Ramona is one of the highest profile Lindy Hop and Authentic Jazz dance teachers in the world, performing and teaching at all major events, including Herrang (Sweden), Swing Out New Hampshire (USA), Swingtime Ball (Beijing), Paris Jazz Roots (France), Sugarloaf Stomp (Brazil), to name a few.
She is known for her wildly graceful style and playful spirit on the dance floor. She is a champion dancer, holding first place titles from the Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown, American Lindy Hop Championships, The International Lindy Hop Championships, and the World Lindy Hop Championships. Ramona is at the forefront of the Lindy Hop, telling her story, while preserving and passing on the legacy of the dance to the next generation.
Ramona was 14 when spotted by one of the founding fathers of Lindy Hop, Frankie Manning. Still in her early teens, Manning asked Ramona to open with him at the Midsummer Night Swing series at Lincoln Center in New York City. What Ramona values and prioritizes in class, on the social dance floor, on stage, and in life, came very much from working with and being around Frankie. Ramona began studying swing dancing at the age of 11. She has been dancing the Lindy Hop, Charleston, and jazz era social dances for the past 21 years.
Education and Training
Ramona started figure skating as a child, along with ballet, jazz, tap, and modern dance. She went on to study ballet, West African dance, clogging, tap, and contemporary dance. Ramona completed a year long professional studies program at the Jose Limon Institute, in New York City, along with summer dance programs at Tisch School of the Arts, NYU, and Skidmore College. She has studied tap dance with Chazz Young, Grant Swift, Joseph Wiggan, Josette Wiggan, Thomas Wadelton, Thomas Marek, and many more.
Awards and Accomplishments
As a member of The Vananver Caravan Dance and Music Company, Ramona has performed all over the world, including Symphony Space in New York City, and a run of the show “Earthbeat!”, at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Ramona has also worked for many years as a teaching artist in the company’s arts and education programs in schools from Long Island, NY, to Udaipur, India.
Also with The Vanancer Caravan, Ramona has shared the stage with such greats as Arlo Guthrie, Natalie Merchant, and Pete Seeger. Ramona has been a performer in the show From the Horse’s Mouth, magical tales of real dancers. Ramona was a member of the Silver Shadows, and a founding member of Minnie’s Moochers, two of the most influential Lindy Hop groups of the modern era. Under the direction of Noemie Lafrance, Ramona was a dancer in Agora II, presented by Sens Production in the abandoned McCarren Park Pool Site in Brooklyn, New York.
Ramona is co founder, dance director, and head choreographer of the Melbourne Rhythm Project along with Leigh Barker and the New Sheiks. Presenting an hour long show of original dance and music.
Some of Ramona’s awards include World Lindy Hop Champion, 2002, Authentic Jazz and Slow dancing Champion at the 2009 Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown, and most recently, Pro Classic Champion, Invitational Strictly Lindy Hop, and the People’s Choice Award Favourite Dancer at the International Lindy Hop Championships, 2015. She also won the pro classic at the same event in 2016. Due to motherhood, she has been unable to participate in world wide competitions, but looks forward to getting back to it when the time is right.
Teaching and Inspiration
Ramona’s classes are both fun and challenging. She is extremely professional, while at the same time, warm and welcoming. Her classes challenge students to participate and become self aware, taking ownership over the process of learning. Ramona’s joy is infectious and genuine. Her example is one of hard work, bravery, and respect for one another. She understands the basic human desire to connect, and values partner dancing for that very reason. She is perpetually guided by the vision of her greatest teacher, Frankie Manning, and is eternally grateful. Ramona emphasises listening, rhythm, musicality, and improvisation, as the heart of jazz dance. Her deep love and understanding of music is passed on to her students through her example in and out of class.
Currently, Ramona’s love for tap dance is unstoppable. She is making music, and beautiful pictures. Her rhythmic sensitivity and ability to improvise are of great use as a tap dancer. She understands the deep connections between tap and lindy hop, and seeks to promote further collaboration and conversation.