bhangra has been part of Shub Kaur’s life since she was eight years old. Not only does she enjoy dancing Bhangra, but she also remains passionate about teaching it and taking it to another level by training other Bhangra dancers to continue the legacy of sharing this wonderful dance with others. Shub has been teaching Bhangra since 1989 in California, British Columbia, and now in the greater Seattle, WA, area. She currently teaches Bhangra, Bollywood, Giddha, and Bhangrasize classes (aerobics with Bhangra music) in Seattle, Everett, Kent, Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, and Bellingham.

Mark Kihara

Mark has been teaching, performing, and promoting African-American jazz dances since the late 1990s.   His primary focus is lindy hop, the original swing dance.  Dance has taken him all over the world, most notably as a featured instructor at Sweden’s Herräng Dance Camp.  He has won or placed at a variety of competitions including the Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown and the American Lindy Hop Championships.  His instruction always shows great respect to swing dance’s originators. Inspired and tireless, Mark makes believers out of anyone who ever wondered if they could swing dance.  Learn more about Mark at

Igor Laryuhkin

Igor was born in Russia and started dancing International Ballroom and Latin dances in 1987. He was always interested in the technical aspects of dancing and took many workshops and private lessons from the leading experts including Russian, European and World champions. He also enjoyed sharing his knowledge by teaching children. Igor discovered social dancing during his first visit to Seattle in 2008. Since then he has explored different styles. Some of his favorites are Waltz, Country and West Coast Swing.


Dean Paton

Dean Paton manages our bi-monthly dances. He abandoned the baseball diamond for the dance hall in 1994, and fell so hopelessly in love with waltz that he founded the Valse Café Orchestra, an ensemble committed to the art of playing music for dancers. He teaches waltz and foxtrot classes regularly at Seattle’s Century Ballroom, as well as all manner of dance classes at the Senior Center of West Seattle. He also teaches workshops for NDN and Left Foot Boogie. When he teaches rotary waltz, Dean stresses mastering the core of the dance—turning left, turning right, transitioning between the two—then helps dancers use this foundation as a platform on which to build organic, graceful movement as well as a few elegant moves. Contact the Dance Manager.

Reinier (Rey) Valdes

Reinier (Rey) Valdes is the founder of La Clave Cubana and along with Daniela Gallardo, are the Co-Directors of their studio located in Seattle. Rey was born in Habana, Cuba, and Daniela, from Mexico. Both have discovered a passion for dancing at an early age. Rey started dancing at the young age of 13 and was immediately recruited and showcase throughout Cuba. At 18, he graduated from the Cuban School of Dance as a dance instructor specializing in popular dances like Salsa, Son, Cha Cha, Mambo, and Rumba. His dancing talents led him to Brazil where he started his own performance group called “Influencia Latina.”