Who We Are

Dance Educators

Joyce Stoughton-Kim

Joyce became certified as a ballroom and Latin dance instructor in 1987. During her career, Joyce won numerous awards and enjoyed many performances, among the most memorable are her wins as the 5-time Michigan Swing Champion, 5-time Michigan Hustle Champion, Hustle USA Champion, finalist at the American Swing Dance Championships, Northcoast Ballroom Classic and Detroit International Star Ball Lambada champion and cabaret finalist, featured performer at the Feather Awards in Beverly Hills, California, performed in the USSR ballroom dance tour in 1989, featured in commercials for NBC affiliate, and in 1997, Joyce was inducted to the Michigan Swing Dance Hall of Fame and the National Hustle Hall of Fame. To compliment her career as a dancer, Joyce went on to attend the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she graduated with honors and wrote The Detroit Hustle, a manual defining the Detroit Hustle while sharing its unique history through dance and verse and the Dance Project syllabus which adds inspiration to her new venture as founder of the Social Dance Project, a youth outreach program that ties social dance to schools curriculum. The Social Dance Project will be based out of her studio, the Center for Social Dance located in Okemos, Michigan.

 

ML Edmonson

Growing up in Detroit is not an easy task and finding a positive activity for ML was of most importance for his single mom Dianna. Dianna decided to enroll ML in a ballet class at the age 9, at the O’day School of Ballet on Detroit’s west side and at age 12, ML started partnering in ballet. Dianna introduced ML to ballroom, Latin, and swing dancing when he was 13. ML remembers being hooked the first time he saw “Master” Bob Budzynski perform with his wife Beverly. Then, a year later ML joined Michigan’s first junior Swing Dance Team, Swing Shots, under the direction of Joyce Stoughton.  In 1996, ML age 14 and his dance partner Gina Soave age 12 became the first Michigan Junior Hustle Dance Champions. From there, ML began studying the classic ballroom and Latin dances and continued to compete in ballroom and swing competitions until he graduated from Cody High School in Detroit.  ML then joined the team at Dance Academy in Garden City and began his professional career in hip-hop, Lindy swing, and Salsa under the direction of Jon Ross.  In 2005, ML began teaching for the Ann Arbor Rec & Ed department in Ann Arbor, Livonia Public Schools in 2006, and joined the team at Tronix Entertainment in 2014 where he developed his skills as a DJ. In 2015, ML was approached by his former dance coach, Joyce Stoughton-Kim, to join the Center for Social Dance and help develop the youth outreach program the Social Dance Project.

 

Master Bob Budzynski

Growing up in Bob’s family, if you didn't dance Polka by age seven, something was considered wrong with you; so, Bob learned to Polka. Surprisingly, dancing was just a sideline when Bob was young. During his first years in college, Bob left his job at "General Motors Overseas Operations" to work at Fred Astaire's Dance Studio, and during his junior year, he transferred to a university in Houston, Texas to work at the largest Fred Astaire Studio in the U.S. Graduating with a degree in music, Bob opened his own music store, during which he taught Accordion and social dancing for nearly 17 years. In his thirties and forties Bob continued teaching East Coast and Ballroom dancing while holding other professions. After meeting his wife Beverly, Bob started attending dance competitions and becoming more involved in dancing. Bob accidentally discovered West Coast Swing when they attended Robert Bryant's United States Swing Dance Championships. Robert convinced him to start a Michigan event, which became the Michigan Swing Dance Championships. The Michigan Swing Dance Championships has been going for over 25 years and is now under the name the MIC. When Bob studied with West Coast Swing Masters such as Mario Rabau Jr., Robert Bryant, and Skippy Blair, (among others) traveling across the United States, determined to learn the dance correctly. In 1994, three years after the Michigan Dance Classic was in full swing, Bob and Beverly started the Mid-United States Jack & Jill Championships and the Petoskey Party. Shortly after, Bob and Beverly founded the Michigan Society for Swing and Hustle Dancers Club, which is still going strong. Over the years they have also competed across the country in Masters Divisions, Jack & Jill's, etc., with Bob winning five first place awards in major Jack & Jill Championships. As a result of their efforts and competition results, they received two "Feather Awards," presented in 1996 and 1997 and Swing to name a few. Bob has been inducted into the World Swing Dance Council Hall of Fame and the All Swing DJ Hall of Fame. Other accomplishments for Bob include multiple first place wins at the St. Louis Swing Dance Championships, the Chicago Classic, the World Swing Dance Championships in Swing, Salsa, and Hustle, and placed 1st in the Grand Prix of Swing. Bob’s dedication to preserving and introducing West Coast Swing to Michigan dancers has been his life’s work for over 30 years. The Center for Social Dance is very excited to have his experience and expertise.

