"Dexter holds a special place in our hearts, as one of the most influential and beloved instructors in the Texas blues scene. He’s taught at the past four Austin Blues Parties and at all three iterations of Space City Blues in Houston. And there’s a reason we keep on bringing him back…the knowledge and passion Dexter brings to his classes inspire our dancers year after year.
Furthermore, he’s one of the most *social* social dancers you’ll ever meet; when I first met Dexter as a baby dancer myself, he asked me to dance and what my name was. Six months later we saw each other at SFFX in San Francisco and he remembered my name and asked me to dance. The crazy thing is: this is a completely run-of-the-mill story as far as Dexter is concerned. He’s an incredibly sweet, genuine person who cares deeply about the dance and the people who dance it."
I cannot express enough thanks for the past weekend. After a few years now of lessons from you, both in large groups and privates, or just in general at large events, I have always enjoyed the energy and concise style that you bring to a Blues Dance event. But now, from an organizers perspective, I want to express how great you made this past week, for the scene, and from me as the organizer. I do not know how long it has been since this city/scene has had an event to that scale occur, besides the fact that it was the first time I have put together any event of that size. The opportunities and education that you brought to the scene will really help this scene find its feet again. I know I was stuck behind a computer during classes - for both recharging and organizational reasons - but I have enjoyed talking to everyone about what they learned. Furthermore, as I mentioned, we have had a few events already with visiting instructors, and it really meant the world that you had a good time as a dancer and attendee of both the dances, or bar hangouts.
It has been an experience to help this city find it's blues, and it's scene again, and I do have high hopes moving forward. But for the last time, before I ramble and talk in circles, it was an honour to have you here, and hopefully the next time we see each other will be a bit more chill for the both of us.
- Canada Penett, event organizer, 2016, St. Louis, MO.
"Dexter and Heidi used every minute of class to impart their vast knowledge while also being fun and accessible."
"Dexter Santos was a pleasure as well. Clearly a skilled dancer and able to translate it well to students. His Slow Dance class was surprisingly a favorite of the weekend."
- Anonymous survey feedback from Rain City Blues Festival, 2015, Seattle, WA
"Heidi and Dexter's classes are always wonderful."
"Dexter and Heidi taught in a way that made me feel that they were extremely skilled but also never made me feel like I couldn't dance like them."
"Heidi and Dexter were wonderful! They were clear, consistent, and kind."
- Anonymous survey feedback from Steel City Blues Festival, 2015, Pittsburgh, PA
"Wow, I think I just leveled up on my pelvic sorcery. With great pelvic power, comes great pelvic responsibility."
- Alexey Tolstoguzov, Vancouver, BC, Canada (from Blues-elation: Dances With Dexter workshop, 2015)
"I was just telling a friend this, ever since you came to Vancouver for Blues-Elation, it really rekindled my love for Blues dancing.
Your style, your approach and refinement in regards to the dance is really exceptional. Thanks again, Dexter."
- Alison Yau, Vancouver, BC, Canada (from Blues-elation: Dances With Dexter workshop, 2015)
"Dexter, My lesson with you and your insight has already changed my dancing. I danced (and DJ'd) at a Salsa event last night and people were remarking on my body movement. I felt so much more free musically, and able to convey funk and attitude/personality. Thanks, man! I'm going to continue to do my Blues homework. But, it's really nice to feel even more confident this immediately."
- Roger Stevens, Cleveland, OH (from a private lesson in June 2014)
"I just wanted to say thank you again for the workshop over the weekend. I found the differentiation you made between juke joint and ballroom really valuable, both in the classes and in our private (lesson). And you've really made me think about the concept of lead and following in movement as well as in partnership. I hope the rest of your travels are brilliant and look forward to running into you again some time, perhaps in Melbourne! It was great to meet you."
- Sam Zipcat, Melbourne, VIC, Australia (from a workshop in Sydney in 2013)
"The opportunity to take classes from Dexter was basically the main reason I traveled to this event, if that's any indication of who I'd like to see return next year."
"Dexter and Heidi always incorporate great teaching sequences in their lessons."
"I would love to see all these instructors return. However, Heidi and Dexter stand out as some of my favorites and I will attend as many events as I can with them there."
"Dexter and Heidi were top notch. I also got extremely helpful feedback from Heidi and Dexter during Blues clinic."
"Although all the teachers were great, Heidi and Dexter were my favorite teachers by far. They were phenomenal. Funny, entertaining, and very capable of communicating their ideas and giving us ample opportunity to practice."
"Good flow, start to finish. appreciated the connection exercises, explanation of feel/basic steps, tracking step variation & foot drag -- all good material."
(Slow Drag - Juke Joint Style class)
"Heidi and Dexter did not repeat the Slow Drag class they had done previously at Steel City, and their chemistry and mode of teaching is always well-received."
(Slow Drag - Juke Joint Style class)
"I really needed this class. It was so specific and so applicable. This class really upped my dance game! Thank you!"
