At the Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Southbury, we have created a friendly,
no pressure environment in which our students can learn great dance
from world class instructors. Our most important priorities are that
our students have fun while they improve their dance skills.
Fred Astaire took great
pride in a standard of excellence which is still alive and well in our
studio. Our instructors have completed a rigorous training program and
are Certified teachers. We train and promote our students through the
trophy system and have beginners, social dancers, competitors, and
advance level dancers. Our unique qualifications both
in American and International Styles allow any student to progress from a
beginner to any goal they set for themselves in a very short time
We offer Bronze, Silver and Gold level instruction for those who
have taken lessons in the past; and for absolute beginner we have
specially developed Beginner Programs which will have you dancing on
your very first lesson.
Christian Lange likes to joke that he must have been a television emcee in a past life. That’s how much he enjoys being in front of people. Whether he’s teaching a class or working one-on-one with a student, Christian’s engaging personality and naturally entertaining demeanor become an integral part of the learning experience.
Born in Lepizig, Germany, Christian began dancing at the tender age of four and never looked back. Over the years he has won several world-class professional titles including German Ten Dance Championship and North American Rising Star Smooth Champion, and placed as a finalist at several prestigious American Dance Sport Championships. In addition, Christian has guided several of his students to top honors in the competition arena. In 2011 alone, four of them became national pro-am champions.
Christian exhibits the hallmarks of a well-rounded teacher, with specialties in American smooth, Latin Dance and International Ballroom. His talents as a choreographer have helped many students perform at the top of their game both in competition and showcase.
Christian’s versatility extends to emceeing special events, judging professional dance competitions and coaching many of the industry’s leading dance professionals, amateurs and pro-am competitors. A romantic at heart, Christian considers himself a “wedding specialist” and loves creating memorable dances for couples on their big day.
More than anything, Christian strives to create an enjoyable, social environment at Fred Astaire Southbury, where students can come to dance, mingle, meet new people and have an all-around great time.
Paulo Jorge hails from southern Brazil with its brilliant colors and exquisite beaches. Here he developed a lively passion for beauty and culture, and a natural born hospitality, all richly enhanced by his Italian lineage.
As a result, he brings a wealth of talents to the studio. Paulo is a gifted professional photographer and has exhibited his work in many galleries. He also excels at interior design. In designing Fred Astaire Southbury, Paulo has set a new standard for luxury in a dance studio. He has created an atmosphere that embraces elegance yet caters to the students’ every comfort.
Whether he is planning a Friday night dance party, special event or monthly theme, Paulo’s eye for beauty and flair for presentation is evident in every last detail.
In addition, Paulo’s keen business skills, developed when he worked as an executive in bank management, cover the spectrum of administrative abilities and strategic planning, keeping everything running smoothly at the studio.
In true “Brazilian style,” he makes all his visitors feel warm and welcome. Ask anyone who shares a dance with Paulo or engages him in conversation and they will tell you, he makes sure your time at Fred Astaire Southbury is an unforgettably enjoyable experience.
Annie began dancing at the tender age of two, attending classes in Ballet, Jazz, and Tap for 11 years. Her passion for
dance led her to studying and competing Pro-Am in International Latin and
Ballroom Dance for the past 3 ½ years. When she is not teaching, Annie trains with
world class coaches and loves to perform.
currently on the Dean’s list at Naugatuck Valley Community
College, majoring in Dance. Annie has completed and excelled in classes
in the styles of Broadway Jazz, Ballet, Afro-Caribbean Jazz, and Modern Dance. During her time at NVCC she has choreographed
and performed her own original dance routines.
brings enthusiasm and excitement with her to the floor. She is excited to share her love and
passion for Ballroom dance with all of her students.
Jesse started out dancing Lindy Hop and Blues ten years ago and has been at it ever since. He has danced in nearly all parts of the country where he’s competed and placed in national competitions.
Before joining the Fred Astaire family he taught Lindy Hop and Blues in the New England area. When he is not at the studio there is a good chance you will find him on the social dance floor many nights of the week.
It may surprise you to know that Jesse is as comfortable in combat boots as he is in dance shoes. He has been a Combat Medic in the Connecticut Army National Guard for ten years and holds the rank of Staff Sergeant in the 141st Medical Company.
In March of 2012 he won the Army Best Warrior Competition and was named the State Non-Commissioned officer of the Year. He went on to represent Connecticut in the regional competition where he placed very well.
We are proud to have Wolfgang Opitz as one of our regular coaches at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio Southbury. Known for his technique expertise, Wolfgang is one of the most sought after coaches in the world for Professional and Pro/Am dancing. As a “National Coach” in Germany for over 28 years Wolfgang’s personal and professional achievements are unparalleled in their field.
In 1973 he received the World Latin Championship Title and shortly after became the World Show Dance Champion. As a coach Wolfgang trains some of the world’s most renowned professional couples including Oliver and Martina Wessel Therhorn, Slavek Sochaki and Marzena Stachura, Horst and Andrea Beer and Brian Watson and Claudia Leoni. Wolfgang is also the world’s most successful Formation coach with 33 world championship titles to his name.
One of the world’s foremost championship dancers, Julia Mincheva brings a wealth of talent to Fred Astaire Southbury. A native of Russia, Julia began her dance training at five years old and went on to pursue competitive ballroom and Latin dance. She has won several championships throughout Russian and Europe where she performed in Ballroom and Latin programs. In the youth category, she was Moscow Closed Champion in International Standard on several occasions, as well as Ten Dance Champion. Between 2003 and 2005 alone, won seven titles, including: London Open Dance Championships Professional Ballroom Semifinalist; International Championships Professional Rising Star Standard Finalist; Dutch Open Professional Classic Showdance, 2nd place; Dutch Open Professional Ballroom (World Series) Semifinalist; Russian Professional Standard Championships Finalist; Dutch Open Professional Classic Showdance, 3rd place and Grand Prix Open Professional Standard, 3rd place. In the United States, Julia has won numerous regional titles and was World Finalist in Classic Showdance in 2005. With her former partner, Christian Lange, her credits include U.S. Rising Star American Smooth finalist and North American Smooth Champion. She has been teaching since she was 13 and is a nationally certified dance instructor in four styles: Ballroom, Latin, Standard and Rhythm. Julia Mincheva is available for private lessons, coaching, seminars and choreography.
Prince Freddy of Southbury
Meet Freddy, Fred Astaire’s adorable new mascot. He’s a male mix breed of chihuahua and dachshund. Little Freddy was born January 6, 2012, the same day as Fred Astaire Southbury’s first practice party, so we consider it kismet that we found each other.
Adopted from a mobile animal shelter care on Monday, when Hurricane Sandy blew through Connecticut, Freddy considers himself a survivor. But he is also a party animal in the true sense of the word. "I love Southbury and that’s why I’m very excited to be here to play with everyone and enjoy all the dancing," barked Freddy, with those big puppy dog eyes.