Interview with Ceth Stifel

Ceth Stifel is a stalwart in the Colorado swing dance scene. He has started teaching regularly in Boulder at the Flatiron Stomp on Monday nights, and also teaches in Denver on Thursdays and Sundays at the Mercury Cafe. This Monday Ceth will be teaching and offering mini privates. We sat down with Ceth to find out more about what makes him tick.

How did you get into swing dancing?

I've been swing dancing for about 17 years. My first lesson was actually at The Mercury Cafe. I was in school at the time and home for the holidays. A couple of friends were visiting me for a snowboarding trip, and they wanted to check out the Merc's staple Sunday night dance & lesson. I went with them, they ended up hating it, and I ended up never looking back!

You’ve been teaching for a number of years now. What are some of the things you love most about teaching?

I love the problem solving inherent in teaching and communication. It's really satisfying to help someone break through a difficult problem they're having. In reality, it's usually just chipping away at the problems, but occasionally you'll see the lightbulb go off, and someone's eyes will light up, and there's nothing better than that.

What are some of your favorite songs or bands to dance to?

I love that we have local artists like Jeremy Mohney and Joe Smith who are doing original arrangements and revitalizing the classics. I love the raw energy of Slim & Slam. Count Basie is King. And non-swing related, I'd say my jam is Fleet Foxes.

Do you have a favorite move?

There's nothing more dynamic and inspiring than a good swing out, but that said, I'm really interested in the more technical arm wraps right now!

You are also an accomplished artist. Tell us about what mediums you work with and what things inspire you.

I trained at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and was doing a lot of printmaking at the time. I did a lot of oil painting, figure drawing, and sketching too. Nowadays if it's not in a notebook, I'm primarily a digital artist. I do plenty of studies of dancers that I admire, but I also love the look of the old retro style video games that I grew up on, and do pixel work in that style. I have pretty eclectic tastes.

* Editors note: You can find some examples of Ceth’s amazing art work at www.cethstifel.com.*

Do you have any other hobbies besides dance?

I love to write and read about writing. I've been getting into yoga and roller skating lately. I play guitar, hula hoop, and work on art. My perfect day would be an assemblage of all these disparate interests, with a heavy emphasis on music, movement, and dance!