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Meet Kathy St Jean of New England Dance Festival

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kathy St Jean.

Kathy, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I asked my Mom and Dad at the age of 3 if I could take ballet. I have not stopped dancing yet! My journey in dance began in the performing arts, segued into ballroom dancing, then added in country western dancing (like ballroom but with boots on ). I have taught dance since the age of 16. In addition to teaching at various studios, I have been an adjunct ballroom dance professor at Rhode Island College. My husband and I own The Dancing Feeling located in Warwick, RI where we offer ballroom and country lessons as well as run social and special events. We have an amazing staff who add so much energy to our studio.

My life is amazing because of dancing. I have enjoyed my youth with dancing in various genres, competing and performing. Now my journey takes me to adjudicating both ballroom and country events. In addition, I am often Chairman of Judges. I have traveled throughout the US and I am proud to have traveled to Asia to train judges. Adding the New England Dance Festival has added another dimension for us to share our passion and love for dancing. It gives us another outlet to help people enjoy all the benefits that couple dancing has to offer!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
For the most part, my journey has been quite smooth. I am so passionate about what I do that the path has been amazing. However, I have worked very hard and many many hours to enjoy such success!

Please tell us about New England Dance Festival.
The New England Dance Festival is a unique event to Boston. It began 10 years ago this coming August. My husband Randy Deats and I purchased a United Country Western Dance Council World Qualifying event that was in need of some TLC. We moved the event from a location on the South Shore of Boston to the Boston Marriott Newton.

What sets us apart from other dance events in New England Dance Festival is the only event in the Boston area which combines 3 genres of partner dancers: Country (both competitive and social), ballroom, and west coast swing (both competitive and social). The New England Dance Festival affords the social dancer as well as the competitor the opportunity to social dance, compete and enjoy a weekend of dance workshops covering all types of dances as well as technique classes.

Attendees and professional instructors come as far away as Canada and all across the United States. The weekend begins on Thursday night with a kickoff dance, Friday morning starts off with yoga and then workshops all day. Late afternoon Friday competition starts followed by social dancing to the wee hours of the morning. Saturday competitions, workshops, social dancing and an amazing show, Sunday workshops, competitions and a farewell dance.

We are most proud that we have been able to help dancers enjoy multiple genres and crossover between country, ballroom, and swing. Historically people pick one type of dance and stay with that. Our event has helped people to realize the benefit of enjoying multiple forms of dance. More people have an appreciation of other dance forms because of our event.

One other thing that sets us apart from others is that we appreciate and care for each person who attends our event. We go out of our way to be sure their experience is amazing!

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Growing up in an amazing family with incredible parents.

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Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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