About the Fort Wayne Westies
To cultivate one of the most inclusive, friendliest, and growth-oriented dance communities in the area around modern West Coast Swing.
To host regular events to LEARN, PRACTICE, and DANCE West Coast Swing. To develop resources to help dancers of all skill levels learn and master WCS. To cultivate a community atmosphere for people to connect, make new friends, and create lasting memories.
The Fort Wayne Westies is a West Coast Swing club in Fort Wayne, IN that aims to promote “modern” West Coast Swing as it’s taught, danced, and competed around the world.
Our Fort Wayne West Coast Swing community is a group of dancers with diverse dance interests; ranging from West Coast Swing to other forms of partner dancing, including ballroom, latin, country, swing, and more.
We aim to provide regular opportunities for dancers to gain mor exposure to West Coast Swing while also providing fun opportunities to learn, dance, and socialize in the area.
The Team Behind Fort Wayne Westies
The Team behind Fort Wayne Westies consists of a variety of independent dancers/instructors and studios from around the area. Below are our most common and most prominent supporters of our community. Although the only “official” team member of the Fort Wayne Westies is Austin, the success of this club consists of many people that contribute their time and knowledge to the growth of the community.
Club Owner + Instructor
Austin aims to cultivate a thriving West Coast Swing community in the area by organizing events and creating resources for the Fort Wayne Westies – to give new and experienced dancers that opportunity to learn, practice, and dance West Coast Swing.
Austin is in the process of becoming an instructor for the Fort Wayne Westies!
Westie Advisor + Instructor
Melissa is a major advocate of modern West Coast Swing and has been supporting the Fort Wayne Westies since its inception. She not only teaches for the Westies, but also provides her time and studio to the club at unparalled rates to give our community the best chance at succeeding.
All-Star Instructor (GoDance)
Photographer + Video
Origins of the Fort Wayne Westies
The Fort Wayne Westies was founded in January of 2017 as the “Fort Wayne West Coast Swing” club. Preparations for the club’s launch had begun about 6 months prior when Austin went to his first West Coast Swing “weekend event” in the summer of 2016. He fell in love with West Coast Swing immediately and began wondering what it would take to create a local community of Westies like he had heard existed in cities like Indianapolis, Chicago, Goshen, and other major cities around the world.
Over those 6 months he talked with local dances, professional instructors, and other community leaders from around the country to answer the question, “What would it take to create a WCS club?” He wanted the opportunity to dance WCS on a regular basis and to create opportunities for other dancers to dance West Coast Swing “like THAT.”
In the earliest days of the West Coast Swing club, he collaborated with Melissa Culbertson and the owners of the Fort Wayne Ballroom Company to create the “first season” of the Fort Wayne Westies. The club’s first event, Westies Unite!, brought in nearly 100 dancers from around Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.
Over the following months until present day, the Fort Wayne Westies has evolved and continues to adapt based on the needs of the community and what we feel we can do to help the “Westie movement” grow and thrive in our little corner of the world.