Owner ~ Instructor
Shawn Gardner began dancing in Tillamook, OR in 1990. She's now a professional dance instructor with over 24 years teaching experience and specializes in sharing the joy & benefits of dance with people of all ages and skill levels. Shawn has studied a wide variety of dance styles throughout her life including Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Musical Theater, Character, Contemporary and Hip hop. She's performed in numerous stage productions and was a member of a Professional Modern dance company. Shawn has both co-directed and directed multiple dance shows in Oregon and Washington. She has received national recognition with her work in youth dancing and volunteered for 6 years as Director of a Teen partner dance start up non-profit and social dance. Shawn's Ballroom career began in 2005, studying under Sunnie Page of The Ballroom Dance Company and just two years later, she was crowned National Champion in both Bronze & Silver International Standard at the 2007 USA Dance National Championships. Shawn has taught in various dance studios, recreation centers and studios since 1997.
Her professional career outside of dancing includes 25+ years of extensive administrative, hospitality, marketing and management experience. She has been a long time and dedicated employee including 8 years in restaurant management and 6 years gym management with the YMCA. Her professional work experience combined with dance has led her to many wonderful opportunities in life. Her most recent accomplishment has been transitioning into studio ownership at the beautiful Ballroom we've all come to love on Commercial street in Tigard. Her future goals include community collaboration and outreach for growth of dance, fitness, events and nightlife at The Ballroom. She strives each day to find new connections and opportunities of partnership and teamwork and continues to have a faith driven approach to the success of her goals.
On top of studio ownership and management, Shawn still teaches as well. She is available for private lessons of all ages & skill levels including Pro/Am, singles & couples competition, wedding dances, show dances and more. Shawn specializes in International Ballroom & Latin dances and also teaches social partner dances, kids classes and coaches performances teams.
Membership & Marketing Manager
Luke started dancing in 1991 at the University of Oregon and started teaching dance in 1993 in Country and Swing and then added Ballroom and Latin in 1996. He has competed across the United States in all Partner Dance forms in Professional and Pro-Am events, including the UCWDC World Championships, the US Swing Dance Open Classic Division and the US Swing Dance Open Showcase Division. He also ran Xanadu - A Midwinter Dance Celebration for 2 years in Portland bringing together dancers from across the country to participate in an event tailored to ALL Partner Dance Styles. Luke has taught throughout the country for various studios and events since 1993.
His professional career outside of dance includes 25+ years of extensive marketing, customer service, business development and management experience. When he graduated from the University of Oregon, he proudly served in the Army for 4 years as a Transportation Officer. When he left the Army, he spent the next 20 years as a consultant for multiple disciplines, including IT customer service, finance, and marketing. Luke is very excited about bringing his wealth of knowledge and skills to help build and grow Shawn Gardner Dancing.
Whether you want to learn to dance individually or as a couple, Luke’ passion, skill, and talent will tailor to your every learning need. Luke’s exciting and energetic approach accentuates strong technique and flow of movement. He works with each individual to bring out their inner dancer with movements that work for them and that bring joy and elegance to the dance floor in an artistic way. He currently teaches a wide variety of dances (Ballroom, Latin, Swing & Country) for all levels of dancer (beginner through advanced) and enjoys passing all of his wisdom and LOVE OF DANCE on to his students.
A former gymnast, Jessica Bird has been dancing for the last 22 years. She fell in love with Zumba 9 years ago and took the plunge in January of 2019 and got her teaching license. Shortly after, she also obtained her American Council on Exercise (ACE) group fitness instructor certification. She was thrilled to begin teaching at Shawn Gardner Dancing in February of 2020. The Ballroom is a very special place as she learned her wedding dance with her husband there! She loves sharing her passion for Zumba with others, especially those who are new to Zumba. Soca is her favorite style along with anything from the 80's! When she isn't dancing, she is working full-time in Risk Management, cooking, riding her bicycle, hiking with her husband or spoiling Olive, her Olde English Bulldogge.
