Cleveland Junior Jitterbugs

building skills

An after-school swing dance program teaching more than just dancing









About Us

An after-school swing dance program of Denison Elementary School, Brooklyn Centre, Cleveland
Skills kids take with them wherever they go, whatever they do

The Cleveland Junior Jitterbugs is an after-school program offering a safe structured learning environment for youths from Denison Elementary School in the Brooklyn Centre neighborhood who learn to swing dance. The group is led by professional dancer Valerie Salstrom of Get Hep Swing since 2008.

Dance practice is held in the school terms of Spring and Fall and lead to a group performance of their dance routines. They have performed for audiences at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, The House of Blues and travelled to cities across the country including Washington, DC, San Francisco, CA and Houston, TX and have even been on TV twice!

This program is FREE to the students in the Brooklyn Centre area and is made possible through generous donations from our partner Neighborhood Connections. Classes are on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 3.45-4.45pm and a hearty snack is provided beforehand.

  • where?

    The Gym at Archwood United Church of Christ, 2800 Archwood Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio (near the intersection of Pearl Road and Archwood Avenue)

  • When?

    Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 3.45-4.45pm during school term. If school is cancelled due to bad weather, practice will also be cancelled

  • What do adults need to do?

    Simply drop your kids off at the United Church of Christ at 3.45pm and ensure they make it through the door to the right of the church

  • cost?


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JItterbug is a six-beat partnered dance that evolved from Lindy Hop. It features lots turns and twists which make it such fun. It is a circular dance meaning the lead and follow face each other directly. Some say it is the easiest to learn. It is sometimes referred to as East Coast Swing.
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Lindy Hop

Late 1920s
Lindy Hop originated in Harlem and is known for its fast swingouts and linear direction with an eight-beat count. Lindy Hoppers will often swivel their hips as they move in and out of different steps. It is usually danced at a medium tempo. It is known to be the original form of swing dance before jitterbug came along.
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Balboa is a close body-to-body dance and is known for its tricky footwork. It’s small steps mean that it can be danced at high speed without getting quickly exhausted! Cleveland is actually one of the top cities in America to dance Balboa and holds a Balboa Festival every Summer when people come here from all over the world.
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Early 1920s
The Charleston dance originated in Charleston within the African American community. It is characterized by high energy kicks and foot twists. It can be danced solo similar to jazz dancing, or partnered facing each other, side-by-side and front-to-back. With all the fast music it is hard to keep track of your partner!

Our Team

While Miss Valerie leads the program along with a team of guest dance instructors, helpful parents and members of the community
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Valerie Salstrom

Group Leader and Program Founder
Valerie is one of America’s busiest swing dance teachers. She has won numerous prizes throughout her professional dancing career. She is central to the Cleveland swing dance community teaching and holding events through her company Get Hep Swing. She is passionate about helping kids learn more skills to help them with life.
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Alexis Davila

Junior Instructor and Mentor
Alexis is amazing….
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Cyle Dixon

Junior Instructor and Mentor
Cyle is amazing
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Adam Brozowski

Guest Dance Instructor
Adam Brozowski is a professional choreographer, dancer and director specializing in “Jazz Age” American dance forms. Although based in Seattle Washington, Adam travels the world through this dancing and acting. He is the founder of the Harlem Swings! youth dance project in New York City.
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Peter Strom

Guest Dance Instructor
Peter has taught at dance camps from Australia to South Korea to Sweden since 1998. In addition to teaching and dancing he is a sought after DJ and experienced Master of Ceremonies! He is a member of the Silver Shadows and the founder of Uptown Swing in his hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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Naomi Uyama

Guest Dance Instructor
Naomi discovered lindy hop in her hometown of Washington DC during the ’90s and since then has taught workshops all around the world and performed for dance and music legends alike. She has many medals won at prestigious competitions. She also likes to DJ and sing and lives in Minnesota.


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Get in touch

Archwood United Church of Christ,
2800 Archwood Avenue, Cleveland OH44109