Glen Strauss

Beginning at the age of 13, Glen took up a kids beginners class with no dance co-ordination and very little social confidence. After a couple of one hour classes, he was sure that ballroom dancing was something that inspired him for life. It was then Glen said to his parents, "I want to dance professionally and some day own my own studio".

After being a medalist for a short period, Glen was paired up his first parnter Katrina. They danced their way though the levels in the Junior division, taking home hundreds of trophies, sometimes 5-6 trophies each at a single comp. Before turning 16, Glen began dancing with Belinda and took out the Junior C Latin American event at South Pacifics (against another 80+ couples).

At the age of 15, Glen's Father and No.1 fan, had suddenly passed away. His voice was Glen's confidence and energy at the dance comps. Glen still hears that encouraging voice today!

During his first 5 years, Glen had the chance to complete in New Zealand and twice in Tasmania. Glen & Belinda worked their way through to Adult B grade before ending their partnership. He re-partnered Katrina for a short period, before moving from Albury to further his dancing career.

A move to Dubbo gave him the opportuinity to travel with 30 people around China and Thailand, performing with temporary partner, Renee. After 3 months in Dubbo, Sydney was Glen's home 6-7 years, working with some amazing trainers and dancers. Moving from suburb to suburb, Sydney life was very difficult to settle down, especially travelling with a bicycle. During this time, Glen met Hollie, whom he unfortunately only partnered for 2 years.

For the next five years, he then danced with his girlfriend at the time, Jeanette. With many successful comps together, they reached Adult A Grade division after winning Adult B New Vogue at the Australian Championships in 2003. This became Glen's last competitive comp to date, also ending his realtionship with Jeanette.

Many years of experience and knowledge has become a powerful teaching tool for Glen, who now enjoys showing others how to improve their ballroom techniques, so he moved back home to begin his dream. In 2007, Glen started teaching for Lorraine Hewitt - former owner of Albury-Wodonga Dance Centre for 32 years. Glen and his wife Niki, took over the business in July 2010 while expecting their first child, Mabelle.

Glen & Niki had continued the studio's activites, and had also built it up from 3 days to 7 days a week. While scheduled private lessons and 10 social classes run through the evenings, Glen & Niki, with the assistance of Jodi and Bronwyn, are training Debuatante groups on weekends.

As we see it today, the studio continues to provide a warm, friendly enviroment for the new and experienced dancers.

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Bronwyn Robertson

Bronwyn started Ballet at 4 years of age. Doing her exams each year and receiving honours each time, Bronwyn would also score solo roles in the annual concerts. Bronwyn realized at a young age, if you want to be good at anything you need to work hard at it. By the age of 10, Bronwyn went along to an Exam night for a local ballroom studio in Albury. It was love at first sight. The fluffy dresses and diamantes was all she needed. Her Brother Robin also went along and thought he may like to try Ballroom dancing also. It was not long before they were off to their first completion dancing together.

A growth spurt meant Bronwyn needed to try out with different partners, and after a few years by the age 13, Bronwyn and her brother found themselves back together, securing a spot in the top 5 Open Junior event at the Australian Championships. Various guest teachers would travel to Albury for private lessons, and weekends where taken up by either competitions or private lessons.

In 1998, when the ABC television program came to life “That's Dancin”, 14 year old Bronwyn and 15 year old Robin, became the youngest competitors on the show.

After years of training and competitions all over Australasia they decided to have a rest from the competitive scene, and stay involved by teaching completing all their medal examinations.

During a studio social night in 2012, Bronwyn and Robin, walked back into the exact same studio they danced in 30 years ago. Glen was never a stranger to them. It was like old times. Bronwyn was instantly offered a position in the studio. Her role in the studio is kids Ballroom, adult beginner Ballroom, social Ballroom, private lessons, as well as the tiny tots, aged 2 to 5 years.

“I love my dancing. Glen and Niki have welcomed me into their family, and for this I am truly grateful for having the opportunity to share my passion and knowledge of this diverse industry.” “None of this would be possible without the love and support of my Husband, Leigh and my daughter, Georgia.”

