Student Testimonials

October 2017 - West Coast Swing Class in Norwalk

Hi Erik,

It was great meeting you last night, Elia and I had a blast in your class! You definitely have a rare gift as a teacher, you explain everything very well but manage to keep everyone energized and entertained throughout the class. We signed up online for class cards and we're looking forward to next week's class. The atmosphere and student interactions were amazing to watch, I'm sure it took years to build up that level of camaraderie amongst the students, but it's obvious that you're the focal point that made it all happen :)

Paul and Elia Clapis

April 2013 - West Coast Swing Beginner Videos viewed from Italy

Hi Anna and Erik, I am writing from Genoa, Italy.

I 'm 40 years old and dancing Salsa since 5-6 years. I recently felt in love with West Coast Swing together with a
girl dancing with me every week at our Salsa class. Unfortunately, here in Italy the West Coast
Swing is still not so popular , so we decided to learn something by ourselves. We did use your youtube videos to start
this beautiful dance (from WCS 01 to WCS 10).  From all videos we have seen on the internet , yours are the best !!
The most comprehensive and easy to follow for us , beginners of West Coast. Also, even if you are professionals, you look like two very simple persons with such a dedication for teaching !!

I wanted to ask if, beside the youtube videos, is there any other material available to continue learning this wonderful
dance from you ? Very strange that while living in Italy .... we learn the west coast in Connecticut , but this is the
magic of the Internet!

From ITALY a big THANK YOU for the passion you put into what you teach !!,

March 2013 - Platinum Party in NYC

I really appreciate that a dancer of your level takes the time to dance with a beginner like me.  It's truly a highlight of coming to your socials.  You make it a fun and friendly environment.  It's really nice to be able to relax and dance with such good dancers without being judged or looked down on for being a newbie to the scene.

March 2013 - MADjam Workshops

I just wanted to mention what a joy it has been to see you over the years and attend your workshops.  Madjam was no exception.  You remain at the top of my list for leading the most effective (as well as entertaining) group workshops. 

Thank you – Brandon Diamond

February 2013 - Western CT Outdoor Adventurer Group Dance Party

What a memorable night!!! First, thank you to all of YOU that ventured out on a very dismal evening to make it to the dance... it would have just been a big beautiful room without ALL of you!!! ...A big thank you to all the guys who had the GUTS to get on the dance floor... I was very impressed!!! Thank you to all my friends in the dance community for coming, especially many from the Hartford area!!! Last but not least... THANK YOU to Erik and Anna for their excellent energy, lesson, demo and awesome music!!! I have received so many positive comments and so many people asking... "So when are we doing it again???"... Thank you again...!!! Sincerely, John

November 2012 - SwingShoes Group at Swingin New England

Just a little note to tell you I had an incredible time this past weekend at the Swingin' New was AWESOME!!! Can't wait to go back next year! (I still have the gray bracelet
And thank you for organizing the dinner on Saturday night, besides the delicious food we had so much fun, I feel privileged to be part of such a wonderful group.
I also wanted to tell you I feel very lucky to be part of your class, you are amazing teachers and you make it so much fun to learn. I was never exposed to West Coast Swing and from the very first class at your studio in Norwalk, I fell in love with it...You are my inspiration...THANK YOU!


November 2012 - SwingShoes Group at Swingin New England

I want to thank you for making me feel so included and welcomed. I feel so happy to have found new and interesting friends in you two.

Being new to the WCS dance seen being included in your group [at Swingin New England] gave me so much comfort and warmth. You have a wonderful ability to create a warm upbeat energy in your group. From your table favors, cheering, photography, good spirits - it is a real joy to see you set a leading example of how to create positive group feeling for friends and students. You both have a wonderful talent. I am so lucky to be included.


September 2012 - West Coast Swing workshops at Dance Gourmet in Hartford, CT

I am so glad it was Erik & Anna doing WCS workshops and enjoyed their detailed explanation of how hustle and WCS actually have movements that can be 'transposed' from one dance to the other, even though at first look the dances seem so different. I had wondered about that and the engineer in me likes knowing what the artist in me already 'felt'.  :-)   And since you had such a wide range of WCS skill levels attending, I thought they walked that fine line of keeping all engaged without losing those at either end of the skill spectrum.  

