Jamie is from Portland, Oregon, in the Northwest region of the U.S. (Oregon is the state north of California) (though he was originally born in Chicago). He has been dancing various styles of swing since October 1997, starting with a bit of East Coast Swing in a ballroom dance class while attending college at Oregon State University. He then moved on to a West Coast Swing class, becoming so thoroughly hooked on swing dancing along the way that he joined a Lindy Hop class soon after. The love affair only grew and grew, until he was dancing 4-5 times per week. After 2 years he moved to Galway (in the west of Ireland), where he lived and taught for almost 2 years. While there he began travelling to Dublin, as he had heard there were some Swing dancers there. After a couple of misses he finally met them in January 2001, and that’s when he met Clare. Before long he was going to Dublin every week to see (and dance with) her, and soon after (around April 2001) he began teaching a class there as well since he was in town anyway. 🙂 Clare briefly moved to Galway, which is when she began teaching with Jamie, but shortly they both moved to Dublin for good, where they have been teaching and dancing together ever since.
Clare is from Dublin and has been Swing dancing since July 2000. Her first experience with swing dancing was having her uncle (who lives in Portland, Oregon, and started Swing dancing there just before Jamie moved to Ireland, though the two didn’t meet until later) trying to describe to her over the phone this cool new dance he had started learning. At the time she also worked with someone who had heard of it as well. She was intrigued enough that when she heard there was a swing night on at a bar called HQ (long since closed, alas), she decided to check it out. It didn’t take long for her to get completely hooked. She started taking East Coast Swing classes at the Morossini-Whelan dance school on Parnell Square with some of the people she met at HQ, and before long they were out dancing like mad. Venues came and went — HQ, Viva, the Sugar Club — but still they stuck with it. When she moved to Galway to be closer to Jamie, she started to help him teach his classes there. When they moved back to Dublin, she continued to help him. Before too much longer her skills progressed to the point where she joined Jamie as a full partner in the venture rather than just being his assistant.