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Welcome to KellyDance.com!

Kelly Casanova, formerly Kelly Buckwalter, is a two time US Open Swing Dance Champion, having placed first in the Classic division in ’88 with her partner Dominic Yin, and first in the Open Jack & Jill in ’94 with Tom Paderna . Kelly has been teaching West Coast Swing locally throughout the San Francisco Bay Area since 1981. Although her weekly classes are based in Santa Rosa and Emeryville, she has spent much of her career traveling throughout the United States competing, teaching, judging, and Chief Judging at a variety of major national conventions.

In November 2004, at the US Open Swing Dance Championships, Kelly was inducted into the National Swing Dance Hall of Fame. This National Hall of Fame is a lifetime achievement award for Swing dancers, from around the country and from the various styles of Swing, whose long-time contributions and accomplishments have contributed to the growth and prestige of swing dancing. Through dancing, competing, teaching, judging and/or promoting, Hall of Fame inductees have shown distinction in exemplifying the highest standards of leadership, ethical conduct, and local and national service, resulting in a body of work with a far reaching and significant impact on Swing dancing. Beyond mere enjoyment and participation, they have given of themselves and is the highest honor awarded to a member of the Swing community.  In 2006, Kelly was also inducted into the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame.  Kelly currently serves on the Board of Directors of the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame.

Throughout her teaching career, Kelly has encouraged her students to learn to both lead and follow firm in the belief that knowing both parts makes for a more compassionate partner; another consequence of learning both roles happily insures that no one ever has to sit out a dance!  From her own experience as both a lead and follow, Kelly has learned that one of the benefits gained is that she has twice as many friends and potential dance partners than if she limited herself to only one role. In 1999 Kelly hosted her own convention, “Swing Break”, where she broke with tradition and allowed dancers to compete as either a lead or follow regardless of their sexual orientation.  Kelly has been instrumental in influencing other event directors and swing organizations to eliminate gender bias in competitions and is thrilled that currently most events allow people to choose their role and division based solely on their skills.

About West Coast Swing

West Coast Swing is one of the nation’s most amazing partner dances because it is fun, challenging, and versatile. It can be danced to an incredible variety of music-popular, rock, R&B, jazz, blues, country, hip hop, zydeco, disco, oldies, Latin, almost any music that uses a 4/4 time signature. The dance can be performed simply and easily with a few basic patterns; or it can be embellished with an extensive repertoire of patterns and footwork variations. It is one of the few partner dances that allows for a great degree of difference in experience in between partners. The structure is such that accomplished dancers can enjoy themselves with beginners, and that makes for a very friendly dance environment.

If you have never seen West Coast Swing performed, you have a big treat coming. You are welcome to monitor any of Kelly’s classes at no charge. Please come and see how much fun West Coast Swing really is… Better yet, sign up for a class and start enjoying the fun yourself!