Staff

View the profiles of our valued staff right here.

Anna Ocello
Anna Ocello : Principal Director

Anna Ocello

Principal Director

Anna Ocello is the founding member of Blue Suede Shoes Dance School established in 1992 and now in its 23rd successful year. Her first studio was opened in 1992 at Ashlar Golf Club in the Blacktown District of Western Sydney. She began with teaching RocknRoll, Latin and Social Ballroom classes, specialising in teaching children from beginner through to competition levels.

Anna commenced dancing in Parramatta with the Amercian Franchise Group "Fred Astaire Dance Studio". The passion and obsession developed as a student brought her to continue at a more serious level with the view to teach others. Her studies continued at Alex Schembri's Dance Studio at West Ryde where Anna received her first qualification in Ballroom with the FATD (Federal Australian Teachers of Dance) at Associate Level.

Anna developed a love for RocknRoll and Swing and studied the style relentlessly. Anna's skills were derived from private lessons, workshops, competitions, and researching videos and books. Joining the SATD (Society of Teachers of Dancing) and receiving her second qualification in RocknRoll at Associate Level brought her to another organisation The Australian RocknRoll Dance Council Inc. (ARRDC).

This organisation held competitions at all levels and held titles from National, Australasians, South Pacific’s, Festival days, etc. Blue Suedes Shoes Dance School excelled in the competition circuit and developed many champions at all levels, especially in the juvenile to youth area.

Numerous titles were won by Anna and her son in the Mother & Son events and Professional with Under 16yo. Anna has been grateful for the success during those competition years simply for the fact that Anna can see her rewards now with the same juvenile and youths (who today are adults) pursuing a dance career.

Later becoming a member of the ARRDC and secretary of the Board (NSW) Anna has also developed a training program to help trainee teachers in their chosen field to improve and enhance their skills for a successful career in dance. The program is based on regular privates & workshops in theory and practice.

Anna's priority still lies with the dancing first and foremost.  The studio has expanded and now covers a vast section of Sydney, from the inner west Concord to Emu Plains, Plumpton and Camden and the Central Coast and in 2014 I teach started a new venue in the Newcastle area of Stockton.  Anna first began to teach ballroom and still provides 4 week short course in this style.  In the early 1990’s it was Rockabilly and RocknRoll that changed her course and still continues to do so to this day but now also specialises in all styles of Swing, Lindy Hop and West Coast & Charleston.  More recently added Balboa, Collegiate Shag, and St Louis.

Justin Di Paola
Justin Di Paola : Manager

Justin Di Paola

Manager

Career Achievements - 1996 - 1999 Holds Australasian Titles  for the following dance styles:

  • Open Freestyle
  • Open Slow Swing
  • Open 1940's Jitterbug
  • Open 50s Style Rock and Roll
  • Open Invitational Rock and Roll

Team Events · Winner of Marrickville RocknRoll Competition 2004 · Head Choreographer Swing  Katz · Manager Blue Suede Shoes Dance School · Dance  Instructor Justin has been dancing ever since he could walk! He has won Juvenile, Junior and Youth titles and continued winning as an adult. His 'rubber legs' quality allows him to perform spectacular stunts on the dance floor.   Justin's passion for dancing and keeping the original form of RocknRoll and Swing dancing alive continues with his teaching career.  His flair is speed and styling along with his fancy footwork.  You can now learn with Justin at his Sydney venues in Concord and Emu Plains. Justin also teaches for Blue Suede Shoes Dance School at the The Entrance and Woodcroft Venues.   A side kick from teaching Justin is  co-founder and head choreographer of the  professional dance troupe “The  Sydney Swing Katz”. The troupe is available for corporate gigs. wedding functions and festivals. The group is in its  tenth year and very high Sydney profile  and popular with a  mammoth 84 gisg in 2012.  Justin has expanded the Swing Katz to include the Canberra region. Justin is also in partnership with James Star forming their own DJ services now and are knows as “DJ Dipsta”.     Additional titles held:  City of Sydney Championships, NSW State Titles, Australasian RocknRoll Championships, The South Pacific Championships, The Southern Cross Rock 'n' Roll Championships,  Crown Casino Rock 'n' Roll Championships in Melbourne and The South Australian Rock 'n' Roll Championships. • 1996 Winner of Perpetual Trophy for Best Juniors at NSW State Titles • 1996 Certificate received from Local Member of Parliament John Aquilina for achievements attained at the South Pacific Rock n Roll Dance Championships • 1997 Nominated for Australia Day Youth Awards in Junior Category for Dance • 1998 Winner of The Blacktown City Sportsperson Awards for Dance Category • February 2000 Commenced performing for Australian Swing Band "Swing City" • June 2000 Runner up in The Australian Ballroom Championships - Rock 'n' Roll and Jitterbug category • October 2001 Won Australian South East Rock & Roll Senior Championships in Victoria • Oct & Nov 2001 Finalist in the top 3 for Rock and Roll and Jitterbug categories at the 'Best of the Best 2004 - Winner of Marrickville RSL RocknRoll Dance Championship - $20,000 prize money with partner Kelly

James Star
James Star :

James Star

James is our head instructor at Blue Suede Shoes Dance School and has 10 years dance experience along with 4 years teaching experience. James brings a relaxed and fun approach to his classes. If you don't learn, laugh and have fun at the same time you haven't experienced his classes.

