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  Joe DeMers and Nelle Hatley
Blues and Swing Dance Instructor  

Two of Denver's best instructors, Joe and Nelle DeMers are known for their performance Swing, Lindy Hop, and Blues. They are continually ranked the best instructors at workshop and competition weekends in which they teach.

Joe and Nelle are part organizers of and teachers at Mile High Blues in Denver, CO. They have toured the world teaching and performing Blues and Lindy Hop in countries such as South Korea, Japan, Canada, France, Hungary, England, and all over the United States. They are proponents of Frame Matching and the creators of ΔPTED, a framework for teaching partner dance connection. Their level of instruction is exceptional and they always innovate creative moves and movements while adhering to the aesthetics of the dances they teach.

They have been competing since 2003, and have taken home several National Championship titles at events such as Blues Shout, International Lindy Hop Championships, Swingtime in the Rockies, Camp Hollywood, and Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown. Their performance troupe, the Woodside Jumpers, have placed at events such as International Lindy Hop Championships and Camp Hollywood. In 2008, they were awarded the Spirit of Lindy Hop award at Camp Jitterbug.

 
Swing and Blues  
 

Dancing, especially swing and blues, has an amazing unharnessed energy. From its conception as a street dance with African roots, occurring during the rebellious vibe of jazz and the swing era, to its creating an uproar and enthusiasm that sparked life and encouraged social changes, to the new life and look that thrives today, swing has an inherent vibe and energy unlike any other dance. Because of the nature of this dance, it must be felt and not thought, a flow in movement rather than an order of moves, a whole-body expression of its essential energy and life…or you won’t be doing it justice.

We should understand and appreciate the originality and creativity of this dance, and how it fosters these characteristics in us. We believe that an important aspect to focus on in order to become an all-around better dancer is whole-body movement; creating an energy, feeling, and look that utilizes your entire body. We strive to find the methods and style of movement that gives dancing an organic look and feel that is natural and comfortable, and thus opens up the possibilities for creativity and self expression.

We encourage all dancers to push themselves and find new ranges in body movement, musicality, creativity, connection, technique, and thoughts of what dancing really is.

What is Blues Dancing?  

Blues is an umbrella term for an improvised family of individual, partnered, and group dance forms done to Blues music and structures. It is based on a series of dance styles created in America between the 1800's and mid 1900's, parallel with blues music. Rooted in African movement, Blues places high value on rhythm and a strong emphasis on solo movement. The dance has experienced a significant evolution within the last 10-15 years.

While there are now a wide range of Blues dances, each with unique dynamics, aesthetics, rhythms, attitudes, and step patterns, they share numerous characteristics that allow individuals to stylistically and creatively express the music. These include: asymmetry in the body; grounded and earth-focused movement; a balanced and flexible posture; dancing behind the beat; pulse; polyrhythms; 'every day' found movement; bent limbs and torso; movement in all parts of the body; call and response; lead and follow; and emotion.

Relative to Lindy Hop, West Coast Swing, and the Ballroom Dances, Blues is a very eclectic term and dance. There is a wide range of music from Eric Clapton to BB King to Norah Jones. Within each genre and style of music there are rhythms and moods that change the blues aesthetic and connection. One song will make you stand straight up and waltz around the room while another will ask you to grind really low with our partners. The constant change and freedom within the music really attracts us to this style of dance. Blues is a feeling that comes from within. It’s an expression and release of emotions and personality. When you dance with a partner that can match you, you'll feel like the only dancer in the room… just you, your partner, the music, and the floor.
Teaching and Performing  

