It was never Stina Dallons’ intention to become a professional swing dance instructor. Fifteen years ago she moved to New York City to pursue a career as an actress. Stina was a musical theatre performer with a background in tap and had come to The Big Apple to chase a dream.
Fifteen years ago inclusivity in the theatre world was not where it is today. “I remember when I first moved here I went to see Wicked the musical,” Stina recalls. “In the whole cast, there was one Asian. I’m Asian, and there was only one Asian on stage. I remember thinking: welp, that’s my role.”
Despite talent, grit, and drive Stina had difficulty landing parts, so she turned to swing dance as a fun release. “I don’t have to think about it beforehand, just react, which is kinda like acting because acting is reacting.”
Years later when Stina came in contact with her first swing performance group she knew she wanted on the team.
“I basically pushed my way on. I like to do things and ask for permission later. I’m a performer; I want to perform. I was tired of waiting around for some casting director to cast me in something, so I got on that team and started performing and then convinced my dance studio to hire me.”
Stina likes to do things. Her friends will tell you that Stina’s biggest fear is sitting still. Because of this, none of them were surprised when she decided to start an online class soon after the pandemic was announced. “Doing it three times a week is very on brand for me,” Stina says, “I always need multiple things going on because otherwise I feel like I’m not doing enough.”
Due to COVID-19, her studio classes were all canceled so now she hosts Solo Jazz with Stina, a one-hour donation-based Facebook Live class every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 7PM EST.
“Just because you’re here COVID, just because you’ve ruined everything doesn’t mean that you’re going to take every last thing from me,” Stina says defiantly. Dance has helped Stina through tough times. When things in her life have felt beyond her control, dance has always given her something to feel in control of.
“Swing is a joyous dance. Just putting on swing music and listening to it can really bring you out of something bad.”
Want to know what else is joyous? The money Stina receives for her online dance classes gets donated to various charities and the YSBD Dance Center. Some also goes to tipping the band for the music played during class.
Until the pandemic regulations are lifted you can tune into Stina’s Facebook page every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 7PM EST for an hour of live solo jazz instruction and a shot of sunshine from Stina.
Stina’s Must-Have Dance Tools:
1. Foam Roller – Rolling out certain tough areas on your body is helpful.
2. Body Length Mirror – I cannot tell you how many people will not use mirrors. I think it’s partly because a lot of swing dancers (myself included) come from a place where we weren’t necessarily accepted so we don’t want to look at ourselves. But if you can look in the mirror and see “oh yeah, my weight is in my heels” or “oh my I look like I’m taking a poop” it helps you so much.