Karly has been dancing for as long as she can remember—though, for many years, without structure. She grew up choreographing her own dance routines and proof of this exists somewhere on VHS. Something along the lines of a nine-year-old Karly performing solo to Neil Diamond’s Headed for the Future. Okay, so maybe nine-year-old Karly didn’t have great taste in music, but she’s grown up and her musical palate has become a lot more refined. Even though she still choreographs her own routines, they now include a little more than sunshine arms and pointing at herself with her thumb while tapping her heel. Maybe the problem was nine-year-old Karly lacked hips. As soon as she got them, she learned how to use them.
A strong desire to do partner dancing almost enticed her to move to Mexico. “I was so excited that boys in Mexico knew how to partner dance. I spent a night dancing cumbia with the Mexican boys at a quinceanera while visiting with my high school Spanish Club.” Later, her cousin introduced her to lindy hop and she was hooked—swivels = maximum hip-usage.
Karly has traveled to countless workshops, exchanges and other dance events. She loves sharing the knowledge she’s gained throughout the years by teaching and performing. She has become extremely involved in both the Eugene and Portland swing dance scenes teaching private lessons, workshops and series classes; organizing events; marketing and designing for ELLA, the Portland Lindy Society and the Portland Lindy Exchange; and performing. Her lessons focus on the importance of connection and lead-follow technique while leaving room for the students to experiment and have fun.
Her dancing has been strongly influenced by feedback from former and current dance partners, watching follows at dance events and gaining inspiration from pros like Naomi Uyama, Frida Segerdahl and Alice Mei.
Karly’s advice for new and continuing dancers.
Remember that swing dancing is a social event and it is more important to have fun than to memorize the steps. If you can’t think of a move to do or you mess up, just smile at your partner and maybe engage them in a conversation while you practice some basics.