Mindy Carter

August 2012 - Hustle Weekly Classes in Norwalk, CT

You and your wife are wonderful dancers! It's hard not to watch you when you're dancing, and you're an excellent teacher. I had a nice time last week and having food made the event even nicer. Thank you...You two are the best hustle dancers I've ever seen.


August 2012 - West Coast Swing workshop at Swing Fling in Herdon, VA

It was such a pleasure to read your account if Swing Fling from drive to finish.  Your perspective on your students and your dances and dancing is refreshing... I was lucky to be able to attend your workshop.  I enjoyed it immensely and found your humor along with your attention to detail allowed me to ask questions and to learn without becoming frustrated. I found the "micro" teaching most helpful! How to dance, the execution, far outweighs learning a 6 part pattern you can only execute at the workshop!

In closing, I would like to add your love for your students comes through in this piece, on your website, on the sidelines and on the floor.  I wish other teachers would take cues from you...taking pics, having the table, rooting from the sidelines, the performance group, posting accomplishments as well as efforts which do not result in placements is heartwarming.  As an educater and former cheerleading, cheer dance coach this is really what being a Top Teacher is all about, not how many students you bring to comps!  Kudos to you both, Erik and Anna, the extra time you put into showing your hearts, your truth and vulnerability is priceless!

C u both on the floor!

April 2012 - West Coast Swing private lesson in MA

I wanted to thank you for the great private lesson. One can never have enough fundamentals. ...I had the pleasure of dancing with a wonderful, experienced dancer. He offered a free spin and I went with it – all the way, third position – first position – third position, upper body completely relaxed, and I stuck it (I stopped on a dime), and when I pulled back for my “6,”  he exclaimed, “NIIIIICE!!” So, I have you to thank for that wonderful moment of connection and joy.

March 2012 - West Coast Swing & Hustle student from Norwalk, CT

If I've never said it.........Thank you for dancing with me (and all your students) there's no better way to get a feel for this dance than to be challenged by dancing with a pro!! Yes it makes me realize how much I don't know, but also gives me the opportunity to practice what I have learned and attempt to be "musical" instead of just doing the steps.

Februray 2012 - West Coast Swing Workshops at The Alvin Ailey Extension in New York, NY

Thank you, Erik and Anna Novoa for a great night of dancing at the Alvin Ailey Extension! It was my husband's first experience ever with any dancing at all... and we both had a great time!!!

July 2011 - WCSwing Workshops at Hudson Valley Community Dance in Poughkeepsie, NY

Your workshop reawakened my taste for West Coast Swing. You were both terrific and I have written to the event director to say "best workshop ever". I do hope to see back in Poughkeepsie for another round of the "other" swing.

June 2011 - Stardust Dance Weekend in the Catskills, NY

[email to the event director] I wanted to take a minute to commend you on hiring Erik and Anna. They were by far the best workshop experience I can remember at any dance event. Not just because I actually GOT what they were teaching but because they have such great personality.  In a funny irreverent way, Erik communicated very valuable human relations aspect of dancing. For young people they really bring a lot to the table. I hope you'll have them at every event.

November 2010 - WCSwing Workshops at Swingin New England in Newton, MA

Thank you so much. I must say, I really enjoyed your class last weekend.
-Thank You Ron Lussier

Thank you for taking the time in helping me appreciate West Coast Swing
- Sincerely, Christopher Rivera

October 2010 - WCSwing Intensive at Oberlin College, OH

Hey Erik,

Just wanted to thank you again for the workshop. I cannot stress to you enough how much your lessons helped me. I think if I can make what you taught in class natural, I'll be at a whole new level of dancing.
Hope to see you again soon!