Smooth, Rhythm, Ballroom, Social, Salsa
For over 20 years, Bree Blevins has pursued dance as both a career and personal dream. After graduating in 1997 from the University of Oregon with a BA in Dance and Anthropology, Bree plunged whole-heartedly into the ballroom world. Bree has competed in Pro/Am and professionally, garnering titles in Arthur Murray's prestigious 2002 Las Vegas World Dance-O-Rama, 2005 Seattle Dance-O-Rama, and 2006 Seattle Star Ball. She specializes in social and competitive dances with a focus in American Smooth, American Rhythm, International Ballroom, and Salsa. Her charm, humor & teaching skills combine to make learning with her exciting and fun. As with all good teachers, Bree's goals are to help beginners feel comfortable, and advance all students towards their dance goals. She's teaches Monday night group lessons and is available for private lessons for all ages, Pro-Am competition, wedding lessons, single & couple adults, competition preparation, show dances & more. Please book directly with Bree by contacting BreeBlevins@gmail.com.
Zumba, La Blast
Debby is a lover of dance and movement. She does not have formal dance training but has learned by self teaching, watching and learning from others as well as in her fitness training. She comes from a lifetime career in Nursing which helps tremendously in overall awareness of the human body and safety through movement. Debby danced with her children in a Community based dance collective where they performed on stage and even on the beach! After discovering Zumba in 2008, she was transformed. Licensed in 2011 to teach Zumba, Zumba Gold and Toning in both. Debby taught at Studio Fit in Maine until moving to Oregon 8 years ago, moving from Portland to Portland! Of course the first thing she did was find a Zumba class! She has been teaching for the community parks for the past 7 years as well as at several other fitness studios, gyms and dance studios. Debby has extensive and very diverse experience. She has taught seated Zumba Gold classes for independent living facilities and rehab centers, she started a family and staff class at Shriners Hospital and has also volunteered for multiple fundraisers including “Party in Pink” for breast cancer research. She is an avid participant in continuing education opportunities through Zumba and LaBlast. Debby Dodson- "I believe that dance is for all ages and every “body". I am a lifetime learner and believe that my journey to health and healing through dance can be a motivation and inspiration to others! Joyful movement encouraged and no experience necessary. I look forward to dancing with you soon!
Julie has been a licensed Zumba Instructor since October 2018. Prior to being a Zumba instructor, she was a Dental Assistant of 18 years. She is a mom of 2 and has been married for almost 18 years. When she isn’t teaching Zumba, she loves going on spontaneous trips with her family to create memories. Although Julie doesn’t have professional dance training, she credits her enthusiasm for dancing from her background as a cheerleader and color guard in school. Ten years ago, Julie took her very first Zumba class and fell in love with it. She loves that Zumba is a dance-base fitness class set to Latin and pop music. Her goal as a Zumba Instructor is to ensure that you have a great workout, experience abundant joy, and leave class with a boosted morale.
Ballroom, Latin, Smooth, Ryhthm, Swing, Salsa, Social
Joshua has been a professional dance instructor for over 20 years, teaching and performing all over the United States with training in over 10 different styles of dance from Ballroom and Latin to Swing. Because of his unique style of Salsa, combined with his proficiency in teaching, students and spectators have gathered to enjoy his passion, creativity, and overall love for the art of dance. Joshua excels at maximizing his student’s ability at any level with connection, style, partnership, and individual expression. While Joshua demonstrates a mix of class and street style, he fuses technique and precision into his steps and musicality. Be sure to join one of his Salsa workshops to enhance your knowledge and experience, or take your dancing to the next level with a one on one private lesson. Whichever you decide, you will dance away with an excitement to learn more.
Salsa, Bachata, Youth, Teams
Marina discovered her passion for dancing at a very young age. She was trained in the Portland metro area, but has also worked with great choreographers from Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle. Extensively trained in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, and Hip Hop, Marina competed in these styles for nine years before branching out to advance in Ballroom and Latin dancing. Along the way, she discovered a love of teaching and choreographing. Marina always strives to improve her dance knowledge and craftsmanship. One of the ways she does that is by exposing herself to new styles of movement and performance such as musical theatre, gymnastics, aerial acrobatics, and contortion. She’s been dancing with Shawn Gardner for three years now and has performed on multiple dance teams including the ladies latin team, which she now co-teaches with Shawn. Marina was excited to see her choreography on the Las Vegas Salsa and Bachata Congress stage, and is eager to pursue her teaching career with Shawn Gardner Dancing. Marina teaches Ballet, Jazz & Hip hop classes as well as coaches the Ladies Latin team. She also teaches Beginning Ballroom & Latin and is available for private lessons of all ages.