Glen and Niki are very proud to have Bronwyn in the team. There are no words to describe her amazing work with all of our students!

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Jodi Banks

Jodi started ballet at the age of 4 years old. By the time she was 6 years old, she was trying out other styles like Jazz, Modern Dance & Gymnastics. Later on, Jodi had a go at Rock ‘n' Roll, which she found enjoyable and continued socially until she started competitions.

At 12 years of age, Jodi was introduced to Ballroom and Latin American, and instantly felt more at home. While meeting some wonderful friends and needing a challenge, she started doing medal tests, which then led to local Ballroom competitions. Over the next few years, Jodi became more involved into the bigger comps in Melbourne and had committed to 4-6 days of training a week. This only lasted a year which Jodi then had a break from dancing all together.

While travelling overseas to Michigan USA in her early twenties, Jodi became involved with a local dance studio and was assisting with the Ballroom & Latin dance classes. In the meantime, she had the opportunity to learn new styles such as Salsa, Hustle and lots of other American-based dances styles. She also did a short term course in Modern/Ballet for her study requirements, achieving an A grade for both styles. Further travelling led her to England, where she was visiting studios wherever she went, thinking that it would be a great opportunity to experience the same dance styles but in a different country.

In 2004, Jodi had returned and moved to Albury when she first stepped into Albury-Wodonga Dance Centre and she has been a part of the studio since. Glen & Niki had given Jodi the chance to help with Social Ballroom and Latin classes, Debutante Balls and other dance related events. She has learnt so much from Glen's techniques and knowledge, and has enjoyed the fun and wonderful atmosphere that the studio provides. Jodi's favourite memories are of the most wonderful people who come to learn and dance at our studio, and being able to pass on her previous experiences and knowledge.

Since 2012, Jodi was nominated as Chairperson to our studio's Travel Club, which involves organising fundraising events, to help our young dancers become more involved into local and state competitions. Jodi's involvement has been a great asset to the studio.

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Luisa Helena Perez Mujica

Luisa Helena Pérez Mújica was born in Mexico City in the heart of a music-oriented family. She was introduced to the music of great “salseros” like Hector Lavoe and Rubén Blades while still in the womb as her Father would play music to her Mother’s belly.

She first learned to dance to different Latin rhythms in her Mother’s kitchen at the age of three, as her Mother prepared dinner each night. It was not until the age of 15 that she started to attend dancing lessons, first to Spanish Flamenco, Argentinian Tango and even Belly Dancing. It was not until the age of 17 that she discovered her passion for Salsa music.

Luisa began training for LA-Style Salsa and finally transitioned to Cuban Salsa, under the instruction of Ramon Gomez from the academy “Con Sabor a Timba”. She then took part in two of the dancing companies of the academy “Sabrosura Timbera” and “Con Sabor a Timba” and represented the academy in numerous exhibitions and national competitions, winning third place in the International Salsa Congress “Cuba baila en Mexico 2012”.

Upon her arrival to Albury-Wodonga to undertake a PhD in environmental sciences, Luisa wanted to continue dancing salsa. She joined the Albury-Wodonga Dance Centre and established what is now the only Cuban Salsa class on the Border. Luisa conducts the Salsa classes with her Husband, Daniel Svozil, whom she has trained.

We have been part of various events in the Albury-Wodonga region, such as the Hume Murray Farmers Market and the “Everybody DANCE Now” Dance Festival. After nearly two years, since the class began, Albury/Wodonga has begun to see the beginning of what will hopefully become a thriving salsa community.

Their participation at the studio is amazing and AWDC is proud to have them on the team.

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The Dance Team...
Glen Strauss
Niki Strauss
Bronwyn Robertson
Jodi Banks
Luisa Helena Perez Mujica
Daniel Svozil
Sherri Gardiner
Chris Cambey

 

Border Mail Articles listed below:

"Deaf Can Dance"
Aug 10

"Pulse Feature"
Aug 10

"New Tiny Tots"