About Brian Barakauskas
Hi my name is Brian Barakauskas and I’m the founder of West Coast Swing Online.
I’m excited you found our website for 2 reasons.
#1 I know you’re passionate about learning about West Coast Swing! I want to help you achieve your goals. I think the content on this site will help you do that!
#2 I have a unique background in west coast swing instruction. With over 36,000 hours on the dance floor, I wanted to help you overcome your frustrations and learn faster!
I’m 100% sure this website will help you achieve your goals!
Professional Dance Career
I’ve been dancing professionally for almost 20 years. I’ve competed, performed, taught and judged competitions in over 22 countries around the world. I have a background in not only in west coast swing but country and ballroom dancing as well. Read more about me in the news here.
- 2000, 2003, 2005, 2008 and 2010 UCWDC Superstar World Champion.
- 2005 3-time Grand Champion UCWDC Division 1.
- 2003 Star Award Winner for Favorite Dancer’
- 2005 Star Award winner for Favorite Teacher.
- 2007 Japan’s Favorite Country Dance instructor.
- 2011 3-time Professional American Rhythm Rising Star Finalist.
- 2012 6-time Professional American Rhythm Rising Star Finalist.
- WSDC Swing Judge
- Former UCWDC Certified Judge.
- Featured dancer on ABC, Lifetime TV, BBC
- Elected into the Country Dance Hall of Fame in 2017!
I have been teaching weekly beginner and advanced WCS classes every week in some format for over 12 years. Our studio runs 2 swing teams per year for various levels of students. I choreograph over dozen swing routines every singe year for students around the world.
In 2013 Jason Miklic, Doug Rousar and I pioneered a unique wcs intensive called Extreme Swing. We traveled to many cities throughout the midwest teaching the core concepts of west coast swing at a high level thorough 2 days of focused instruction and drilling. In 2016 I launched my ‘One Day WCS‘ Intensive brining an intense day of learning to cities across the midwest USA.
As a swing pro, I have coached many many Jack & Jill, ProAm Routine and Rising Star students. I have had the pleasure of working with students at almost every level. I have had many successful ProAm Routine, Jack & Jill and Rising Star students.
One of the unique experiences I’ve had, has been to coach several students from beginners into professional dancers.
In addition to traveling and teaching I have also owned a local dance studio in Louisville KY, Dance Louisville. We have been in business for over 10 years teaching ballroom, salsa, country and west coast swing. Our studio was named as having the ‘Most Team Spirit” at Swing Dance Party for 3 years in a row!
In January 2013 we founded the first competition WSDC event in Louisville Kentucky, Derby City Swing. Within 3 years we were able to grow the event to over 600 people!
I also run a dance floor rental business, Signature Dance Floor. We rent dance floor to west coast swing, ballroom and salsa events across the midwest.
Since I pride myself on being a real guy, not some internet guy I though I’d tell you a bit more about me personally.
I was born in Boston MA and lived there until I moved to Kentucky with I was 19. I love Boston sports and the whole city. So much history! I just hate snow so I’ll never move back.
After 20 plus years of living in Kentucky, I finally accepted the culture. I now love horse racing and bourbon. I don’t think I will ever miss another Kentucky Derby in my life. And no, I don’t really bet that much. A little, but not much.
I’m a lifelong athlete. I played baseball and soccer growing up and later ran track in high school and a college. (5k) My best 5k was 14:38 indoors. 15:07 on the road. I’ll still play a pickup soccer game now and again and I still run a few days a week.
I did a 35 mile run on my 35th birthday, just so I would always remember turing 35. I biked the Bourbon trail (over 100 miles) on my 36th birthday. I and rode my bile 137 miles to teach a WCS class for charity on my 37th birthday. (that was hard)
I’m a huge MMA fan. Yes cage fighting. I know its weird that 2 of my hobbies are dancing and fighting but well hey, thats me 😉 I have some friends who fight professionally and it fascinates me.
I competed in Brazilian Jiu-Jitus for several years winning several tournaments as a blue belt. I loved BJJ and even broke my arm training one time. I had to stop training after having a back surgery in 2013.
I love the outdoors and hiking. I’ve hiked across the Grand Canyon and back. TWICE.
I live within walking distance of my brother and mom. My mom works for me helping manage the studio here in Louisville. Its fun working with her, except when she asks for a raise. Awkward lol
I’m a serial entrepreneur. I dropped out of college after 2 years and have worked for myself ever since. I love learning about the internet, technology and business and even do some business consulting for dance studios and local businesses. (when I have time, sigh)
Oh and I run an awesome West Coast Swing website. You should check it out 😉