D.C. Hand Dance Club
Metropolitan Washington DC Hand Dance Preservation Society
Hotline: (301) 460-0800 Email: dchanddancers@dchanddanceclub.net


Meet Our Instructors
Betty Bunch Garcia
Betty graduated from Burdick High School in Northwest D. C.  She did Fast Dancing at the CYO parties and in her best friend’s basement. She continued to develop her dancing through ballet, jazz, tap, and ballroom coaching.  Betty began her teaching career in 1985 at Arthur Murray Dance Studios. She taught at Classic Step Dance Studios, That’s Dancing Ballroom and Dancesport Center, and for Anne Arundel and Howard County Parks & Recreation. Betty earned her certification from the National Dance Council of America (NDCA), Fred Astaire Dance Council (FANDA), and Louise Pyles for Hand Dancing.  She has taught private and group lessons, done choreography for shows, competed, in addition to training individuals to become ballroom teachers.

In 1999 she joined the D. C. Hand Dance Club and started hand dancing regularly.  In 2002, Betty took training with Louise Pyles (her mentor) for 5 months and started teaching many of her ballroom student’s hand dancing.  She started substitute teaching hand dancing for Louise and has taught for the D. C. Hand Dance Club.  Betty and Louise Pyles are presently working with the D. C. Hand Dance Club in training and certifying individuals to become hand dance instructors. For lessons, please contact Betty at tobetg2@comcast.net  or 301-793-8311.
Louise Pyles
Louise graduated from Towson State University and taught physical education in the Maryland Public School System for 10 years.  She has been teaching Ballroom, D. C. Hand Dance and Line Dancing in the D. C. Metropolitan area for over 40 years.  Louise works with a variety of groups including the mentally and physically challenged and teaches senior citizens Social and Line Dancing.

Louise began Hand Dancing at age 12 at Lackey Jr./Sr. High School and has been actively teaching it since 1992.  She is one of the founders of the D. C. Hand Dance Club and was inducted into the National Boppers Hall of Fame in August 2000 for her teaching and preservation of D. C. Hand Dancing.  Louise has been a certified dance instructor for the D. C. Hand Dance Club since its beginning. She teaches dancing at various locations and in her studio in Baden,MD, where she gives group and private lessons.  A commercial instructional video of Hand Dancing is available upon request. Contact Louise by email at louisepyles@hotmail.com or by phone at 301-579-9486.
Diane and Phil Engstrom
Diane and Phil are members of our D.C. Hand Dance Club (DCHDC)-Ocean City, Maryland, venue.   They met in 2003 and were recently married. Diane was born in Washington, DC.  She attended Holy Name Elementary School in DC, went on to Immaculate Conception Academy, and graduated from DuVall H.S. in Lanham, MD.  Diane attended the College Park Beauty Academy, and during the ensuing 45-plus years has worked in various shops and has owned three different shops on her own.  Diane has two children, five grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.  She is ably qualified to teach hand dancing as she began dancing at age of 12 in the C.Y.O. circuit.  She also attended firehouse dances, and then the famous Milt Grant Show on TV.  Diane won dance contests through the years, and continued dancing in various adult dance venues. Phil was born in Gary, Indiana, and, soon after, his family moved to Wheaton, MD.  He was schooled in Montgomery County, beginning at Rocking Horse Elementary then on to Newport, Jr. H.S., and finally Wheaton H.S.  Phil has two children and two grandchildren.  He has worked in the automobile business for 41 years.  He began his dancing journey at teen clubs and firehouses in Montgomery County Maryland.  Phil also attended the Milt Grant Show and won the finals in one of their dance contests.  He also continued dancing in various adult dance venues.  Diane continues to teach at the Delmarva Hand Dance Club while Phil is recovering from a stroke.
Sondra Riley
Sondra grew up in Annapolis, MD, and graduated from St. Mary’s High School.  She married her high school sweetheart, Joe Riley, and they reside in the water community of Turkey Point, Edgewater, MD.  They raised a son and a daughter; whose families also reside in Edgewater. Sondra was first introduced to hand dancing by her husband, Joe.  After raising a family and the kids went off to college, she was looking for something to occupy her time.  Because of her love of dancing, she began taking country dance lessons and then moved on to ballroom style, competing in both arenas.  Sondra discovered the DC Hand Dance Club when a friend invited her to the Szechuan Inn.  She found the dance style easy to learn and enjoyed meeting club members.  She then completed the required six-week instructor course and became a certified DC Hand Dance Club instructor in August 2010. If you are interested in taking lessons, please e-mail her at sonjriley@aol.com or call her at 410-353-0465.
Pam Vann
Pam was born in New Jersey, midway between Philadelphia and NYC.  Pam and her husband, Lee, live in Edgewater, MD. After college, Pam began her career as a personnel recruiter.  She moved to the DC area in the 70’s where she opened her own recruiting firm, affording her more time to also pursue her hobby of showing horses and dog training.  She began dancing during her teen years and has been dancing ever since.  Pam was elected club President in 2009 and is presently serving as 2nd Vice President.  Her love of dancing and longtime membership and involvement in the D.C. Hand Dance Club inspired her to complete the required course to become a certified DCHDC instructor.  Pam can be reached at: 410-956-2739 or e-mail her at: vann24@verizon.net.
Jerry Hart
Jerry was born in Washington, DC, grew up in Falls Church, VA, and has lived in Greenbelt, MD, for the past 42 years. He began hand dancing at age 13. Jerry danced at CYO/CYC teen clubs, community centers, country clubs, skating rinks, many other high schools, Glen Echo and Milt Grant's Record Hop. After high school he danced off base and all up and down the East Coast while in the Navy from 1960 - 1964. Jerry states that his best dance venue was Our Place Teen Club, 1954 -1968.

