Ramona Staffeld is a dancer in every sense of the word.
Her musicality and freedom of expression enable her to connect with a worldwide audience using a language everyone can understand.
Dance . Community . History . Learning . Performance . Creation . Now
Ramona is. CommuNity
In our modern world, we don’t need people like we used to. We have arrived at a time when the individual is celebrated and valued above all else. When making it in the world means independence and going out on our own. So if this is the message we are being fed, then coming together in community to partner dance is a radical act. It is not about consuming or the need for something more than what we already are. It’s the recognition that being together feels good and connecting with others makes us feel whole. It’s getting involved and participating in our own entertainment and recreation. We love it because we make it, we put ourselves into it.
Ramona is a natural leader. She makes dance cool just by enjoying it so much. When Ramona gets out on the floor she is so happy there, it’s the place to be! She leads the way with presence, creativity, and the feeling that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. We are one. Together in our sameness, same in our togetherness.
Ramona is. History
The lindy hop is a black American dance, and Ramona is committed to paying respect and reverence to the original creators and dancers of the art form. She was fortunate enough to learn from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. One of her first teachers was Frankie Manning, who along with other dancers in Harlem, NY, was responsible for shaping and defining the dance. Frankie was the inventor of the air step ( when you throw your partner in the air to the music), and also the main choreographer for Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, the premier lindy hop act of the swing era.
Ramona understands the importance of historical context. Things do not just exist on their own, everything is part of a web of connections. When we copy or imitate the dancers of years past, we might get more by learning about their experiences, and what was going on in society as a whole at that time. Ramona is sensitive and heartfelt, and continues to study and seek further understanding of the forces that shape our world, then and now.
RAMONA IS. Learning
Ramona has been teaching the lindy hop for over 20 years. She is one of the most respected and sought after teachers in the swing dancing world. Her classes are a work of art in themselves. She is grounded in rhythm, and emphasises learning by doing, taking people through movements, out of the head and into the body. Ramona sees technique as a technology to have more fun and be more present in each moment. If anybody is teaching mindfulness through the lindy hop, Ramona is the one doing it. She understands leading by being. It is the messenger that is the message.
Her classes are fun, musical, and challenging. Most importantly, they are based on who is there in the room. She asks questions of her students, treating class as a conversation rather than a monologue. Ramona creates a safe and loving atmosphere, so that her students feel free to both move, and think in news ways.
Ramona is. Performance
Ramona is a natural performer. She shines on stage, and has had a range of performance experience from school shows for kids, street festivals, small cabaret settings, concert halls, and theatres. She has worked as a solo artist and in a full company. She has been directed and the director. She keeps an open mind and is excited to see where she might fit in as a work of art, self expression, and improvisation.
Ramona is. Creation
Ramona is a choreographer, and is experienced in collaboration and site specific work. Ramona is well versed in set choreography to recorded music, but values and emphasises the interactive nature of dancing to live music. Most notably, this relationship was showcased in her work with composer Leigh Barker and tap dancer Grant Swift with the Melbourne Rhythm Project. Swing dance and music are one in the same, the dance is the music, and the music is the dance.
Ramona is. Now
Ramona lives in Melbourne with her husband John, and their son Noah. She enjoys the lifestyle and recognises the richness in all things wonderful here. She is a foodie at heart, and spends a lot of time in the kitchen and sourcing good produce. Her interested are wide and full, she stays open to the world with curiosity and a beginners mind. She might be at the club, or at the art gallery, who knows!