Gabriel fell in love with rockabilly music when he first started dancing jive in 2008. Since then, dancing has been about making it smooth, fun and musical.
Having explored different music styles and swing dances over the years, he has developed an open-minded style of dancing and teaching. According to Gabriel, rockabilly jive and vintage dancing are very much alive, evolving and growing through new influences.
Over the years, he has been invited to share his passion at national events such as the Canadian Swing Championships, Jive Fest, Jump ‘n Dance, and many local workshops. As a jive competitor, he has won several awards, either by himself, with partners or for choreography.
Teaching jive full-time at Jive Studio in Montreal as well as managing the school there, he feels lucky and is thrilled to be teaching at Soda Pop Hop two days a week in Toronto.
Drea began swing dancing in 2010, starting with Lindy Hop and Charleston. It didn’t take her long to discover a love for boogie woogie and, although as a kid she always wanted to be a ballerina, she’s more than thrilled to have ended up as Queen of the Hop. She taught at Bees’ Knees Dance and co-founded the original Bees’ Knees rock’n’roll troupe, Rock Sock the Boogie, working with her accomplished dance partner Glen Cameron to create energetic and memorable choreographies.
In 2015, eager to inspire others in this playful dance, Drea founded Soda Pop Hop, Toronto’s first dance studio dedicated to 1950s rock’n’roll. She now delights in teaching boogie woogie, rockabilly jive and the stroll. When she’s not teaching, Drea continues to develop her own dancing, taking on Balboa, tap, ballet and solo jazz. She continues to marvel at just how much dance has changed her life.
Richard took his first dance steps in jazz funk at the age of 7, and he was part of various dance crews for 15 years. In the summer of 2014, he was introduced to rockabilly jive and boogie woogie at Jive Studio in Montreal, drawn by the high energy of rock n roll.
Richard now teaches and dances full-time. In addition to teaching at Jive Studio, he has taught at various dance festivals, including Jump N ‘Dance, Montreal’s Jivefest, and the Canadian Swing Championships.
As a dancer, Richard has won several medals in rockabilly jive and boogie woogie competitions — in Strictly, Showcases and Jack n ‘Jill divisions. Like the dances themselves, he continues to evolve, influenced by several other dance styles. He is also a musician and music teacher. When he is not dancing, he teaches bass and plays in various local bands.
Music, dancing and teaching are Richard’s passions, and he is more than excited to come and share them with Soda Pop Hop!
Born and raised in Osaka, Japan, Sawako was first exposed to Lindy Hop in 2008 in South Korea. In 2013, she moved to Toronto, where she started taking swing dance lessons at Bees’ Knees Dance. After meeting her current partner, Glen, Sawako extended her passion for dance to the high energy rock’n’roll dances: jive and boogie woogie.
Her technical skills – including a strong understanding of both following and leading – as well as her curiosity, dedication and passion were soon recognized by instructors Gabriel and Drea in our very own Soda Pop Hop classes.
Sawako is thrilled to join the Soda Pop Hop team as an Instructor Assistant, so that she can share her open-minded, gender-free, creative and musical approach to partner dancing, and help grow Toronto’s budding rock’n’roll dance community.