September 16, 2010

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Some of the Cleveland Junior Jitterbugs at the International Lindy Hop Championships in 2011

The Cleveland Junior Jitterbugs is a group of outstanding students from Denison Elementary School in the Brooklyn Centre neighborhood who are interested in learning and performing swing dance styles. The group is led by professional dancer Valerie Salstrom from Get Hep Swing, visiting artist at Denison School for the last seven years. After four successful years of teaching in the school, students and parents indicated that they would like to engage in more dance lessons outside of regular school hours.

The Cleveland Junior Jitterbugs have performed at a variety of venues all over the Cleveland area.  They performed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The House of Blues, a variety of community events and they have even been on TV twice!  The team has also traveled around the country performing at swing dance events and competing in junior division swing dance contests.  They have traveled to Washington, DC, San Francisco, California, and Houston, Texas.  Their biggest honor was getting to spend an entire week in New York City studying with the world famous swing dancers and swing dance teachers; Ryan Francois and Jenny Thomas. The finale of this week of training was performing for an audience of thousands of people who came in from all over the world to honor the late legend of swing dance; Frankie Manning.

We are excited to start a new chapter in the story of the Cleveland Junior Jitterbugs with a more intensive twice weekly after-school swing dance program.  We can only imagine what amazing and exciting things will happen with this new group of boys and girls.

This program is free to the students in the Brooklyn Centre area and is made possible through generous donations from the public.

If you would like more information about the Cleveland Junior Jitterbugs team, their practices, their performances, or how to make a donation to the team, etc.; please contact the CJJ coach Valerie Salstrom at 216-374-1927 or