Sutton Anker interviewed Joe DeMers for Presenting Denver’s In the Spotlight series. To accompany the interview, I took Joe’s headshots at Presenting Denver’s headquarters. Joe first fell in love with dance as a senior in high school, when he decided to take social dance classes to prepare for his senior prom. It was through that class that he found a new interest and a community. Even though he didn’t study dance in college, he used that time to learn social dance, attend conferences, and compete.
“His interest in learning more about the social components of dance led Joe to develop the emergent form of Drag Blues. Joe does not, however, take the credit or consider himself to be the almighty creator of Drag Blues. ‘If anything, I am standing on the shoulder of giants thinking, hey, I’m gonna take this movement, this one, (and) this one and put them together.’ Joe listed some specific styles and elements of dance such as Jookin’, Savoy Slow Drag, Strut, Lindy Hop, and more. He suggests that his contribution lies in amalgamating certain qualities of these various dances, with the result of Drag Blues. When Joe attended a competition with a friend and, to his surprise, won the entire competition with a Savoy-style Drag Blues, he realized he needed to learn more about what he had started.”
Joe is incredibly passionate about the history of dance, the dance community, and the different styles of social dance. When he changed careers from a science teacher to a dance teacher in the public school system, his passion for dance and its history was reignited. A year after he started his job as a full time dance teacher, Joe won Colorado Dance Teacher of the Year and National Dance Teacher of the Year. “Joe’s passion for dance, desire for community relationships, and enthusiasm for teaching is changing lives for the better.”
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