Dennis Gearon is a long time dancer who has lived in Bay Area for 7 years. He first decided to start dancing while living in Oregon after finishing two years back to back as National Figure Skating champion on Roller Skates, (1998, 1999). He came upon a flyer advertising Salsa group classes in a nearby town, (85 miles). After only 10 weeks of lessons, he went on a Salsa Cruise to the 'Mexican Riviera'. The cruise involved 4 group lessons a day, and privates with the world's best Salsa dancers at the time. When he came back, he continued to drive the 85 miles one way across a mountain pass twice a week to get dancing lessons and dance. One dead engine, gaining a deer sized dent in the front of the car, spinning out in the snow in front of an oncoming snow plow, parking overnight with truckers on the side of the road in a snow storm, many nights of sleeping in his car behind the dance studio after a long Saturday night, and not having enough time to dance because of the travel, made Dennis decide to move to the bay area. Previously, he had traveled down there for family and dancing events, in particular, one called 'North versus South Salsa' at the Veterans center in Oakland. It was probably could be seen as an early version of the present day Salsa Congresses. He met one of his most admired dancers there, Ava Apple, as well as reuniting with some of the great Salsa dancers he'd met on the Salsa Cruz.
While in Oregon, Dennis studied most club and studio dances: Salsa, West and East Coast Swing, the American Standard Curriculum, Argentine Tango, and some International. His teacher there was actually a former Starlight ballroom teacher! Since moving to the Bay Area, Dennis continued taking several years of private lessons in many dances from teachers at Starlite, as well as private lessons from independent teachers such as: Isidro Corona and Sheila Zepeda, Glenn Weiss, Liz Lira, Joby Vasquez, Enrique(Ki Que), Ricardo Teller, a former co champion with Steve Vasco, Pantea Madjoub, and Edie the Salsa Freak. Dennis decided to focus on Salsa about 2007, as some of the private instructor names show. He has started in the dance teams of Isidro Corona, Engique (Ki Que), and Ricardo Tellez, but having a 7Am in the morning job always got in the way. Since changing his focus to social he has danced at almost every Salsa dance veneu in the Bay area, taken group lessons from almost everybody in the bay area, produced a 'Triple Threat' (Salsa, WC Swing, and Hustle) dance technique workshop, and spent a LOT more time dancing than anything else.
Dennis's teaching style reflects his own approach to learning to dance. He wants students to feel like a dancer in their muscles and bones, to understand how to interact with their partner at all levels, to relax, and most of all to play! One of the prominent Hustle teachers of the bay area shared a concept that mirrored Dennis's thinking: "Beginners try to learn Intermediate steps, Intermediate dancers try to learn advanced moves, and Advanced dancers try to learn better basics and having fun." Dennis combines advanced basics and improvisation. Some of the best compliments Dennis has ever received were: from Richard Kear, former World WC Swing campaion, "You move like a dancer," and from Gustavo Hornos the 2011 Argentine Tango co Stage Champion, "Wow, that's pretty good following!", and from many of the dancers he meets on the floor, "Wow, you sure are fun to dance with!" Dennis credits the patience of his mentors and their love of dance for getting him to the point he is. Dennis believes all teachers should be students, and continues to take group lessons, and is arranging with Josie Neglia to meet her in Los Angeles for private lessons in the near future.
Dennis was a co-instructor with Jessica on Tuesdays during the brief time when JSmoothSalsa was going through a difficult time keeping the Tuesday classes open.