James has many achievements under his belt; competitions (including state title winner at WSDC's State Titles 2014) and performances with the Sydney Swing Katz (including Big Day Out and the Harbour Bridge 80th Birthday).

James teaches at Concord, Camden RSL, Wollongong and Plumpton.

Suzie Braumann
Suzie Braumann :

Suzie Braumann

Suzie has been dancing with Blue Suede Shoes for over 8 years and has been on our teaching staff for over four years. She currently performs in the Sydney swing Katz performance troupe where she brings her love of dancing and music each time she steps out onto the floor.
She has been competing for over five years, winning open state titles in Swing, Rock and Roll and Rockabilly.
Suzie consistently brings her fun, energetic and humorous side to all classes. She shares her love for the up and coming generation of dancers, taking charge of our children's classes in Sydney.

Monia Krohnert
Monia Krohnert :

Monia Krohnert

Serah Aber
Serah Aber : Level 1

Serah Aber

Level 1

Serah Aber comes from a long line of classically trained dancers but decided to be bold and different by entering into the world of Rock'n'Roll and Rockabilly, at the young age of 12. She found her passion in Rockabilly and hasn't looked back since. She got bitten by the performing bug by doing small displays for her Grandfather's band at the age of 16.

Having always been apart of the Central Coast and Newcastle dance Scene for over 20 years. Serah decided to take her dancing to the next level by competing in the WSDC Rockabilly division and winning back to back amateur state titles as the lead and the follow. Serah wanted to spread the love she has for rockabilly dancing and started on her way to become a teacher, being trained by Anna Ocello. She now teaches at various venues, Serah also wanted to teach children at schools and has been teaching at 3 schools. Serah believes that you can't learn dancing without a good laugh, so expect to leave with sore ribs when taking one of her classes.

Ben Rowe
Ben Rowe :

Ben Rowe

Ben has been a student of ours for 2 years. Never danced before, he firstly attended our Rockabilly dance class in Newcastle. The bug bit and now he's confident dancer in multiple styles such as Swing, Rock and Roll, Rockabilly and itching to give Boogie Woogie a red hot go.  What drew him in was the multiple subcultures such as Hot Rods and Kustom Kulture and history also his diverse taste in music genres. And what a great way to learn to dance to music you already love?

Being one of the newest teachers Ben involved with Beginners Rockabilly. He still has still a strong connection what beginners go through in their first lessons and knows how to relate and explain things to help that "penny drop" to open up a wide world of dancing.

You'll find Ben out as much as possible socially at any Swing, Rock n Roll and Rockabilly events dancing like a "Duck on a Hotplate".

Kristal Forestieri
Kristal Forestieri :

Kristal Forestieri

Kristal started with Blue Suede Shoes 21 years ago. Having achieved all her medals through Blue Suede Shoes being taught by Anna Ocello, she has won many Australian titles in Swing, Rock'n'Roll, Lindy Hop & Rockabilly. Kristal has also preformed at many events such as a Sydney Kings game, NFL and AFL games, various shoppings centres and even appeared on Burkes Backyard. She has choreographed routines for school children performing at different events which was a very proud moment for her.
Kristal teaches most styles and even if you have 2 left feet, she'll help you find your grove.
She has a passion for dancing and sharing that passion with others is what she aims to do.
She brings style, fancy footwork, and old school RocknRoll with an eye for detail.  Her years of competing and performing is invaluable to the Studio.
Always smiling and very dedicated to get the best out of you.
We are extremely excited to have Kristal on our team.
Liz Stride
Liz Stride : Accredited Exercise Physiologist

Liz Stride

Accredited Exercise Physiologist

Moving 4 Health is a philosophy that I live by as an individual, an Exercise Physiologist and as a dancer. As movement allows us to have fun and enjoy life but is also essential to our health and living our everyday lives.

I have come to find this path through my own rehabilitation from my own two knee surgeries. They taught me a lot about myself and how much I value, and previously took for granted, being able to move and function pain free. But it is through the journey of my rehabilitation, returning to full pain free function and to what I love … dancing, that has inspired me to share the self-empowering knowledge of exercise.

Throughout my studies at the University of Sydney I have developed a deep understanding of how specific exercises prescription can prevent or reverse chronic disease, reduce medications, avoid unnecessary orthopaedic surgeries, improve physical and mental health, return people to physical function for their day-to-day activities and to optimise our bodies for the sports that we love. As exercise is medicine.

Accredited Exercise Physiologist