September 2010 - Hustle & WCSwing Workshops in Kingston, NY

Thank you Erik and Anna. I very much enjoyed and appreciated your Kingston workshops. I look forward to seeing you both again. Maybe I'll make a trip to CT sometime. It is a bit of trip ... since I live in the part of NY near PA.

Thanks again,

June 2009 - West Coast Swing Musicality Workshop in Newport, RI

Erik and Anna,

I wanted to tell what a great time I had at the workshop last Sunday. I'm new to West Coast Swing (and the Hustle) but I dance a lot of Texas Two-Step...Anyway, I loved your explanation of the intro, verse, and chorus.  Your choice of music really helped make it clear where all of the transitions are. And you actually taught a dance piece that showed how to use the music to make the dance more fun.

I loved watching the two of you dance. It is really amazing. I hope to take another workshop with you guys.

Take Care,

March 2009 - MADjam Hustle Workshop in Vienna, VA

Hi there - I just wanted to send you and Anna a quick thank you note for the Hustle without Muscle workshop taught at MADJam last weekend.  What you guys taught regarding winding up the hips resulted in a noticeable difference in how much more easily I was able to move around when I danced that night (and since).  I am always amazed by how the little things make such a tremendous difference.

I have to admit that I feel spoiled now that I've experienced hustle where I'm not yanked back and forth by the leader.  Any suggestions for protecting myself (and more importantly my arm) from such strong leads?

Many thanks, and I hope to take a class with you guys at MADJam next year!

January 2009 - WCSwing at Danse Elite in Mamaroneck, NY

HI Erik,
I have a sixteen year old son and when I returned home we decided to have some late nite pancakes together. He is very astute and I saw a look on his face like ‘what are you doing?’ and I realized that I was flipping pancakes and singing ‘one, two, threee and four, fiiive and six...’  A delightful evening.  You are a terrific impresario.
See you soon
All the best,

September 2008 - WCSwing at Longfellows in MA

Thanks for the classes and dances at Longfellow Club.  You are a great teacher and a pleasure to dance with.

Looking forward to your return.

By the way, Anna is a sweetheart - and a great teacher too.
Karen Leeds

September 2008 - NY Hustle Congress Feedback on Students

Hi, Erik:
At most, I think we were introduced at the New York Hustle Congress.  In Charlotte, NC, I'm learning from Marie Izzo, who used to teach with Lori Brizzi, back in the day.  The NYHC was my first time socially dancing hustle with people I hadn't met before.

I spent a chunk of the weekend hanging out with Renee, Lisa and Megan.  I want to compliment you on their dancing and their styling.  Granted, I'm pretty new to hustle (so what do I really know?), but I told Lisa that dancing with her felt to me like dancing with Hazel Ulrich: The way she moved and styled, and her facial expression--and I think her hair style didn't hurt, either--made me think of videos of Hazel.

Anyway, the point is that I had a great time dancing with all three of them, their styling is hot, they're great followers & students, and I can tell that they really enjoy social dancing in the same ways that I do.

Keep it up and cheers!

June 2008 - WCSwing / Hustle Fest

Thank you Erik & Anna,
This past weekend was wonderful.  We had a great time.  The instructors and instruction were fantastic.  We learned "TOO MUCH" stuff.  It was a great weekend that we plan on attending NEXT YEAR!!!
Anna 's idea for the Jack & Jill with professional instructors was really a great idea.  It was even better because Kathy and I both won a 15 minute private lesson. Do it again.
We just wanted to write you to let you know your many efforts were appreciated. 

Tahnk you again,
Tom and Kathy Morrow

May 2008 - WCSwing Weekly Class in Stamford, CT

Dear Erik,
I'm writing to say how good the musicality classes were.  I've done a couple in recent years but yours were the best - emphasizing how to really listen and analyze the music.  Loved Beethoven yesterday.  I also see how you listen over and over to study and learn pieces.  I learned a lot and hope you repeat it soon.


