Castillo is widely recognized as one of the best Swing dance instructors
in the Bay Area. Her lindy technique comes from only the best instructors
and masters including Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, Steven Mitchell,
and Chazz Young. Combined with her masterful teaching style her
classes can help anyone with two left quickly become a confident
dancer. It's the secret that earned her classes recognition as the
"Very Best Place to Learn Swing Jitterbug."
has been teaching dance for more than two decades. During the late
70's, Diana was a regular dancer on the PBS series, "Austin City
Limits". Her passion for Swing and dance instruction earned her
the title of the "Queen of Swing" in her hometown and "live music
capitol of the world," Austin, Texas.
In addition to teaching Swing dance, Diana started producing for
local television. Her first series was entitled, "Let's Have A Party"
and featured live music and dance. Producing "Let's Have A Party"
would take Diana twice a year to the musically rich neighboring
state of Louisiana to explore the music and dance scene. It was
there that she discovered the world of Cajun and zydeco music. Diana
was adopted by her favorite Cajun dancers, Earl and Geri, who to
this day keep her in touch with the latest steps danced at Mulate's
and Randol's ( in the Acadian Triangle). The trip to Louisiana in
search of the hottest new dance step continues to be one dance habit
that has been impossible to kick.
was 1984 and the world, which was descending on New Orleans for
the World's Fair, was discovering the exciting sounds of Louisiana
roots music. They heard the legendary hot zydeco sounds of Rockin'
Dopsie and the traditional cajun sounds of performers like D.L.
Menard and BeauSoleil.
was now calling New Orleans home and for the next five years would
produce, "Le Bon Ton Roule," a music and dance series to showcase
the musical talents of the artists that were creating the sounds
and dance styles would soon begin to sweep across the country. Diana
would continue to teach her very popular Swing classes but now was
also teaching Cajun, and Zydeco. Athough many people wanted to dance
to these styles of music, formal instruction was hard to find. Diana's
natural ability to break-down complex routines into easy to learn
steps made her classes at the New Orleans JCC an overnight success.
"I just couldn't get enough of Cajun and Zydeco music ... the sound
is so infectious. I met Clifton Chenier (the King of Zydeco) ten
years before I moved to New Orleans when his travels on the music
circuit brought him through Texas. I think I caught the "fever"
from the music coming out of that man ... he was playing zydeco
and Swing with an accordian ... it was incredible," recalls Diana.
enthusiam and dance "fever" spread when she moved here to San Francisco
and began teaching East Coast Swing, Cajun and zydeco dance classes.
With the Bay Area's resurgence of Swing dance, she added Swing-Jitterbug
and Lindy Hop classes to her teaching schedule and rekindled her
first love, Swing dance.