(Sugar In Your Bowl class)
"Dexter and Heidi did a great job of showing me, as a lead, how I can encourage follows to be more active in the dance. At the same time, Dexter did a wonderful job explaining to the follows that leads do in fact enjoy follows who express themselves. At the same time, Heidi showed how follows can express themselves without interrupting what the lead is doing. This will allow the follows who took this class to express themselves even when I don't expect them to, which is awesome."
(Sugar In Your Bowl class)
"It had been a year and a half since I took a class with Heidi and Dexter. The concepts were really interesting and I love having other ways to play and think about the way that I'm dancing. I used some of the ideas that evening when I was dancing. It was also fun. Twister!"
(Asymmetry In Blues class)
"Asymmetry in Blues got me to think more about how my body looks while dancing and in the context of being with a partner. It gave me lots to think on." (Asymmetry In Blues class)
"Really good concepts to play with. Liked the solo work." (Asymmetry In Blues class)
- Anonymous survey feedback from Steel City Blues Festival, 2013, Pittsburgh, PA
"I'm just writing to let you know that I loved yesterday's workshop. I have so many good things to say about it. The whole day went so smoothly, your ideas were so together, your energy matched one another beautifully- seriously impressive first workshop.
I really appreciated that, while there was nothing new for me in the workshop, I was never bored and I always found something to work on, and I think that was true of everyone there. That group had a very wide skill range, and I think you balanced the material with the group very well. No one got bored, and no one got overwhelmed.
I think my favorite thing about the day was the energy. You two bring out each others' playful side, and it kept the energy light, productive, and fun. While an intense, serious workshop has its place, they are often more intimidating and much more tiring. It was great to watch you each find something you LOVED, not just liked, about each person or each couple who volunteered to be critiqued. Everyone, as far as I could tell, walked out of there feeling good about themselves.
Yesterday, because of the energy in the room, I felt completely fine watching myself during the masculine/feminine movement section. Because we were playing with ideas and not drilling moves, I was given permission to just experiment with how the ideas looked in my body instead of feeling like I had to do a move just so. It was wonderful to have such a low pressure solo class.
All around a great workshop. Thank you!"
- Rachel Hamstra, Seattle, WA (one of my students from my teaching residency and workshop with Karen Smith in Seattle in March 2013)
"I just wanted to say thanks again for the advice you gave me during our private lesson a few months back. It helped a lot of things click into place and has been really helpful in getting me out of my dancing rut. I also wanted to share that I managed to make it into the advanced track at Blues Muse this year (yay!), which in my experience has been one of the most difficult auditions for follows. Visual auditions have always been hard for me and this was one of my main goals for my dancing, so I just wanted to say thanks again for helping me achieve that!"
- Shira Hoffman, New York City, NYC (one of my students from my teaching residency in New York City in September 2012
"Your asymmetry class not only reinvigorated my partner dancing, it made other people more creative with me. As a fellow teacher, I appreciated how you structured the class so that it was not so intimidating for non-dancers to solo improvise in a creative way. Having something like quadrants and clear examples of asymmetric movements gives them a good starting place and safety net. Also, the repeated structure of solo and then partnered within the class worked wonderfully."
- Diane Garceau, co-director/teacher/choreographer of Night & Day Dance in Vancouver, BC, (from Rain City Blues 2012, Seattle, WA)
"Heidi and Dexter were the most amazing pair of teachers I have ever learned from. They stayed on track, had a lot of fun, and managed the time frame very well."
"Dexter and Heidi's beginner class was by far the most helpful class I took throughout the whole weekend."
"Dexter's solo class was great. One of my favorite classes was Dexter's solo blues."
- Anonymous survey feedback from bluesSHOUT, 2012, Minneapolis, MN
"I wanted to thank you for making FIB such a great event, it was really nice to have you around and you did a great job!"
- Aurélien Faravelon, organizer for Fallin' In Blues 2012 in Grenoble, France
"Thank you for the wonderful lesson this evening. Your patient teaching, warm and gentle personality, and your keen ability to quickly customize the lesson were not only inspirational; they also allowed me to achieve to some extent a substantive amount of material in a short time.
I have a new appreciation for the dance and a broader perspective on how to approach it. I feel confident I'll be able to build on the small moments of success during the lesson.
Thank you again for sharing your time and talents. I learned a great deal and have a new level of confidence. I'm looking forward to putting my learning to use soon and will definitely be spending some time on the 'homework' you left me with."
- Susan Miller, Hanover Park, IL. (one of my students from my 2-week residency in Chicago in March 2012)
"I think I got so much out of these lessons because, for the first time, I wasn’t intimidated by the instructors. Most of the time I end up being a little star-struck or just plain scared, but not this time. Michelle and Dexter did a wonderful job of making things easy enough for us to do, while not being too basic and treating us all like total newbies...Thank you to Dexter Santos and Michelle Richter for teaching a fabulous workshop."
