AFF Staff 2023

Jana Matthews

Jana is very excited to be organizing her third Austin Fusion Festival. She started Fusion dancing in LA/Orange County California in 2017 and quickly fell in love with it. After learning fusion, she started learning other partner dance styles like bachata, salsa, Lindy hop, west coast swing, blues, and zouk. Fusion and Zouk are her current favorites. 

Before social dancing, Jana was/is a professional “solo dancer”. She has a BFA in dance from West Texas A&M. She has performed at Sea World, SixFlags, Holiday World, Disney Cruise lines, TEXAS The outdoor musical, and more. She is currently a magician’s assistant in Charles Bach Wonders in Myrtle Beach SC. Jana also has about 14 years of experience teaching dance. She does ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, contemporary, modern, and hip hop. 

Jana sees social dance as an opportunity to create art and community. She hopes to bring people together through her events, and to give people a safe place to express themselves through movement. She is very grateful for all the love and support she’s received in this community and for the opportunity to give that back.

J. Colby

J. Colby is stoked to be organising another Austin Fusion Festival with Jana!  He’s been taking major roles in putting on dance festivals in various cities since 2010, during his Argentine tango years. 

His musical journey started in his teens when he sifted through Americana music to land a spot for 3 years in a gospel choir. This built a foundation that later led J.Colby to spend years with hip-hop, soul, & such as his primary dance outlet; seredipitously finding & falling in love with Argentine tango around 2008. He began Dj-ing 4 hour long ‘alternative tango’ sets for events in 2010. Eventually he & a few folks started taking tango to dubstep events & finding fun ways to break its rules. This is what brought him to fusion in 2017. Since then he’s been Dj-ing local fusion events & festivals, as well as teaching fusion dance classes rooted in his own background. He’s been exploring an array of social dance styles in order to enhance his understanding of partner dance to facilitate dance connections & shared flow states with a wider variety of dancers. It’s fusion’s reliance on musicality, improvisation, connection, & attentiveness to achieve a shared flow state that J.Colby loves so mush about this genre. 

J.Colby’s been training & teaching traditional Shaolin martial arts for almost 20 years. While the subject matter is different, the years of holding a room & personal body awareness clearly translate when he’s teaching a dance class, whether it be basics or something more esoteric. 

Supporting events that orient around things he loves to do has been a long time habit for this man. Stepping into organiser roles with more responsibility has been a natural fit. J. Colby has strong values & will take a hit, figuratively & literally, for his principles & his people. He sees these events a potential catalysts for people to grow from sharing a scene for fun, to sharing a community for fun & mutual support.

Jaesic Wade

Jaesic Wade (they/it) is so excited to be joining us at AFF as our Safety Team Lead this year! For the past year and a half, they have been cultivating knowledge and skill for developing safer spaces through their work as a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice consultant and coach, as well as a peer support specialist. Now with Consent Academy courses under their belt and a new partnership with Fen Kennedy, they are actively developing safer spaces policy and supporting dance scenes across the country to implement policy that fosters new culture for accessibility, inclusion, and safety. They are most excited for their initiative to build a nonprofit that will hopefully one day be a guiding resource to dance scenes across the world for a standard of accessibility, inclusion, and safety for all marginalized identities. Dance is for everyone!

Jaesic has been a part of the Fusion community since 2017 in dancing, DJing, teaching, and organizing. They want to thank the AFF community for trusting them in this role, and giving them the opportunity to pour back into this scene all the love they’ve received over the years. They can’t wait to connect at AFF! If you have any questions prior to the event, please comment below or email with the subject “AFF Safety Inquiry”.