 

Brianna Benvenuti

Brianna studied ballet and tap at Casali School of Dance as a pre-schooler, over the years adding jazz, lyrical, modern, musical theatre, pointe, and contemporary. Brianna joined Casali’s Holiday Dance Group in 2005 performing at nursing homes in the Metro Detroit Area and Casali’s Competition Team in 2008. Brianna started teaching in 2009 for the Saint Clair Shores Community Education. Brianna went on to receive her degree in Dance and Exercise Science from Western Michigan University. While at Western Michigan University, Brianna performed in student, professor, and guest artist works, and had the opportunity to take classes from international artists such as principal ABT dancers Amanda McKerrow, John Gardner, and Pilobolus to name a few. During her time at Western, Brianna was introduced to Lindy Hop, the original swing dance, and has been been studying from swing masters from around the world ever since. Brianna has polished many skills as a dancer while studying with and now teaching for the Underground Dance Community in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Since falling-in- love with the energy and movement of Lindy Hop, Brianna has started traveling to regional workshops and events for lessons and competitions, and has taken classes from national and international instructors including Joe Hoffberg, Laura Glaess, and Michael Faltesek. She has also learned Blues, Charleston, Balboa, and St. Louis Shag, and is constantly working to improve, expand, and refine her knowledge of dance and her movement style.

 

Dorian Deaver

Dorian Deaver is a long-time resident of Ann Arbor. Many remember him as a State Champion and All American gymnast from Pioneer High School, and later as one of the nation’s leading gymnasts at the University of Michigan. The legendary Newt Loken was the gymnastics coach at the University of Michigan during Dorian’s college years. Dorian was introduced to partner dancing in Coach Loken’s social dance class, and has enjoyed sharing the gift of dance ever since. Dorian graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the School of Education. After college, he created Dazz Dance Productions, an entertainment company dedicated to high quality music and dance. Through this company, the careers of some of this area’s top mobile and club DJ’s were launched. Dorian has over 40 years of experience as a professional DJ, and ballroom dance coach. Since he began DJing weddings in 1974, Dorian has helped thousands of couples create an amazing musical journey to accompany their special day. One of the original DJs in the southeast Michigan region, Dorian was on the scene before wedding DJs became popular and has built his skills and expertise throughout multiple generations of music and dance evolution. He has even created the “Dorian Bridal Dance”, to help newlyweds look great at their wedding reception. In 1996 he received the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD) Associate Degree, and continues his own professional training with world class coaches.

 

Guest Educators

 

Elaine Marrero

Elaine Marrero, Performer, Choreographer, Event Producer, Dance Instructor, World Salsa Champion, and Studio Owner, is the product of believing that all things are possible and believing in herself even when others did not. She first started dance training to become a teacher in her teens when she moved to Michigan from Puerto Rico, where she was raised. Elaine obtained her first job as a dance teacher in 1981, with the goal of on day owning her own dance studio, despite that possibility being scoffed at by a co-worker at the time. Just a few years later, in 1986, she achieved that goal by becoming the owner of her first dance studio, Dance Inn with Elaine Marrero, in Puerto Rico, which quickly gained popularity as she did TV show commercials, was featured in magazines, and worked with various artists. In 1992 Elaine moved back to Michigan with the intent of taking a break from teaching, however within a year she was teaching again both from her basement and as an instructor at Troy Dance Studio, which she ended up purchasing, allowing her create and sell franchises in Puerto Rico and move to Michigan permanently. Through all of this amazing and hard work, Elaine has gained international recognition as a Judge, Choreographer, and Instructor; become a promoter of Detroit Salsa Congress, Motor City Salseros, Battle of DJs, and Sensuality Latin Show; helped make Chicago-Midwest Salsa Open competition one of the largest and most successful in the region; and most notably, has become a World Salsa Champion, the highest rank in the dance world, recognized by the International Dance Organization.

 

Paulette Brockington

Paulette was a protégé of the late Frankie Manning, one of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers at the time. She learned from him in private lessons, and the two formed a partnership, teaching at workshops and events across the country.  Inspired by Manning, Paulette produced her first Detroit swing dance workshop in Lindy Hop, along with West Coast Swing and Chicago Stepping, as well as the first American Lindy Hop Championships in 1998, which continues to this day. A versatile artist, she began her dance career in concert dance with a teaching assistantship at The University of Michigan, followed by positions at Marygrove College, Wayne County Community College District, several dance companies including her own, opera companies, and guest appearances at other colleges and organizations. She has appeared in feature films, industrial films, and commercials, both with acting companies and as a voice-over artist. Through artist residencies she has taught from early elementary through the university levels. In 2008 she was recipient of ArtServe Michigan's Arts Educator of the Year Award and later received the 2012 Michigan Heritage Award for her dedication and contribution to Lindy Hop as a traditional American art form. She does a variety of swing dance styles and is an active swing dance competitor, coach and judge. Instrumental in the development of swing dance in the Great Lakes area, she holds several national dance titles. She is a Master Teacher for the Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship at Michigan State University where she mentors and works to preserve Lindy Hop just as Frankie did when he mentored her for years.