- Olivia Suttles, from her blog review of Blues In The Nite 2012 at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. Read more about her experience here.
"You guys (Dexter & Michelle) were awesome at planting the blues seed in our dancers. Had a great time with you guys!"
- Michaela Roslawski, organizer for SOL Fest 2012 in Northfield, MA.
"I just wanted to thank you both (Dexter & Heidi) for your classes over the weekend, especially the last one on Sunday. I feel like I have more of a presence within my dancing now and I'm not afraid to be bold in my movements as much anymore. I'm still a bit shy in my solo dancing, but I'm working on it. Thanks for everything and I look forward to dancing with y'all again in the future!"
- Elizabeth Ashlee Duncan, Woodbridge, VA (from Can't Stop The Blues, 2011, Virginia Beach, VA)
"Dexter, I loved your workshop with Heidi on Sunday! I was able to incorporate what you taught into my dancing that night and I'm forever grateful!...I was inspired by your workshop and really enjoyed another one that I took with you at BamBLOOZled in DC back in 2009."
- Beto Zaleta, Bethesda, MD (from bluesSHOUT 2011, Boston, MA)
"As an overall, I really did enjoy your classes. The dynamic between you two is really fun, and positive...You two kept the momentum up, and had fun with each other and were still able to get points across which makes for really inventive and fun learning.
Again, I really do appreciate what you two do. After the second day of classes I felt my dancing sky rocket to new heights. I've been called a fun and good dancer. After taking a bunch of classes, particularly Dexter and Michelle classes, I was being called an amazing, wonderful and great dancer with huge smiles on the follows faces. Bringing what I learned back here has also merited me more compliments on my improvement in dancing during my time at Mile High (Blues). I'm more inspired to keep on improving my blues dance and taking it to its full potential. Dancing keeps me sane so in a way you two gave me A LOT of peace within myself through teaching how I can make dances feel and look more enjoyable to myself and my follow. Thank you again and I hope to see you both at the next blues event I happen to go to!"
- Daniel Cuevas, San Antonio, TX (fromMile High Blues, 2011, Denver, CO)
"It was a great foundations class that not only covered the critical basic steps, but also taught how these steps could be altered, so that little dancing knowledge can still allow beginners to fully express the musicality of the song. In addition, it taught more complex concepts like polyrhythms, so that the dancer would continue to have things to practice, rather than just 'getting it' and moving on. This should have been the first lesson." (Building Your Blues -Step by Step class)
"It broke down moves and allowed focus on minute parts of a move or series of moves which makes it easy to practice on my own." (Building Your Blues -Step by Step class)
"Dexter and Heidi had a great dynamic and constructive advice. I really loved the specific exposure to the style of jook joint blues."
"Dexter & Heidi's Jook Joint class was quite good--it gave both specific vocabulary as well as generally-applicable material about style and technique."
"I started thinking about other parts of my body that I normally don't use at various parts of a dance and it changed how I thought about pivot points and my range of motion." (Performance Blues class)
"It really pushed me. In a good way." (Performance Blues class)
"Instructors (were) very interested in the students. (I) really got to push limits and try new things. (The) class was small and (I) was able to dance with everyone in class, lots of feedback as well. (Performance Blues class)
- Anonymous survey feedback from Steel City Blues Festival, 2011, Pittsburgh, PA
"Dexter was my favorite teacher. I felt he was clear with his instruction and knowledgeable and kept to the critical info."
"Heidi and Dexter were very patient, responsive, and flexible. (They were) personable and attentive as well."
"Dexter was very helpful and to the point and made things easy to understand."
"I loved the Ballroomin' classes and that style of blues. If there were more classes offered in that, I would definitely sign up. Thanks!"
"Ballroomin' Lifts and Tricks was by far the best class. Plenty of moves to learn."
- Anonymous survey feedback from Winter Blues Intensive, 2011, Chicago, IL
"Thank you for your clear direction and relaxed delivery with instruction, this weekend. Thank you also for your most excellent demonstrations with Heidi. It really gives me something to shoot for in my blues dancing."
- George Whorten, Peoria, IL (from Winter Blues Intensive, 2010, Chicago, IL)
"While the ladies all line up to dance with Dexter, the fellas all secretly wish they could dance like him. Seriously, Dexter has won a number of national blues dancing competitions and is a first rate, incredible dancer. He now shares his skill by teaching both group and private lessons at dance venues and workshops across the country. Dexter is great, because he puts a lot of thought and hard work into developing and perfecting his craft, which he can breakdown and share with apprenticing dancers of all levels. While I was the Blues Teaching Coordinator at The Rent Party in San Francisco, I regularly hired Dexter to teach the blues lessons. Students are excited to come learn from him, and he shows incredible patience and dedication to helping his students learn both in class and on the social dance floor. I highly recommend Dexter as a skilled and reliable professional instructor, whether you are hiring him for private lessons or for a workshop or special event."
- Susan Bertuleit, Blues Teaching Coordinator, The Rent Party, San Francisco, CA