March 2008 - Platinum WCS & Hustle Party in NYC

I just wanted to let you know that the party last Friday was a blast.  I was one of the people from Texas and the party really made my trip to New York.  I just wished we could have found some place to dance on Saturday night.  Anyway, I wanted to thank you for making us feel very welcomed and a part of your group.  Everyone was very friendly and did not let us sit long! :)
The next time I am in NYC, I will definitely look you guys up. 

I hope you have a great event in May!  Thanks again,
Dina Nimmo
from Texas

November 2007 - Hustle Weekly Class in Westport, CT

Hi Erik,
A quick but very sincere thanks for the good evening I had with your Hustle group Tues night.  It is great to know that when I visit my family I can also have a little "time out" for myself doing what I love.....dancing!
You are very cordial and I look forward to my next visit.


October 2007 - WCS "Spins & Turns" Workshops at Longfellows in MA

Hi Erik,

The classes were great last night. You gave us a great deal of information and practice exercises.  I think your instruction is top notch and with your ballet background your really complete the WCS dance picture.


October 2007 - West Coast Swing & Hustle Weekly Classes in CT

"Megan is high as a kite after her lesson too.  You've changed her life!!"

December 2006 - WCS "A-Z" Workshops at You Should Be Dancing in NYC

Dear Erik,
Did not get a chance to thank you for your good humor, patience, ability to convey info and of course stamina.  One of the best workshops I have taken in 16 yrs.

October 2006 - Workshops at Baltimore Swing Lounge, MD

Hi Erik.  Man you were exactly what we needed in our WCS.   Amy and I have enjoyed that dance so much in the last few months and we have had a desire to get better at it.  We have taken several group lessons on WCS and have been having more an more fun at it but your lesson just made everything click and we finally "feel" that dance and have so much fun with it.

You are an awesome teacher Erik and I was very glad to be able to participate.


June 2006 - Student's Weight Loss

This past New Year, I was overweight and out of shape, with pain and stiffness in my shoulders, and little energy or motivation.  In mid-January, Susan Chenn emailed me about Erik's WCS classes at Al's in Fairfield.  Since that time, I've gone as much as I could, averaging at least 2 nights of dancing a week. In just 5 months, I've lost 11 pounds, dropped 2 waist sizes, and am in my best health in years. I've made some great new friends, and I'm having a blast.

Sure, the gym is cheaper, and you can exercise at home for free.  That may work for some.  I always seem to find excuses and distractions. I find exercise  boring, unless it's with someone I like and we're dressed inappropriately.

One word of caution; dancing isn't exercise.  Sure, you may begin to look and feel more attractive, and your clothes may no longer fit.   But you will also meet new people.  You may even witness or experience loss of inhibitions, silliness, flirting,  laughing, touching, intimacy, close relationships, and fun parties.  Your non-dance friends and family may accuse you of acting like a teenager.  You may enjoy yourself.

But that's only my experience, don't take my word for it.  Do it and find out for yourself.


June 2006 - Web Site Videos


I am so glad that I found your site. I have been struggling with West Coast for about a year and a couple of months. I have the basic down, but just couldn’t get the whip. I watched your whip video with my girlfriend (who has been dancing several years) and after about 10 minutes; I had the whip down like I had been doing it for years. The confidence this progression has given me has been remarkable. I like your style of teaching, you make it understandable.

By the way, I have been taking private lessons and could only do a few moves, anything that stayed in the slot worked, but I couldn’t do much more than a left and right side pass. Now West Coast is making sense and I can’t wait to learn more.

Ken Hardy

July 2005 - Providence Jack and Jill Dance Challenge

Hi Erik,

Just a note to let you know how much I enjoyed your sense of humor as emcee at Jennifer Lyons weekend. There is nothing like new York humor and I miss it, Having grown up in New York. You had me in stitches. You are a delightful man and an out of sight dancer. Anytime I have taken a workshop with you it has been nothing short of fabulous. Your creatvity as a dancer is amazing. Also I was fortunate to have a dance with you at the end of the evening....of course it was sensational, even for a beginner like me. 

Thank you again for the many laughs.


