MCS Peer Mentorship Program

Thank you for your interest in being a mentee in our Peer Mentorship Program!

We know how nerve-wracking it is to enter a new community, and dancing is no exception. Everyone seems more experienced than you, and you may feel really intimidated at times. The MCS Peer Mentorship Program aims to help you navigate the dance world and integrate into both MCS and the wider dance community. The program is similar to a “Big Brother, Big Sister” program and will last for three months. You will be paired in a group of four — a mentor leader, a mentor follower, a mentee follower, and a mentee leader.

Below are our mentors for the Fall 2018 pilot program. Please review their bios and identify your top two preferred mentors of the same role as you in your application.

Followers

Annie LockmillerAnnie Lockmiller
Annie likes West Coast Swing because of how adaptable and artistic the dance is. She loves the juicy feeling of stretch, the music, and the community. She wants to be a mentor so that she can help make newbies have an easier time entering the dance world. She really enjoys supporting others, so she will take good care of her mentees and prioritize looking out for them. Annie has experience in many areas of the dance world, including social dancing, competition, and instructing, and is excited to offer her experience and insight however she can to her mentees!

Jodie TarpoJodie Tarpo
Jodie loves West Coast Swing because it’s a fun, well connected, goofy dance that’s danced to the widest variety of music with the widest variety of people. She wants to be a mentor because she wants to show her mentee how to network and give them feedback on basic technique. She also can give perspective on social dancing, competitions, and the community itself. She is very positive and can help her mentee prioritize what they want out of West Coast Swing and the West Coast Swing community.

Kathleen SunKathleen Sun
Kathleen loves West Coast Swing because the dance is adaptable to so many different types of songs. She also loves the amazing and supportive community. She has received a lot from the dance community, and she wants to become a mentor to give back. She is an incredibly enthusiastic, supportive person. She is also incredibly talented at not just West Coast Swing, but also other dances like Lindy Hop.

Maggie MorenoMaggie Moreno
Maggie loves West Coast Swing because of the music and the community. She’s been dancing for over two years and she also volunteers at MCS, so she knows the ins and outs of the community. She wants to be a mentor to make new friends and show people who great the MCS community is. She is invested in the community but still pretty new to dance, so she remembers what it was like to try to make new friends in the community. Therefore, she would be a great mentor because she still understand the struggles of newbies!

Marie LuMarie Lu
Marie loves West Coast Swing because of how expressive the dance is. She also appreciates the friends she’s made through the dance and loves the feeling of improving. She wants to be a mentor because she had really great mentors when she first started dancing. She remembers that these people were super open to dancing with her and helped her when she was new and scared, so she really wants to do the same for beginners at MCS! Marie has had experience teaching as a grad student before and was involved in West Coast Swing at Berkeley for a year. She has also been involved in the MCS community for three years, so she can easily navigate the MCS social scene.

Leaders

40205747_599842893803753_6177853028394074112_n-1.jpgDimitri Smirnoff
Dimitri fell in love with partner dancing on the third day of college. Ever since, the draw of the dance floor has been irresistible! Through dance Dimitri finds expression, technical challenge, and, most importantly, a community of friends. West Coast Swing appeals to him because it is a structured way to be improvisational and playful. Dimitri is excited for the opportunity to help create a welcoming and supportive environment for those early in their dance journey. He regularly mentors in his professional work and finds grate satisfaction in helping others succeed. Through this mentoring experience, Dimitri hopes to do just that while getting to know better members of MCS community.

Hewson JuHewson Ju
Hewson loves West Coast Swing because he loves the variety of music, the freedom of the dance, and the friendly community. He wants to be a mentor because he wants to give back to the community and help out new faces so that everyone can have as great of an experience as he did when first starting. He wants to bring the passion of dance to everyone.

Kenrick RileeKenrick Rilee
Kenrick loves West Coast Swing because of the community. He loves catching up with old friends as well as meeting new people. He also likes social dancing and practicing technique. Kenrick is incredibly friendly and great at meeting and talking to people. He wants to be a mentor because he wants to support making dance a friendly and welcoming place, and he also wants to imbue his positive energy in everyone!

Peter YinPeter Yin
Peter loves West Coast Swing because he loves the music, the connection, the partnership, and the improvisation of the dance. He wants to be a mentor because he wants to help bring the joy of West Coast Swing to people who are just starting out. He has three years of experience in West Coast Swing, and he is is very experienced in both social dancing as well as in competition, so he can provide a lot of guidance in both the MCS and the convention world.

Zach GotschZach Gotsch
Zack loves West Coast Swing because dance is an artistic and emotional outlet for him. He likes that West Coast Swing gives the freedom to both the lead and the follower to improvise. He also loves the West Coast Swing connection and the high bandwidth of the dance. He wants to mentor because he wants to meet more people who are new to the west coast swing scene. He has been dancing and competing for a long time so he knows most of the people who compete in the bay area and beyond, so he can help his mentees easily meet new people in the dance world!