Holle started dancing when she was five-years-old. She arrived at her first ballet class in pink tights and a pink tutu. It was a five-year-old’s dream come true. She loved it so much; she stuck with it through high school and even started college as a dance major.
Meanwhile, she dabbled in Ballroom/Latin and then found her way to West Coast Swing where she met Kevin who introduced her to Lindy Hop and Balboa. She wanted to try it because the Lindy scene was younger than the West Coast scene.
In the beginning, Holle’s 17 years of ballet gave her away. Her dance style featured a turnout, straight legs and graceful hands and arms. Though a beautiful dancer, it just wasn’t a style that matched Lindy Hop. So, Kevin introduced her to Karly, who had just moved to Eugene from Phoenix and asked Karly if she could show Holle how to do a swingout.
A simple lesson on the side of the dance floor turned into regular private lessons. Holle excelled as a student, but not without some bumps in the road. Her ballet training was both an asset and an obstacle. She had to learn how to bend her knees, get low and bounce. She also had to learn how to walk again—for some reason, her arms did not swing opposite her legs, but rather, they moved with her legs.
Soon, Holle began traveling to swing events. One weekend at Camp Jitterbug transformed her from a ballerina to a Lindy Hopper. Watching other follows and dancing with a variety of leads was all she needed. Since then she’s attended several exchanges, workshops and jazz festivals and, for several years, made biweekly trips to Portland to dance. Though, she doesn’t bust out much anymore, she has a unique style and is a master at using the floor for slides. She says that watching other follows has inspired her the most, especially Sylvia Sykes and Carla Heiney.
What many people don’t know about Holle is that she is often the behind the scenes DJ. Many years of being Kevin’s protégé has made her into one of the best DJs around. However, Kevin usually gets the credit. Like those times when his laptop crashed and Holle was there with old-fashioned CDs to bail him out. Or those times when the room has had more follows than leads and Kevin was in high demand for dances.
Holle’s advice for new or continuing dancers.
Just remember that dancing is supposed to be fun. Often a great conversation while dancing yields a better dance than a super technical one does (though super technical can be fun too).
How Does Holle Volunteer for ELLA?
- She serves on the ELLA Board of Directors.
- She teaches with Kevin every fourth Wednesday of the month.
- She helps ELLA stay in contact with the community by tracking our email.
- She DJs behind the scenes.