September 2004 - Stardust at the Nevele

Erik & Laura,
This was the best class [Stardust in the Nevele] I attended all weekend.


I was at your Hustle B class at Startdust, you guys were great instructors, I went to your website, I thought it was one of the best. 


Hi Erik and Laura,
Thanks for the great lessons at the Nevele this last weekend and your E-mail. Hope to see you in Boston soon.

Mitchell Lustig

January 2004


The Hustle Samba pattern you sent out over the internet has made the difference between not really remembering the workshop and actually using the pattern out dancing (with Faye). It's a "leading edge" gift to give to people who take your workshops and I, for one, appreciate it very much. 

I will be requesting a private with you each time your and Erik are at an event that I attend, and will be using my video camera to record all the details so I can continually review all the tons of detail information you pass on during the hour long private. That pattern you taught me at the end of my private in Danvers, of pull to shadow, follower wrap and unwrap, leader crossover is more than I could remember even though I thought it was an awesome pattern, so next time I'll be camera-armed and ready!

Thanks again for you and Erik sharing your love of dance,

November 2003

Hi Laura and Erik:

I've been taking your lessons at CC and Rockaway and you guys always do a
great job. I like your choice of steps and the way you break it down. Thanks
for the videos.

Ruth Lipnick

November 2003

Erik and Laura:

I just wanted to say thank you for putting together the video notebooks! My friends and I frequently get together to practice the moves we have learned recently and this will really help us.

I will definitely be back for both of your December workshops at the Colorado Cafe.

One final thing: it really meant a lot to me to see you write "please grab us for a dance" on your web page. I've never really thought of asking an instructor to dance before. I guess I was too intimidated, or figured you would say "no", or something like that. I think it is just great that you are willing to dance with your workshop students after the class - and I will definitely take you up on the offer!

Thanks again!

Laura Lombardo

September  2003

Dear Erik,

You know that if it wasn't for you, my children and I would not be enjoying West Coast Swing today.  Before you in Dancesport, I had a few WCS classes but did not see the fun in the dance.  You made the class interesting, made us perform, and made us go to places like Iguana and Summer Hummer.  If we did not go out to watch others and the top dancers dance, we would never have known how much fun WCS can be.  We have you to thank.  We are the lucky ones having had you taught us the basics and introduced us to the fun of WCS.

See you Friday,

March 2003 - Workshops at the Rhythm Room

Erik and Laura,

hi! I've been meaning to write you a quick note and tell you how phenomenal the workshops were at the RR [Rhythm Room]. i know you've heard it before but you're going to hear it again. exciting movements, clarity and knowledge in explanations, anatomical positions, syncopations, insights, hindsights and none of it would be worth a hill of beans if the dynamic, professional, comfort between the 2 of you weren't present. and then we got to experience the 2 of you, et al, out in the real world on the dance floor at black eyed sally's. well, no hypocrisy here, folks. thank you again from the sole of my happy feet to the soul of my endless passions.

See you in Boston,
Cathy Race

October 2002

Dear [Colorado Café]

Just a little note to say how much my partner and I enjoyed Erik and Laura's lesson on Sunday. I'm an instructor as well and have taken lessons with a variety of different teachers but they are by far the best. Their personality and knowledge were top notch. I guess that is why they are champions. Hope to see them again soon at the Colorado Cafe.

Donna Troyer

October 2002

…. i so enjoy your classes. you're very funny, and you add an extra dimension to doing something that would have been fun anyway, but is now just that extra bit exciting. you add a nice social atmosphere that i find lacking in some of the other classes - just making sure the way you do that we find out each other's names is a small thing that goes so far!…..



Hi Erik,

It was great meeting you last night, Elia and I had a blast in your class! You definitely have a rare gift as a teacher, you explain everything very well but manage to keep everyone energized and entertained throughout the class. We signed up online for class cards and we're looking forward to next week's class. The atmosphere and student interactions were amazing to watch, I'm sure it took years to build up that level of camaraderie amongst the students, but it's obvious that you're the focal point that made it all happen :)

Paul and Elia Clapis