Our Hand Dance Instructors

                                  Betty Bunch Garcia--Betty graduated from Burdick High School in Northwest D. C.  She did Fast Dancing at the CYO parties and in her best friend’s basement. She continued to develop her dancing through ballet, jazz, tap, and ballroom coaching.  Betty began her teaching career in 1985 at Arthur Murray Dance Studios. She taught at Classic Step Dance Studios, That’s Dancing Ballroom and Dancesport Center, and for Anne Arundel and Howard County Parks & Recreation. Betty earned her certification rom the National Dance Council of America (NDCA), Fred Astaire Dance Council (FANDA), and Louise Pyles for Hand Dancing.  She has taught private and group lessons, done choreography for shows, competed, in addition to training individuals to become ballroom teachers.

            In 1999 she joined the D. C. Hand Dance Club and started hand dancing regularly.  In 2002, Betty took training with Louise Pyles (her mentor) for 5 months and started teaching many of her ballroom student’s hand dancing.  She started substitute teaching hand dancing for Louise and has taught for the D. C. Hand Dance Club.   Betty and Louise Pyles are presently working with the D. C. Hand Dance Club in training and certifying individuals to become hand dance instructors. For lessons, please contact Betty at tobetg2@comcast.net  or 301-793-8311. 

 

 

I        Eddie O'Reilly---I had been a working musician in the Washington area since junior high school.  Somehow I found my way to Coconuts and began taking D. C. Hand Dance lessons. As luck would have it my instructor was Louise Pyles.  She became my good friend and mentor. I started teaching on my own at Spurs in Waldorf, MD. As Hand Dancing became more popular and grew I also taught in more clubs.  I began Instructing Hand Dance for Anne Arundel and Prince George's Community Colleges.  I also taught  Ballroom and Country dancing for AACC. For years I have been a Carolina Shag Instructor for the Northern Virginia Shag Club. I appreciate all the hard work and dedication of our club officers. Hand Dancing would not have grown without it.  I am assisted by Pam Lanouette and Diane Michael.   I am a member of the National Fastdance Association's National Boppers Hall of Fame in Jacksonville, Fla. I am also a Certified Regular DJ for the Association of Beach and Shag Club DJ's Association. E-mail address is: smoothnez@gmail.com and phone number is: 301-300-9241.

 

         Louise Pyles---Louise graduated from Towson State University and taught physical education in the Maryland Public School System for 10 years.  She has been teaching Ballroom, D. C. Hand Dance and Line Dancing in the D. C. Metropolitan area for over 40 years.  Louise works with a variety of groups including the mentally and physically challenged, and also teaches senior citizens Social and Line Dancing.

         Louise began Hand Dancing at age 12 at Lackey Jr./Sr. High School and has been actively teaching it since 1992.  She is one of the founders of the D. C. Hand Dance Club, and was inducted into the National Boppers Hall of Fame in August 2000 for her teaching and preservation of D. C. Hand Dancing.  Louise has been a certified dance instructor for the D. C. Hand Dance Club since its beginning. She teaches dancing at various locations and in her studio in Baden, MD, where she gives group and private lessons.  A commercial instructional video of Hand Dancing is available upon request.  To e-mail her, just click on the button E-Mail. Her phone number is: 301-579-9486. 

 

                      

        Diane and Phil Engstrom---are members of our D.C. Hand Dance Club (DCHDC)-Ocean City, Maryland, venue.   They met in 2003 and were recently married. Diane was born in Washington, DC.  She attended Holy Name Elementary School in DC, went on to Immaculate Conception Academy, and graduated from DuVall H.S. in Lanham, MD.  Diane attended the College Park Beauty Academy, and during the ensuing 45-plus years has worked in various shops, and has owned three different shops on her own.  Diane has two children, five grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.  She is ably qualified to teach hand dancing as she began dancing at age of 12 in the C.Y.O. circuit.  She also attended firehouse dances, and then the famous Milt Grant Show on TV.  Diane won dance contests through the years, and continued dancing in various adult dance venues. Phil was born in Gary, Indiana, and, soon after, his family moved to Wheaton, MD.  He was schooled in Montgomery County, beginning at Rocking Horse Elementary then on to Newport, Jr. H.S., and finally Wheaton H.S.  Phil has two children and two grandchildren.  He has worked in the automobile business for 41 years.  He began his dancing journey at teen clubs and firehouses in Montgomery County Maryland.  Phil also attended the Milt Grant Show, and won the finals in one of their dance contests.  He also continued dancing in various adult dance venues.  For lesson information, please contact DCHDC Certified Dance Instructors Diane or Phil at: 410-723-0661. 