Ballroom, Latin, Smooth, Rhythm, Swing, Social, Teams
Eric has been training for the past 15 years under his primary coach Sunnie Page as well as Shawn Gardner, Mark Richman, David Semken, and Valentine Bachvarov. Eric is proficient in International Standard and Latin dancing with knowledge in many other styles of dance including Nightclub Two Step and East Coast Swing. Eric has competed in several NDCA and USA Dance competitions in Oregon, Washington, and California. He has also been performing all 15 years of his dance career both as solo performances with partners, with instructors and on numerous youth, teen, and adult dance teams under Shawn Gardner. Eric attributes his knowledge and passion for dance to his coaches and is thankful for the teaching assistant opportunities he's been given over the many years which has led him to become the teacher he is today. In addition to assisting and teaching, Eric is also a DJ for the Sunday night social in the main room. Eric has grown his DJ skills through many years of assisting the Ballroom dances as well as with Shawn Gardner's teen PDX program for five years. Eric has come to be one of the most sought after helping hands in the Ballroom not only because of his dance expertise but also because of his commitment and loyalty to the building, Sunnie Page, Shawn Gardner and the rest of our dance family.
Mark Lowes Baker
Ballroom, Latin, Smooth, Rhythm, Salsa, Country, Social
Mark Lowes Baker is one of Portland’s top and most accomplished competition ballroom instructors. With a BA in Ballroom Dance coupled with significant competitive experience Mark has won National and World championships in Latin, Smooth and Rhythm. His students has traveled worldwide performing and competing at the highest levels. In addition To his significant technical background, Mark also enjoys the social dance styles and can teach country, Argentine tango, club dances and more. Mark Lowes Baker received his BA in Ballroom Dance in 2005 from Brigham Young University. During his time at BYU he trained and performed with the world famous BYU Ballroom Dance touring company. With BYU, Mark performed and competed extensively throughout the United States, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. In 2004 and 2005 Mark won the US Latin Formation title as well as won the prestigious Blackpool England Latin Formation Title in 2004. Mark was an elite instructor for BYU from 2001- 2005 and received the 2004 "Top Teacher" award for teaching excellence. Mark is currently a US Ballroom Dance professional and travels to compete all over the US and internationally. He has won numerous competitions with his students including World titles in 2016 and 2017. He brings a tremendous amount of experience and teaching expertise gained from an extensive professional performing and teaching career and he can shake his hips like you can't believe!
Ballroom, Latin, Smooth, Rhythm, Swing, Social
Throughout her amateur competitive career Sunnie won five international standard titles at the US National Championships in the style cumulatively known as "International Standard.” During that time she lived in England and New York City 4 months a year for extensive training with the world’s top coaches. After turning pro and opening The Ballroom Dance Company in 2005, she continued to compete internationally in the professional championship division. Sunnie's produced many successful amateur competitor couples, who’ve won multiple national US Dance titles. Sunnie teaches intermediate ballroom technique classes Saturdays 8-9am & advanced ballroom technique classes Saturdays 9-10am. She is also available for private lessons weekday and Saturday mornings & early afternoons. Privates can booked by calling The Ballroom Dance Company at 503-639-4861. STARTING JULY 29, 2019 Sunnie will continue teaching Saturday morning group classes and daily private lessons. Please contact Sunnie directly to book private lessons at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ballroom, Latin, Argentine Tango, Salsa, Bachata, West Coast Swing
Aaron Siebol didn’t grow up dancing, in fact when he started later in life, he wasn’t very good. It’s this fact that propels him to be so passionate about teaching people how to dance - because anybody can learn. He looks to prove to students that dancing is a matter of learning skills, not being naturally gifted. Aaron moved to Portland, OR in 2010 after graduating from Central Washington University. After four years of teaching at Arthur Murray, Aaron had become one of the most notable and reputable dance instructors in the Portland and Beaverton area - earning a distinguished and coveted “top instructor award” back to back to back. Teaching dance is as much a personal love as dancing itself is to him. His philosophy is simple, “teach simple, be effective, be result driven and have fun.” Aaron has been professionally teaching for ten years, having a strong base in American Smooth and Rhythm as well as various nightclub and country dances. His dancing and teaching ranges from Waltz, Tango and Samba to club favorites like Salsa, Arg. Tango, West Coast Swing and many more. He’s traveled the west coast and Hawaii for competitions and showcases with students. Aaron is also currently focusing on filmmaking, shooting a variety of narrative, wedding and quinceanera films in Washington and Oregon. Be on the lookout for him in dance clubs and film festivals. He knows better than anyone that you can start a passion at any age and that you can truly blossom if you are committed to learning and growing.