Oct 2015 - Drag the Blues; Barcelona, Spain - Teaching with Whitton Frank
Jun 2015 - Mile High Blues; Denver, CO - Teaching with Campbell Miller
Apr 2015 - BluesShout; Chicago, IL - Teaching Julie Brown, Jenny Sowden, Dan Repsch
Apr 2015 - Blues Before Sunrise; Melbourne, Austrailia - Teaching with Noni Clarke
Mar 2015 - Pirate Swing; Ann Arbor, MI - Teaching with Mike Legenthal
Feb 2015 - Alamo Stomp; San Antonio, TX - Teaching with Shauna Marble
Oct 2014 - bamBLOOZLED; Washington, DC - Teaching with Julie Brown
July 2014 - Nocturne Blues; New York City, NY - Teaching with Mike Legenthal and Ruby Red
June 2014 - Mile High Blues; Denver, CO - Teaching with Campbell Miller
May 2014 - BluesShout; Chicago, IL - Teaching Julie Brown, Jenny Sowden, Heidi Fite
April 2014 - Hawkeye Swing Festival; Iowa City, IA - Teaching l with Mike Legenthal
Mar 2014 - Steel City Blues; Pittsburg, PA - Teaching with Mike Legenthal
Mar 2014 - Priate Swing; Ann Arbor, MI - Teaching with Campbell Miller
Feb 2014 - Joe and Julie Blues Workshop; San Luis Obispo, CA - Teaching with Julie Brown
Jan 2014 - Feelin' Blues; Tel Aviv, Israel - Teaching with Mike Legenthal
Jan 2014 - Denver Fusion Exchangel; Denver, CO - Frame Matching workshops
Dec 2013 - Lindy Focus; Asheville, SC - Teaching with Julie Brown
Oct 2013 - bamBLOOZled; Washington, DC - Teaching with Mike Legenthal
Oct 2013 - Oberlin Swing and Blues with Campbell Miller
Aug 2013 Montreal Blues; Montreal, Quebec - Teaching with Mike Legenthal
Aug 2013 Nocturne Blues; New York City, NY - Teaching and Competing with Shoshi Krieger and Julie Brown
Apr 2013 Hawkeye Swing Festival; Iowa City, IA - Teaching with Mike Legette
Mar 2013 Mile High Blues; Denver, CO - Teaching with Julie Brown
Mar 2013 Pirate Swing; Ann Arbor, MI - Teaching with Campbell Miller
Feb 2013 Swing Into Spring; Columbia, SC - Teaching with Julie Brown
Jan 2013 Feelin' Blues; Tel-Aviv, Israel - Teaching with Mike Legette
Jan 2012 Las Vegas Fusion Exchange; Las Vegas, NV - Teaching with Mike Legette
Dec 2012 Lindy Focus; Asheville, NC - Teaching with Brenda Russell
Oct 2012 BamBLOOZLED; Washington, D.C. - Teaching with Mike Legett
Aug 2012 Lindustrial Revolution; Charlottesville, VA - Teaching with Mike Legett
Aug 2012 Rain City Blues; Seattle, WA - Teaching with Ruth Hoffman
Aug 2012 Lindy on the Rocks; Denver, CO - Teaching with Nicole Trissel
Jun 2012 Blues Dance Teacher Training; Denver, CO - Teaching
Jun 2012 BluesShout; Minneapolis, MN - Teaching and Judging
Apr 2012 Overstreet Blues Dance Workshop with Rachael DeMers (not related); Littleton, CO - Teaching
Mar 2012 Mile High Blues; Denver, CO - Teaching with Nelle DeMers, Judging
Feb 2012 Enter the Blues; Atlanta, GA - Teaching with Mike Legett
Dec 2011 Colorado Thesbian Convention; Denver, CO - Teaching
Aug 2011 Blues Shout, Boston, MA - Teaching with Mike Legett, Judging
Aug 2011 Lindy on the Rocks, Denver, CO - teaching & judging
Jul 2011 Don't Stop Workshop, Denver, CO - teaching, judging & hosting at Overstreet Dance
Mar 2011 Mile High Blues, Denver, CO - Teaching, Judging
Mar 2011 Pirate Swing, Ann Arbor, MI - Teaching
Jan 2011 Phillie LABlove, Philadelphia, PA - Teaching
Oct 2010 Whistle Stop, West Lafayette, IN - Teaching
Oct 2010 Lindy Diversion; Denver - Teaching & Judging
Oct 2010 NYC Blues Blaze; NYC - Teaching & Judging
Sept 2010 Lindy and Party Dance Weekend; Phoenix, AZ- Teaching, Judging, Competing
Aug 2010 ILHC, Washington, D.C. - attending and competing
Aug 2010 Blues Masters, South Korea - teaching and performing
Aug 2010 Lindy on the Rocks; Denver - Teaching & Judging
Jun 2010 Blues workshop & dance; Denver - Teaching
Jun 2010 Hot Blues; Toulouse, France - Teaching
Apr 2010 Ottawa Blues Blast; Ottawa, Canada - Teaching
Apr 2010 BluesShout; Austin, TX - Teaching & Performing
Apr 2010 Hawkeye Swing Festival; Iowa City, IA- Teaching & Performing
Spring 2010 Choreographed Middle School Musical at Hamilton Middle School
Mar 2010 Mile High Blues Fest; Denver, CO - Teaching & Performing
Mar 2010 Pirate Swing (Lindy and Blues); Ann Arbor, MI - Teaching
Feb 2010 Blues Workshop Weekend; Chicago, IL - Teaching
Jan 2010 LABLove; Philadelphia; Philadelphia, PA - Teaching & Performing
Jan 2010 Purdue Workshop; West Lafayette, IN - Teaching
Dec 2009 Colorado Thespian Convention; Denver - Teaching
Nov 2009 Denver Dance Sampler - Teaching
Oct 2009 LA Blues Workshop Weekend - Teaching & Performing
Oct 2009 Lindy Diversion; Denver, CO
Aug 2009 Lindy on the Rocks; Denver, CO
Jul 2009 Swingtime in the Rockies; Denver, CO
Jul 2009 Fort Collins Blues Workshop; Fort Collins, CO
May 2009 Blues Shout; Chicago, IL
Apr 2009 Mile High Blues; Denver, CO
Apr 2009 Sparx; Cleveland, OH
Mar 2009 Swing for the Cause; Denver, CO
Mar 2009 Air Force Academy Workshop; Colorado Springs, CO
Dec 2008 Blues Fever Workshop; Fort Collins, CO
Aug 2008 Lindy on the Rocks; Denver, CO
Sept 2008 Solo Charleston Workshop; Denver, CO
Jul 2008 Joe & Nelle workshops & dj; Osaka, Japan
Jul 2008 Spirit of Lindy Hop Workshops & dj; Tokyo, Japan
Jul 2008 Joe & Nelle workshops, dj & performance; Seoul, South Korea
May 2008 Joe & Nelle workshops, dj & performance; Lawrence University Appleton, WI
Apr 2008 Denver Blues Summit; Denver, CO
Apr 2008 Hawkeye Swing Festival workshops, dj & performance; Iowa City, Iowa
Aug 2007 Lindy on the Rocks; Denver, CO
Jun 2007 Frankie Manning & A Tribute to the Savoy workshops & performances; Denver, CO
Jun 2007 54 Weeks Workshops; Las Vegas, NV
Mar 2007 Guys & Dolls Workshops & Performances; Denver, CO
Apr 2007 Denver Blues Summit; Denver, CO