 

    Buzz Payne - Buzz grew up in NW Washington, DC, and now lives in the Vienna/Oakton area of Northern Virginia.  He has been married to his wife, Carolyn, for 40 years, and has two daughters, two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.  Buzz graduated from Suitland High School in 1955.  He worked for 35 years as a communications craft worker for AT&T/Western Electric Division.  

Buzz started dancing in 1954 at local teen clubs, and says that he danced “in just about every local "joint" in the Metro area.”   He began hand dancing again about 15 years ago when the D.C. Hand Dance Club started meeting in Crofton, MD. Buzz says that hand dancing is a favorite of his many hobbies.  He really enjoys the friendly companionship with everyone who also shares his love of hand dancing.  He looks forward to teaching others, and feels there is a good opportunity to help people in Northern Virginia who are just getting started in hand dancing.  Please call 703-938-7875 or email him at BuzzPayne@aol.com for information on taking lessons.

 

 

Joyce Fitzgerald Mehl - Currently living in Central Florida, Joyce is a D.C. native who grew up in S.E. Washington and did much of her dancing at the District Heights, MD firestation.  She attended Ketchem Elementary, Kramer Junior High, and Anacostia High School, graduating in 1961.  Always an avid dancer, Joyce wanted to find a way to share her love of the D.C.-style dancing with others.  That's when she contacted Bonnie Richardson-Jordan (one of the original founders of the DCHDC and the originator of its DCHDC instructor syllabus) who also calls Florida home.  Through Bonnie's mentoring and instruction, Joyce achieved her DCHDC instructor certification in January 2010.  Joyce is currently teaching privately in homes and group lessons at the Lake Mary Senior Center in Lake Mary, FL.  She dances at The Post-Time Lounge in Longwood, FL and can be reached at jfmehl@earthlink.net

 

 

 

Sondra Riley - DC Hand Dance Club Instructor: Sondra grew up in Annapolis, MD, and graduated from St. Mary’s High School.  She married her high school sweetheart, Joe Riley, and they reside in the water community of Turkey Point, Edgewater, MD.  They raised a son and a daughter, whose families also reside in Edgewater. Sondra was first introduced to hand dancing by her husband, Joe.  After raising a family and the kids went off to college, she was looking for something to occupy her time.  Because of her love of dancing, she began taking country dance lessons and then moved on to ballroom style, competing in both arenas.  Sondra discovered the DC Hand Dance Club when a friend invited her to the Szechuan Inn.  She found the dance style easy to learn and enjoyed meeting club members.  She then completed the required six-week instructor course and became a certified DC Hand Dance Club instructor in August 2010. If you are interested in taking lessons, please e-mail her at sonjriley@aol.com or call her at 410-353-0465. 

 

Pam Vann---Pam was born in New Jersey, midway between Philadelphia and NYC.  Pam and her husband, Lee, live in Edgewater, MD. After college, Pam began her career as a personnel recruiter.  She moved to the DC area in the 70’s where she opened her own recruiting firm, affording her more time to also pursue her hobby of showing horses and dog training.  She began dancing during her teen years and has been dancing ever since.  Pam was elected club President in 2009, and is presently serving as 2nd Vice President.  Her love of dancing and longtime membership and involvement in the D.C. Hand Dance Club inspired her to complete the required course to become a certified DCHDC instructor.  Pam can be reached at: 410-956-2739 or e-mail her at: vann24@verizon.net.

 

 

Jerry Hart—Jerry was born in Washington, DC, grew up in Falls Church, VA, and has lived in Greenbelt, MD, for the past 42 years. He began hand dancing at age 13. Jerry danced at CYO/CYC teen clubs, community centers, country clubs, skating rinks, many other high schools, Glen Echo and Milt Grant's Record Hop. After high school he danced off base and all up and down the East Coast while in the Navy from 1960 - 1964. Jerry states that his best dance venue was Our Place Teen Club, 1954 -1968.

His first DCHDC event was in 1995 at the Greenbelt American Legion. Bonnie Torgenson was the instructor, and he danced with his now mentor, Louise Pyles. Jerry said he began to get the urge to teach our dance style at the 94th Aero Squadron and the Riverdale Elks. He has four college degrees and has taught for his community - CPR and springboard diving, physical education, health and nutrition at three local colleges, and various personal training and health courses for several fitness and health organizations. Jerry wishes to thank Louise Pyles and Betty Garcia for their patience and encouragement during the six-week instructor course to become a certified DCHDC instructor.

Contact information: jerryh375@gmail.com, 301-345-1681 (home), 240-338-4294 (cell).