Monday, September 28, 2009

Volunteer Spotlight: Tessa Auza

Get to know some of the hostel's fantastic volunteers...

Tessa Auza: She dances, she volunteers, she dances some more!

What motivated you to volunteer at the hostel?
I am currently underemployed so I was looking for a fun and productive way to spend my extra time. Browsing through, I discovered that HI was looking for volunteers. I love showing off the city so I signed up to help out with tours and events! Working on the blog and other internet projects is just a plus.

What is your favorite travel destination?
So I guess the answer to the question is where ever the dance party is! My usual motivation for travel is for my swing dancing adventures. While initially inspired to take a workshop or compete, I'll spend an extra day in another city to check it out. This has taken me from Austin to Boston and Montreal to Omaha. Meeting other swing dancers from all over the world and having them visit me in Chicago has been an amazing experience. Other times, I'll jump into a car, head out and figure out the destination along the way. You're very involved with the swing dancing community in Chicago - when and how did that begin?Swing dancing has been in my life ever since I'd seen the Khaki Swings GAP ad or Swingers the more than ten years now. While I had taken ballroom classes for sometime, the resurgence of swing dancing in 1997 has really inspired me this whole time. Originally, I learned to dance in Champaign, then I moved back to Chicago in 1999. Now I travel the country (and soon the world) to learn more and more...

Do you have any advice for any hostel volunteers that may want to learn how to swing dance?
For hostel volunteers in Chicago, there are so many possibilities! I'd start by looking at Windyhop. Its the Chicago website for all things swing and lindy hop. Its calender lists down classes and dance events you can check out all over the Chicagoland area. For other hostel guests or visitors who may be interested in swing dancing at home, check out Its a site based out of New York City but dancers from all over the world use it to find and connect with other dancers and events. Final suggestion for those wanting to learn how to dance... Never turn down a request for a dance. Its THE best way to learn!

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