About Our Coaches

Armin Kappacher

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/

Christine Harvey

Born in London, Christine began dancing at an early age and has been  dancing, competing, and teaching for the last 45 years. Representing England, Christine was consistently a finalist in all the major European and World Championships. Her competitive career has taken her to many parts of the world and eventually to Massachusetts where she has become one of the most sought after coaches in the area. Christine is a World Class Adjudicator and judges competitions all over the United States. She is also a member of the Fred Astaire National Dance Council. Christine has coached the MIT Ballroom dance Team for many years. She currently teaches the Silver and Gold syllabus levels in the standard style. In her teaching, she concentrates on working the feet and ankles as to create a solid foundation for dance, and she also thinks dancing is all about enjoying and having fun. Email: christineharvey@earthlink.net, Phone: 617-584-7399.

Jan Ondrias

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

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. You can visit their website at: http://www.psrg.lcs.mit.edu/~sheldon/dance/