Ron is a Ballroom dancer and dance historian who came to dance from the world of business and was also swept up by the importance of educating the community on its dance history. He has produced and directed the DBDA show for the past 10 years.
Ron was born, raised and educated in Loas Angeles. Upon graduating from UCLA, Ron started a computer software business which he ran successfully for 20 years. Around 2000, because of the changing demographics in the city, he decided to take up Salsa. He went on to learn and master Ballroom, Argentine Tango and most of the partner social dances. In 2003 Ron joined Chester Whitmore, who wanted to form an all-black Lindy Hop dance group. They named it the Central Ave Dance Ensemble.
Chester is a world-renown choreographer, tap dance, lindy hop instructor and dance historian who toured the world with the original HBDA for over 15 years beginning in the late 1980s. He is one of the last surviving members of the famed "Hoofers Club" and has studied under and worked with some of the greatest vernacular jazz dancers of the 20th century. He has endevaored his entire career to preserve and promote American vernacular jazz dances and their history.
Teaching assignments included Herrang (Sweden), and dance performances, Salzburg (Austria), the San Francisco Jazz Festive (1997), the Monterey Jazz Festival (1996), performing with veteran jazz greats Jon Hendricks and Joe Williams. Mr. Whitmore is actively involved in projects reaching young people through Los Angeles Cultural Affairs evens ans performer or as teacher for the Parks and Recreation Divison, African Marketplace, and in schools and universities throughout the U.S. Chester Whitmore has taught almost everyone who has made a name in the swing scene.
Over the years, a lot of people have supported The History of Black Dance in America not only by purchasing tickets to performances, but also by direct donations of both time and money. This list is way too numerous to list. However, based upon past programs, here are some of the names that stand out:
Susan and Mark Fien, Donors
Natalie Linthorst, Donor
Doug Hammond, Donor
Deborah Fields Perez, By Your Side Dance Studio, Sponsor
Judy Pritchett, Frankie Manning Foundation, Donor
USA Dance - Los Angeles Chapter, Sponsor
Hatch Fund Donors
There are many, many people who just helped us out along the way. Some on staff, some on their own time because they believed in what we were doing. Again, too many names to list exhaustively, but here are many of the ones you will find in our past programs:
Gwen Allen, Fumi Bankole, Daniel Berney, Angela Billingsley, Paulette Brockington, James Burns, Laura Cannelias, Deja Colon, Charles Douglas, Lauren Duda, Karen Ellis, Rusty Frank, Gi Gi Gamble, Joan Gelin, Doug Hammond, Jane Hammond, Rosa Harris, James L. Hubbert, Alfredo Iraheta, Lori Landau, Macintosh County Shouters, Michael McCarrell, Sherrie Norwood, Gaida Paulovska, Deborah Fields Perez, Judy Pritchett, Joan Robinson, Prince Ross, Korinna Sehringer, Leba Shana, Joe Solario, Livia Squires, Barbara Stewart, Brendell Stewart, Josef Vinson, Xia Wang
There are several people who helped us over the years who are no longer with us. We do cherish the memories of their time with us.
Lance Benishek, Choreographer, Dance Historian
Marcia Gleason, Wardrobe
(and spirtual motivator)
Gayle Goodrich, Photogrpaher
(took photos for most of our shows)
MaDonna Grimes, Hip Hop and Fitness Legend
(honored at our 2016 show)
Paul and Arlene Kennedy, Universal Dance Designs
(rehearsals at their studio)
Lynn Posner, Dancer
(and beloved dance partner)