Meet the team!
We're all about community, inclusivity, and spreading the joy of swing dancing!
Read has been dancing since 2008 and has been involved with the leadership and teaching of lessons in western Canada since 2009. He currently resides in New Westminster BC and has been organizing events with Uptown Swing since 2022.
Read helped start, organize, and taught workshops in Grand Prairie, Edmonton, Red Deer, Calgary, Lethbridge, Kamloops, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg. He loves working with small and large scenes to help share this dance he loves.
He is the founder of:
• Spring Fling Swing Dance Workshops 2009-2019 – A three-track three-day workshop with international instructors and live bands
• Edmonton Lindy Hop Showcase 2015 – A two-track week-long workshop with international instructors and a performance at a theatre at the end
• Summer Solstice Swing Dance Exchange 2013-2014 – A live music dance exchange that went till dawn on the solstice with hot tubs, a cabaret, and a mix of international and local musicians.
Read was involved with organizing:
• Prairie Lindy Exchange 2016 and 2019
• Autumn Rhythm Swing Dance Workshops 2016-2018
• The Cats Meow at the Anvil 2023
• Read has been a member of the BC Vernacular Jazz Dance Society since 2015 and is the only two-time winner of the Spirit Award at Lindy Bout.
Jenny Lee is a Lindy Hop dancer and jazz bass student whose dance bands include the Backporch Serenaders, Beach Ave Jazz Band and Rusty Buckets.
She’s a working board member of the Vancity Hot Jazz Society and a founding board member of LindyBloom.
Jenny has many years of history volunteering with RCMA and Lindy Bout, and previously sat on the West Coast Tap board.
Justine has been dancing and teaching in the local swing dance scene for the past 7 years, and has been involved in many dance events and performances.
She is passionate about sharing her love of dance and music in any way possible, especially through teaching. Her go-to dance forms are Balboa, Lindy Hop and Collegiate Shag, and she can often be heard yelling "more bal!" at any given time.
Besides dance, Justine loves her two cats, designing (including this site!) and eating copious amounts of icecream.
Jason Starr is a passionate swing dancer/instructor who brings a smile to anyone he dances with. He has over a decade of experience in the world of swing dance, and has been involved in many different types of dancing for over 25 yrs.
Jason is well able to dance Collegiate Shag, Balboa and Lindy Hop and teaches all three. His enthusiasm for the art almost surpasses his enthusiasm for talking about cats, whether it's yours, his or somebody else’s.
Jodie Haraga is an educator, art therapist, arts and education administrator, dark chocolate snob, and cat mom with a strong track record of community-focused and client-centred program coordination.
She is a founding and managing director of Uptown Swing Collective and Thrive Expressive Therapies Society.
The swing dance scene brings together many of Jodie’s passions including life-long learning, personal empowerment, creating music, dancing, building community, youth mentorship, intergenerational experiences, creating alliances, and personal connections.
A recent transplant from Ontario and newly arrived on the Lindy Hop scene.
Katie came to BC to do more outdoorsy things and instead found community on the dance floor.
She volunteers at several dances in the lower mainland and sits on the Rock Step Swing Dance Society board. What she lacks in years of experience, she makes up for with straight up enthusiasm.
A fan of jazz music for as long as she can remember, she's excited to now express jazz through dance and is passionate about facilitating opportunities for others to do so as well.
Perhaps best known in town as the Artistic Executive Director of The Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret Society, named one of “Vancouver’s best kept secrets” by the CBC, Kat is an award-winning filmmaker, critically acclaimed performer and writer/director/choreographer of five full-length, original theatre productions, and an event producer since 2005 best known for leading the Parade of Lost Souls since 2013. Kat can be seen on a regular basis throughout BC as the well-loved over-the-hill chorus girl Gloria from Gloria's Happy Hour, and has recently taken up hosting comedic speed dating as Gloria at the Dusty Flowerpot’s home base studio theatre. As a musician, you may see her playing brass with Balkan Shmalkan, singing vocals with Blackberry Wood, percussion with the Dusty House Band, or tap dancing with The Myrtle Sisters. Her most recent two original creations couldn’t be any different from each other yet both have been receiving rave reviews, and selling out houses - Call Me CC is a musical starring Climate Change as the lead character, and Disco Inferno was an interactive disco musical that took Vancouver by storm this April. Read more on Kat in the Georgia Straight’s article this month.
The Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret is a nonprofit society dedicated to creating and supporting original work of physical theatre in stages both traditional and site specific. Since 2013, The Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret has been a studio as well as a company, operating from an art deco disco speakeasy mash up at 2050 Scotia Street. This is the home of Vancouver’s only dedicated weekly live band swing dance—with sprung wood floors built on tennis balls! With a house band led by Joe Abbott and on-going lesson series taught by Kat Single-Dain, the Swing Out every Tuesday is where it’s at.
“When the dancers launch into director Kat Single-Dain’s energetic, swing-inspired choreography, you can feel the sap starting to run in the trees.”
~COLIN THOMAS, The Georgia Straight.
Uptown Swing Collective is a friendly and inclusive community of hot jazz enthusiasts. We are passionate about creating intergenerational connections between musicians, dancers and toe tappers, by regularly providing live music in an accessible and welcoming space in the heart of New Westminster.
We believe in supporting and encouraging newcomers of all skill levels, and providing an atmosphere that promotes self-improvement and personal growth.
We believe in preserving and nourishing the roots of jazz music and providing opportunities for young musicians interested in playing early forms of jazz.
We believe in providing a welcoming, dancer-friendly environment that allows participants to be playful and joyful, while prioritizing safety and good dance etiquette.