Awards and Accomplishments  

2015
National Dance Teacher of the Year - SHAPE America
Midwest Dance Teacher of the Year - SHAPE America

2014
Colorado Dance Teacher of the Year - SHAPE America
2nd Place BluesShout All Start Strictly
2nd Place International Blues Dance Championships (Nocturne Blues)- Joe

2013
1st Place International Blues Dance Championships (Nocturne Blues)- Joe

2010
3rd Place Invitationa J&J (Lindy and Party)- Joe
3rd Place Team Division (International Lind Hop Championships)- Woodside Jumpers

2009
1st Place Instructor Solo Cuttin' Contest (Blues Shout)- Nelle
1st Place Pro/Am (International Lindy Hop Championships)- Joe
1st Place Balboa J&J (Swingtime in the Rockies) - Joe
1st Place Open Strictly Lindy (Lindy on the Rocks) - Joe (follower)
2nd Place Solo Charleston (Lindy on the Rocks) - Joe
3rd place Champions Invitational J&J (Lindy & Party Dance Weekend) - Nelle
4th Place Pro Balboa J&J (Swingtime in the Rockies) - Nelle
5th Place Pro Balboa Strictly (Swingtime in the Rockies) - Nelle
5th Place Pro Lindy J&J (Swingtime in the Rockies) - Nelle

 
2008
The Spirit of Lindy Hop Award (Camp Jitterbug) - Joe & Nelle
1st place Endurance contest (Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown)- Joe
1st place Invitational J & J (Lindy on the Rocks) - Nelle
1st place Mid-tempo Strictly (Lindy on the Rocks) – Nelle
1st place Diversity Dance Competition (Hawkeye Swing Festival) – Joe
1st place J & J (Rhythmic Arts Festival) - Joe
2nd place Champions J & J (Blues Shout) – Joe
2nd place Solo Blues Cuttin' Contest (Blues Shout) - Joe
2nd place Ballrooming Strictly (Blues Shout) - Joe & Nelle
2nd place Strictly Lindy (Rhythmic Arts Festival) - Joe & Nelle
3rd place Invitational Jack and Jill (Emerald City Blues Festival)- Joe
3rd place Champions J & J (Blues Shout) - Nelle
3rd place Balboa Strictly (Lindy on the Rocks) - Nelle
3rd place Invitational J & J (Lindy on the Rocks) - Joe
3rd place Team Division (Lindy on the Rocks) - The Shhhwiiiiingers
 
