About Our Coaches

Armin Kappacher – Professional Latin Coach

Armin started Latin Dance at age 12 in his home country of Austria. His curriculum there included not only dance steps, but also human anatomy, bio-dynamics, and other dance and sports related subjects. Armin continued his dance education when he moved to London and was coached by world-class dancers such as Colline and Lene James, Barbara McColl, and June McMurdo. Later, his understanding of musicality, expression, and partnership matured and was shaped by his friendship with former world champion Vibeke Toft. As a dancer, Armin holds numerous honors, including winning the North American Professional Latin Rising Star Championship and placing 7th at the US Professional Championships. Armin has been teaching dance for decades, and draws heavily on his structural understanding of the human body to explain Latin technique and to teach his students to develop ease of movement, awareness, feeling, and an understanding that dancing should feel natural and easy as opposed to forced and contrived. The effectiveness of Armin’s teaching method is apparent in the success of his students; their heavy presence in collegiate competitions’ finals and national rankings speak for themselves. He has been the Latin coach of the MIT Ballroom Dance Team for over a decade. Visit Armin’s website at: http://www.bostondance.com/

 

Charlotte Jorgensen – Professional Standard Coach

Charlotte Jorgensen was born in Aalborg, Denmark and started dancing at the age of two, with training in ballet, jazz, and modern dance. Charlotte moved to London in the late 1980s, at the time known as the “Mecca” of ballroom dancing. She rapidly progressed through the Amateur ranks, winning titles such as 4-Time Danish Amateur Ballroom Champion, 3-Times Danish Amateur 10-Dance Championship, medalist at the European & World Amateur 10-Dance Championships, and winning the European Amateur Ballroom Championship. Her amateur career culminated in winning the Championship title at the World Amateur Ballroom Championship in 1994.

She turned Professional in 1994 with partner Jens Werner. In her first year as a pro, she won the Professional Rising Star Championship at the prestigious Blackpool Dance Festival in Blackpool, England. In 1997, Jorgensen began competing professionally with Andrew Sinkinson, where their talents flourished. Their partnership culminated in great success when they were ranked 2nd at the World Professional Ballroom Championship in 1999 and were Grand Finalists in all major Grand Slam events throughout their partnership. They were both very successful placing second at many National and World Competitions and becoming finalists of the British Open, UK Open, European Championships, and World Championships.

Moving to the United States in 2001 and having lived in both New York City and Los Angeles, Charlotte now resides in Massachusetts with her family, where she continues to teach all levels of dancers from children through Amateurs and Professionals, choreographing and judging dance events both locally, nationally and internationally. She holds a Professional Danish Dancers’ Association teaching degree and is an Honors Graduate with a teaching and adjudicating license from the World Dance Council. Charlotte is also a board member and official spokesperson for Dance 4 Health – an organization that targets health issues, particularly obesity and diabetes in young kids through teaching Ballroom Dancing and exercise. She has also appeared on the hit television show “Dancing with the Stars”.

During her competitive career, Charlotte was widely considered to be the best female Standard dancer in the world. Today, she is a much sought after coach and adjudicator.
 

Jan Ondrias – Professional Smooth Coach

Born in Ostrava, the city of steel, coal and Latin American Dancing, Jan was naturally drawn in to the world of ballroom. During his studies of Mathematic Analysis and Information Technologies at Mathematical Institute in Opava, he realized that dancing is closer to his heart and went on a path of further exploration of a body movement. Anatomy, Biomechanics, Kinesiology, Sport Psychology, Physiology and other subjects were part of his degree in Sport Management from the Technical University of Ostrava. In 1999, he became a dance teacher and performer at Akcent Ostrava where he added Modern Dance, Jazz, Contact Improvisation, and Gymnastics to his repertoire. Jan also worked for several years at Moravian-Silesian National Theatre where ballet technique improved his understanding of movement dynamics and intention, as well as the importance of methodology in dance education. Jan has been competing throughout Europe and the US, becoming two times Czech Champion in Showdance and achieving 3rd place at the Czech professional Latin American Championship. He was also finalist of the World and European Showdance Championships. Since 2009, he has been successfully competing in the Professional American Smooth division, winning several Rising Star Championships and placing in the finals of Open Championships nationwide.
 
Mark Sheldon and Didi von Deck – Professional Standard Coaches

Mark and Didi have represented the United States at 7 World Championships and at the 2001 World Games. Their titles include: 5-time undefeated US Senior Ballroom Champion; North American Senior Champion; Northeast US Amateur and Senior Champion; Belgian Open Senior Champion; US National Amateur finalist; 3-time British Open (Blackpool) Senior finalist; International Senior finalist; Professional Rising Star finalist. They started teaching ballroom dancing over 20 years ago. Mark and Didi have been coaching the MIT Ballroom Dance Team in Standard style for the last 20 years. In addition to being a dance coach, Mark has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from MIT and is a visiting professor of computer science at the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering. Didi started teaching at the MIT Ballroom Dance Club 25 years ago and has been coaching the MIT Ballroom Dance Team for 14 years, where she and Mark currently coach the syllabus and open levels of Standard. Didi believes that working with a partner to create movement together as an expression of the music is one of the most challenging but satisfying activities to pursue.