Who We Are

The organizers are all local dancers who work on a volunteer basis. Get to know them a little bit by reading their bios. Listed next to their names are their preferred pronouns and the RDU Blues teams in which they are involved.


Tiffany Breindel — she/her, Dance Blues Friday, Special Events

Tiffany has been dancing blues since 2012. She started teaching for RDU blues in 2014, and in 2015 got involved in organizing. As an organizer, she is working to build stronger connections between the RDU Blues dance community with local organizations that support racial and social justice. When she’s not dancing, she is the program director and event organizer for 1870 Farm in Chapel Hill.


Rachid El-Khattabi — he/his, Dance Fusion Saturday

Rachid started dancing in 2005 and picked up blues in 2011. After moving to North Carolina for the arduous position of a graduate student, he got involved with RDU Blues first as a dancer, then as an instructor, and finally as an organizer. As an instructor, he strives to help dancers bring their creative passion to the dance floor from day one and focuses on inspired, improvisational dancing.


John Graner — he/his, Dance Blues Friday, Special Events

John Graner started dancing 16 years ago and never stopped. He’s been teaching for almost 13 years and is experienced in a range of dances including Lindy Hop, Blues, East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, and social ballroom. He enjoys teaching and sharing dance with others in fun and inviting ways.



Suzanne Julian — she/her, Dance Blues Friday, Safer Spaces, Special Events

Suzanne has been hooked on partner dancing ever since a housemate introduced her to swing dance in 2002. Although she dabbles in many styles, blues is her true love: she delights in the partnership, creativity and connection to the music that blues dance offers. Suzanne has been a teacher and organizer for RDU Blues since 2010. She loves helping create a diverse community where people can have fun, build their appreciation for this wonderful art form, develop their skills in a low-pressure setting, and feel welcomed and safe. As a DJ, Suzanne aims to play a wide variety of blues genres that will get people on the floor! She’s a regular DJ at Dance Blues Friday and can usually be found boogie-ing shamelessly to her own sets in the DJ booth. Suzanne is one the lead teachers and DJs for RDU Blues, and is also on the RDU Blues Safer Spaces committee. Catch her for a dance, a question, or a chat anytime!


Laura Lackey — she/her, Special Events

Laura is an organizer, instructor, and long-time DJ for RDU Blues. She started dancing as a teenager and added on blues dancing 12 years ago. Her goals as an organizer are to help build appreciation in the community for blues music, especially focusing on local blues music and culture. Outside of her involvement in the dance community, she teaches kindergarten and enjoys hiking, camping, painting, playing music, and playing games.


Amanda Marron — she/her, Dance Blues Friday, Dance Fusion Saturday, Safer Spaces

Amanda started partnered social dancing in 2008 and blues in 2011. As much as she loves all of the different forms of social dancing in the Triangle, her love of the blues community led her to start DJing and teaching for RDU Blues a couple years ago. She cares about creating a welcoming community where people feel safe and confident in their dancing. She also likes to write and read, and you might see her biking around town with her husband and children!


Justis Peters — he/his, Safer Spaces

Justis has been dancing blues since 2014. As an organizer he finds it important to create both a diverse and a cohesive community. Outside of dancing, he swims, programs computers, and researches neural interfaces.



Shelli Plesser — she/her, Dance Blues Friday

Organizer since 2015.





John Rowe — he/his, Dance Blues Friday, Dance Fusion Saturday, Special Events

John Rowe has been swing dancing since 2000. Late one night at Lindy Exchange in 2008, he wandered into a blues room. He liked the freedom blues gave him to dance to the music. When he returned home, he starting going to Dance Blues Friday in Durham. When a group of the original RDU Blues organizers left, John volunteered to help out with organizational duties. He has since helped by DJing, coordinating dances, designing TRBX logos, buying a screen printing press so we can create our own T-shirts, creating signage, making decorations for prom dances, and many other things.


Ben Thomas — he/his, Dance Fusion Saturday

My dance journey began in 2001 with a beginner swing lesson before a dance. I started taking classes right away and was introduced to Blues a couple of months later, immediately falling in love with the slow stuff. Over the years I have explored Lindy Hop, West Coast Swing, Argentine Tango, Lyrical, Modern, and Aerial dance.  I have a passion for finding the common threads between dance forms which led to my focus on our Fusion community. When not dancing I practice partner acrobatics and enjoy a number of outdoor activities.


Dave Warner — he/his, Dance Fusion Saturday, Special Events

Organizer and DJ since 2008





Katie Gaddis