Dancing in Riverside Dance Teachers
Travis and Symphony Runnells met 7 years ago at a social dance party and have been dancing together ever since. This husband and wife team have been certified professional ballroom instructors, competitors and independent consultants for a combined total of 26 years.
Travis started dancing in 1992 as a sophomore in high school. His first love was country western and he quickly secured line dance championships in both the Redneck Girl and the Achy Breaky Heart at the Tustin Tiller Days Competition in 1994. Two years later, Travis became a professional dance instructor with Arthur Murray Dance Studios. Over the next 14 years, he taught in Riverside, Orange and San Diego counties as an instructor, coach and studio manager. During this time, Travis placed in several professional competitions including 2nd place in Open Professional West Coast Swing Championship at the Arthur Murray International World Championships. Competing in the Pro/Am division, Travis and his students have also received multiple awards for Top Student, Top Solo Routine and Scholarship and winners and finalists of all levels. Travis personally received three Top 20 Executive Awards, five Unique Performance Awards and eight Top Teacher Awards and under his management, a Million Dollar Studio Award.
Symphony began her dancing journey with the San Francisco Ballet as a young child. After gaining years of stage and performance experience, she decided to try her hand at other forms of dance. Over the next decade, she studied and taught jazz, hip-hop, cabaret, modern, contemporary and song leading. In 1999 Symphony joined as a member of a professional cheerleading team, Cheer San Francisco, a team recently featured on America’s Got Talent as a semi-finalist. After coaching cheer and dance for three years at Moreau Catholic High School, Symphony began her career in the Bay Area teaching ballroom dance. She taught for the San Jose Arthur Murray for three years before moving to Orange County in 2005. There, Symphony was a Staff Trainer and Dance Director and Studio Manager of a million dollar school. She also received numerous awards including Top Teacher, Top Solo Routine, Unique Performance and Top 20 Counselor. Most recently, Symphony’s student Tom Brisco received Top Silver Student and Top 20 Dancesport Series at both 2011 Desert Classic and 2011 Nevada Star Ball.
Since moving to the Inland Empire at the beginning of 2011, Travis and Symphony founded Dancing in Riverside, an independent consulting company providing business consulting and management services to Inland Empire studio owners. In 2011, they were featured dancers at the Fox theatre and the Palm Springs Art Museum fundraiser and received publishing’s in The Desert Sun Magazine, Riverside Magazine and Inland Empire Magazine for both 2011 and 2012. Because their first love is teaching, their primary focus has always been to create a safe and fun learning environment where every student feels welcomed and capable of learning. The two love teaching all styles of partner dancing both social and competitive from Quickstep to Country Western and everything in between. They strongly believe that learning to dance is a life-changing journey and their passion for sharing this gift motivates their desire to teach. Travis and Symphony are Certified Professional Instructors and registered competitors with the National Dance Counsel of America.
Introducing Alex Matar
Alex Matar, one of the nation’s most respected top teachers, began his dancing career in San Diego, California. He has been trained by internationally recognized instructors for the past 15 years (Ray Rivers, Heather Smith, Ron Montez and Mary Murphy, to name a few). Throughout this time he has attended-and competed in–numerous professional competitions, including the United States Dacesport Championships, the Hawaii Star Ball, theEmerald Ball and the Millenium Dancesport Championships. In addition, His students have won numerous competitions at the the national level in all ballroom styles: Latin, Rhythm, Smooth, and Standard dance
Alex has taught ballroom and Latin all over the country, ranking as one of the top teachers nationwide for the majority of his career. Alex’s focus during the majority of his teaching career has been to help his students achieve both their personal and, through the lessons learned on the dance floor, their professional goals. Many of Alex’s students have chosen to be involved in dancesport competition, at which their successes were a direct result of his instruction. Additionally, he is an excellent choreographer for special occasion routines. His career recently gave him the opportunity to perform as a Guest Entertainer on board a cruise ship. He was also the featured Ballroom Dancer in a major production show that travelled all over the world.
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Introducing Blake Duemer
Breakdancing as a kid, Blake realized early on his love and talent for dance He started Swing dancing in 2003 and became a featured performer and instructor in his hometown of Rockford, IL. Lindy and related styles of Swing were in his blood, so he spent all the time he could soaking up all he could, including training with world-class Lindy Hoppers such as Doug Silton, Peter Strom, Sky and Freida, Max and Annie and many others. Blake moved to Chicago in 2009 to pursue dance professionally and expand his training. He has become a very popular social dance instructor teaching Ballroom, Latin, Argentine Tango and more. But his usual big smile is stretched even wider when a good Lindy or Blues tune comes on.
Introducing Reanne Barrette
Reanne has been swing dancing for about six years. She found her love of dancing during her freshman year of college and became the President of the Swing Club at UCR after just a few months of being a member. In addition to managing a weekly swing dance venue Monday Nights at Coffee Depot she was also in charge of the weekly swing dance classes on campus and was a member of a professional swing dance team known as The Bobbysox Brigade. After Coffee Depot closed she helped start a new Monday Night Venue, The Riverside Junction, with Symphony and Travis, and created a council to help manage the new venue.