Ballroom, Latin, Argentine Tango, Salsa, Bachata
Miles is a professional engineer with a wide range of music and dance experience. During his 20 years of dancing, he has competed in over 20 styles of dance and received training in over 40. His main competitive focus was his 10 years of competing in Ballroom at the Gold level in American Smooth, Rhythm and International Standard. He also competed successfully at the Pre-Champ level in International Standard. After dancing competitively, he decided to switch his focus to social dances such as Argentine Tango, Salsa and Bachata. Miles is known for his funky improv style and awesome musicality which he attributes to a long history of studying music. He has over 20 years experience playing various instruments as well as singing in bands, choirs and ensembles. This musical experience adds to his dance style as he focuses heavily on musicality in his social dances. Overall, his favorite aspects of dancing are exploring the technical movements and musical nuances of each individual dance. Miles met Shawn Gardner on the social dance floor many years ago and they hit it off right away. They now enjoy teaching & practicing together to help their students improve. Miles teaches many social dances as well as Ballroom & Latin and is available for private lessons of all ages.
Ballroom, Latin, Rhythm, Social
Becca was introduced to dance and gymnastics at a young age, and discovered social partner dancing when she was 16. Trained in ballroom in Ohio, she has competed in International latin, American rhythm, and International standard as well as social styles such as East Coast swing. After a break from dance to focus on her career and family, Becca returned to ballroom in 2018. She enjoys competing International standard and latin styles, practicing new dance moves, and continues to invest in her ballroom education and training in her free time. She teaches beginning ballroom group classes and private lessons, and you can often find her on the social dance floor sharing her love of dance with others!
Instructor: Casino Rueda, Cumbia, Salsa, Bachata
Miguel is a dynamic salsa instructor, performer, and choreographer currently teaching in Portland Oregon. He started his dancing career in Mexicali BC. developing his salsa skills with famous teachers from Cuba, Mexico, Europe and the US. After moving to the Bay Area in 2008, he trained with amazing salsa teams such as Salsa Rueda Vale Todo as well as Royland Lobato & Co. He has participated in several performances across the West Coast individually and with his salsa team, Hot Timba. Miguel continues to train and learn the newest styles and techniques from top Cuban coaches. Miguel Co-founded Portland Salsa in the Park with Shawn Gardner in 2015 and has been volunteering every summer since to share the joy of Salsa dancing with many! Miguel teaches group classes, private lessons and coaches performance teams. He is excited to introduce you to something NEW & FUN, bring something FRESH and add STYLE & FLAVOR to your dancing!
Ernie (Paul) Venecia
Instructor: Salsa, Bachata
Paul has always been around music. His love of dance came from watching his parents at Tejano dances and watching them move around the dance floor with ease. As a boy his dad would play accordion at home and his mom would dance with him in the kitchen. Growing up, Paul was a big fan of Hip Hop and R&B music. Artists like Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson and New Edition were very much an inspiration to him and his dancing. In 2016, Paul joined Shawn Gardner's program and started learning Salsa and Bachata in her intro class. It quickly became a goal to take classes and practice as much as possible to improve his lead. Paul was excited to further his knowledge of Salsa & Bachata, meet people with similar goals and get connected to the Salsa community. In 2017, becoming Team Captain on Shawn's Bachata team also inspired him to assist & study more to become a student teacher in Shawn's program. That same year he joined the Salsa Fusion Team and has been a big part of helping run events ever since. All of these opportunities have inspired him to train harder and gain more experience so he can one day become a company instructor. Paul has learned by watching Shawn and how she interacts with her students as well as how she builds her program through the community. He currently teaches beginning Salsa and Bachata workshops, group classes and private lessons. He has recently taken his love of dance a step further and has started his own company: Dance On Cue, a clothing and accessories line for dancers. Paul has also just joined our team as the new Event & Sales Manger responsible for all aspects of private rentals in the ballroom. Paul's favorite Quote: "If you can dream it, you can do it!"
