The Kennedy Center

Jean Veloz


Tom Koerner and Debra Sternberg have been dancing Jitterbug and Lindy Hop together since 1987. They began their teaching career with a weekly swing class in 1994; now their swing lessons are taught at nine locations, five nights a week, in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. They teach over 500 people a week and introduce over 4,000 new dancers to swing each year. The most successful promoters of live swing dance music in the nation, they currently offer live music three nights a week, as well as producing numerous special events.

Derived from Charleston and originating in the dance halls and ballrooms of Harlem in the late 1920s and early '30s, Lindy Hop (aka Jitterbug) is truly an American folk dance. An Afro-centric dance with roots in African tribal dances, Lindy Hop and Jitterbug became the dance of America's youth during the big band era of 1935-'45, and maintained it's popularity as America's swing dance through the rock and roll era of the 1950s. Through their various events--including classes, dances, supporting live swing music, and special dance events featuring teaching and performance by historical as well as contemporary swing dance stars--Tom and Debra work hard to keep swing dancing alive and flourishing.

Tom and Debra are honored to have been chosen by the Smithsonian Institute as their swing dance instructors and performers at the National World War II Memorial Celebration on the National Mall in Washington, DC, May 2004. Their dance team, the Eight Week Wonders, was profiled in the cover story of the Washington Post Sunday Magazine in January 2006.

Tom and Debra are the 1994 United Kingdom Lindy Hop–Air Steps Division champions, and 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2002 and 2003 Virginia State Open Lindy Hop champions, as well as Jitterbug champs for many of those same years. In November 2010, they were inducted into the National Living Legends Hall of Fame

Watch Past Performances

Video 11/28/2013: Thanksgiving Day Swing Dance Party

This festive program features dancing and music by the Tom Cunningham Orchestra with special guest Jean Veloz. Vintage and military dress encouraged—but not required. Free swing dance lessons begin at 6 p.m., followed by a free, evening-long dance party from 7 to 9 p.m.

Jean Veloz