2007
1st place Team, NJC / Camp Hollywood 2007 - 23 Skidoo!
1st place Juke Joint Strictly (Blues Shout) – Joe
1st place Open J & J (Blues Shout) – Joe
1st place Invite J & J (Lindy on the Rocks) - Joe
1st place Solo Battle (Rocky Mtn. Girl Jam) – Joe
1st place Partner Charleston (Rhythmic Arts Festival) – Joe & Nelle
2nd place Strictly Lindy (Camp Jitterbug) - Joe & Nelle
2nd place Team Division (Colorado Intercollegiate Swing Battle) - Blam
2nd place Ballrooming Strictly (Blues Shout) – Joe & Nelle
2nd place Solo Charleston (Old West Sausage Fest) - Joe
2nd place Balboa J & J (Boston Tea Party) – Nelle
2nd place Strictly Lindy (Southwest Lindyfest) – Joe & Nelle
3rd place Strictly Lindy (Boston Tea Party) – Joe & Nelle
3rd place Team Division (Nat’l Jitterbug Championships) – 54 Weeks
3rd place J & J (Rhythmic Arts Festival) – Joe
4th place Juke Joint Strictly (Blues Shout) – Nelle
 
2006
1st place Team Division (Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown) – 23 Skidoo!
1st place Team Division (Camp Hollywood) – 23 Skidoo!
1st place Inner-City Strictly Lindy (Phoenix Lindy Exchange) – Nelle
1st place Solo Charleston (Phoenix Lindy Exchange) - Joe
1st place Fast Feet Contest (Herrang Dance Camp) – Nelle
1st place Back Beat Contest (Herrang Dance Camp) – Nelle
1st place Team Division (Colorado Intercollegiate Swing Battle) - Blam
1st place Pro/Am (NJC) – Nelle
1st place Amateur J & J (NJC) – Joe & Nelle
1st place Amateur Lindy (NJC) – Nelle & Joe
1st place Pro/Am (Midwest Lindyfest) – Joe
1st place J & J (Cheap Thrills) – Joe
2nd place Jitterbug Contest (Camp Hollywood) – Nelle & Joe
2nd place Fast Feet Contest (Herrang Dance Camp) – Joe
2nd place Jitterbug Contest (Camp Hollywood) – Nelle & Joe
2nd place Pro/Am (NJC) – Joe
2nd place J & J (Camp Jitterbug) – Nelle
2nd place “No Holds” Strictly Lindy (Midwest Lindyfest) – Nelle & Joe
3rd place J & J (Midwest Lindyfest) – Nelle
3rd place Couples Strictly Juke Joint (Cheap Thrills) – Joe
5th place Amateur Balboa (Camp Hollywood) – Nelle
 
2005
1st place Strictly Lindy (Lindy on the Rocks) – Nelle
1st place Open J & J Balboa (CMDance) – Nelle
1st place J & J (Barcelona) – Joe
1st place Team Division (Colorado Intercollegiate Swing Battle) - Blam
2nd place J & J (Cowtown Jamborama) – Nelle
2nd place Showcase Division (Lindy on the Rocks) - Nelle
2nd place Amateur Couples (Nat’l Jitterbug Championships) – Joe & Nelle
2nd place Charleston Only J & J (Mercury Café) – Joe
2nd place No Holds Strictly Lindy (Midwest Lindyfest) – Joe
2nd place Lindy Hop J & J (CO State Swing Championships) – Joe
2nd place Strictly Lindy (CO State Swing Championships) – Joe
3rd place Team Division (Nat’l Jitterbug Championships) – Atomic Rhythm
3rd place Open J & J (ULHS) – Nelle
3rd place Open J & J (Lindy on the Rocks) – Nelle
3rd place Novice Strictly Swing (CO State Swing Championships) – Joe
3rd place Classic Swing (CO State Swing Championships) – Joe
5th place Amateur J & J (Nat’l Jitterbug Championships) – Joe
 
2004
1st place Endurance Contest (Mercury Café) – Nelle
2nd place Open J & J (Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown) – Nelle
2nd place Team Division (Colorado Intercollegiate Swing Battle) - Blam
2nd place Team Division (Camp Hollywood) – 23 Skidoo!
2nd place Team Division (Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown) – 23 Skidoo!
3rd place Team Division (Nat’l Jitterbug Championships) – Atomic Rhythm
4th place Strictly Lindy (ALHC) – Nelle