Ballroom, Latin, Smooth, Rhythm, Social
Haley began dancing at age 13 in Portland as part of a school project. She found she loved dancing so much that after her project was over, she decided to stick around and keep dancing.In her early years training, she competed Pro/Am in International Latin (Cha Cha, Rumba, Samba, Paso Doble, Jive) and American Smooth (Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz). In 2010, at the World Pro/Am Championships, she earned first place in every Youth Latin event she entered. She has taken private lessons and workshops with world class professionals, such as Yegor Novikov, Ryan Di Lello, and Shirley Ballas. Once she moved to Eugene to attend college at the University of Oregon, Haley was given a new opportunity to dance with the professional performance team, the Utah Ballroom Dance Company. With the Utah BDC, Haley kept up her technical training, but also began teaching hundreds of people across the U.S. not only how to dance, but how to perform. She stayed with the Utah BDC after graduating from University of Oregon and worked as their Artistic Director. As the Artistic Director, Haley choreographed dances in the show, trained the entire formation team, and lead the company in technique and performance training throughout the year. Now, after more than a decade of training and experience, Haley is back in the Portland area and available to teach private lessons ranging in styles from American Smooth to International Latin, as well as the social styles such as salsa, nightclub two-step, and disco. She is available for all levels of students, including wedding couples, competitive dancesport students, and showcase performers!
Ballroom, Latin, Smooth, Rhythm, Social & Theater Arts
Dave Watson has been a professional Ballroom Dance Instructor since January 1973. He was an Associate Member of the Fred Astaire National Dance Board, and held every position in a studio one can hold, from janitor & toilet cleaner to Supervisor & Dance Director. Eventually he co-owned 3 FADS studios in NJ and went on to open Ballroom Parkrose here in Portland. He is a fully certified adjudicator in all 5 styles of Ballroom Dance: American Smooth & Rhythm, International Standard & Latin, and Theater Arts. He briefly competed professionally in all except Latin, but settled into the Standard and rose to the level of National Semi-finalist in that style. As a Pro/Am instructor/competitor, Mr. Watson was the recipient of numerous Top Awards for Teacher, Students, & Studio. He retired from competing a few years ago but still teaches and dances regularly. “I love Ballroom. I love teaching it – I love studying it – I love the elegance of the Smooth & Standard, and I love the excitement & energy of the Latin & Rhythm. I love performing Showcase routines, and I love the dancing. I feel extraordinarily lucky to have a job that I look forward to every day. ”
Ballroom, Latin, Smooth, Rhythm, West Coast Swing, Argentine Tango, Country
Fitness Specialist & Personal Training
Eric is a unique voice in our dance community. As a Certified Medical Exercise Specialist with a degree in Human Performance, his knowledge of body mechanics provides a safe and effective training environment for his students. He has enjoyed the honor of traveling around the country teaching, performing and competing in a variety of dance forms. He was featured internationally as “America’s Personal Trainer,” teaching classes and techniques that included dance, fitness and mind/body wellness. He is the author of 4 videos, the latest being a dance / fitness creation drawing heavily on his ballet background called “The Barre.” Eric’s dance background began 30 years ago with extensive Ballet, Modern and Jazz training. Since arriving in Portland in late 1994, he has danced for the Portland Opera as well as the gamut of local musical theatre companies . Prior to finding partner dancing, Eric danced for Kinetic Images, a local modern dance company (where, by chance, he met Shawn Gardner for the first time). Eric’s partner dancing credits begin with Argentine Tango 15 years ago, studying extensively with Alex Krebs. Shortly thereafter he began his ballroom study with DVIDA, being at the forefront of the development of the examination tools available to ballroom instructors world-wide today. Since then, he has expanded his credentials to include West Coast Swing and competitive Country Dance with the UCWDC (United Country Western Dance Council), currently participating as a masters level competitor, adjudicator and instructor throughout the country. Eric’s instruction has been described as “skilled, warm, patient, positive and highly instructive.” He is available for private instruction and looks forward to meeting you