His first DCHDC event was in 1995 at the Greenbelt American Legion. Bonnie Torgenson was the instructor, and he danced with his now mentor, Louise Pyles. Jerry said he began to get the urge to teach our dance style at the 94th Aero Squadron and the Riverdale Elks. He has four college degrees and has taught for his community - CPR and springboard diving, physical education, health and nutrition at three local colleges, and various personal training and health courses for several fitness and health organizations. Jerry wishes to thank Louise Pyles and Betty Garcia for their patience and encouragement during the six-week instructor course to become a certified DCHDC instructor.

Contact information: jerryh375@gmail.com, 301-345-1681 (home), 240-338-4294 (cell).
Eddie O'Reilly
Eddie had been a working musician in the Washington area since junior high school.  Somehow, I found my way to Coconuts and began taking D. C. Hand Dance lessons. As luck would have it my instructor was Louise Pyles.   She became my good friend and mentor. I started teaching on my own at Spurs in Waldorf, MD. As Hand Dancing became more popular and grew, I also taught in more clubs.  I began Instructing Hand Dance for Anne Arundel and Prince George's Community Colleges.  I also taught Ballroom and Country dancing for AACC. For years I have been a Carolina Shag Instructor for the Northern Virginia Shag Club. I appreciate all the hard work and dedication of our club officers. Hand Dancing would not have grown without it.  I am assisted by Pam Lanouette and Diane Michael.    I am a member of the National Fastdance Association's National Boppers Hall of Fame in Jacksonville, Fla. I am also a Certified Regular DJ for the Association of Beach and Shag Club DJ's Association. E-mail address is: smoothnez@gmail.com and phone number is: 301-300-9241.
Joyce Mehl
Joyce is a DC native who grew up in Southeast, Washington, attending Ketchem Elementary, Kramer Junior High, and Anacostia High Schools, graduating in 1961.  My every free moment was spent dancing whenever and wherever I could. Still being that avid dancer, I wanted to find a way to share my love of the D.C.-style of dancing with others.  That's when, through the Club, I contacted Bonnie Richardson-Jordan (one of the original founders of the DCHDC and the originator of the DCHDC instructor syllabus), who also calls Florida home.  Through Bonnie's mentoring and instruction, I achieved the DCHDC instructor certification.  I currently teach at the Senior Center in Lake Mary, FL (45 min. northeast of Disney world), as well as privately, and reside in nearby Sorrento. benny8318@mypacks.net