USA Dance Boise 

ProFiles in Boise Dance

Sean Lee & Phoebe Felker


# of years dancing:

  • Sean (21, 18 in competition)
  • Phoebe (18 - 15 years of Ballet & 3 years of Ballroom)

Where you studied: 

  • Sean - BS Applied Physics, Caltech; PhD Applied Physics, Cornell University
  • Phoebe - BS Political Science, Boise State University

Competition experience:

  • Sean
    On-and-off over 18 years
    Standard Ballroom with 8 different dance partners
    Notable wins: 1st place UC Berkeley competition (championship), 1st place Emerald Ball (pre-champ), 3rd place BYU (pre-champ)
  • Phoebe
  • 3 years competitive ballroom


Interview Questions

  1. What inspired you to begin dancing? 
  • Sean – Nothing in particular. I was trying out several hobbies, and ballroom dancing resonated and stuck.
  • Phoebe - I was fortunate enough to find my passion for dance at a very young age. Dancing has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
  1. How do you prepare before you dance? 
  • Sean – A lot of warm-up. Ballroom dancing can be very physically vigorous.  I stretch and do warm-up exercises 30-40min before dancing to avoid potential injuries.
  • Phoebe - Lots of stretching! I also make sure to eat well! It's important to be healthy from within.
  1. How often do you practice?
  • Sean – 4-5 times a week.
  • Phoebe – I try to practice 5 days a week 2 hours a day but that depends on the week! Life happens.
  1. Best advice you've received about dancing? 
  • Sean – Practice like you compete. Compete like you practice.
  • Phoebe - I know it is a cliché and corny, but it's to dance like no one is watching. It is easy to get trapped in your head and to focus on technique but dancing is an art. It's best to let go and enjoy every moment. Get lost in the music. I promise you will enjoy dancing even more.
  1. Favorite Dance and why?
  • Sean - Waltz.  The most expressive and emotional of 5 ballroom dances.  Tends to be very sappy.  I'm a pretty stoic person in general, so I guess this is my outlet?
  • Phoebe - Waltz. Is it the craziest or most exciting dance? Well no, but to me it is the most fulfilling. It requires grace, posture, balance, and timing. It is a great dance to learn if you are new to ballroom. Also it makes me feel like royalty when I am dancing so no complaints there.
  1. Favorite Dance movie?
  • Sean - I have 2 favorites.  Strictly Ballroom and Shall We Dance? (original version)
  • Phoebe - Strictly Ballroom of course! It is flashy, flamboyant, and showcases the theatrics of ballroom dancing quite well. 

Jennifer Babione


  • # of years dancing:
  • I started with tap and ballet when I was 6 years old and transitioned into high school dance team at Capital High School here in BOISE!! We were called the Golden Girls, and when I was at Capital, we had won 11 years in a row, and it was A LOT of pressure. I started couples dancing in 2002.

  • # of years teaching: 17

  • Where you studied: Boise State University (BS in Chemistry)

  • Competition experience:
    United Country Western Dance Circuit (UCWDC) and World Swing Dance Council (WSDC). Started competing in Jack & Jill's in 2006 in WSDC and transitioned into UCWDC in 2011, going to the World Dance Championships in 2016, taking 6th in the Pro-Pro division.

  • Questions

    1. What inspired you to begin dancing?
      I always loved dancing. I started couples dancing in 2002 when my then boyfriend broke up with me and I found myself at Shorty's taking a free dance lesson.

    2. How do you prepare before you dance?
      I don't need to prepare, I just show up! However, when I first started dancing and taking lessons, I would pick one item to work on that evening while I was dancing to try and get better.

    3. Best advice you've received about dancing? Have fun!

    4. Most memorable dance?
      Chris Haynam, at Portland Dance Festival, about 2006. Thomas and I were really new to going to dance events, and Chris and Becky were UCWDC Pro's. They danced with each of us and made us feel like we were special.

    5. Favorite Dance and why?
      Tough call between Country Two Step and Hustle. I can just free my mind in both of these dances and just have fun.

    6. Favorite Dance movie? This is going to sound totally cheesty, but I LOVE Hallmark Movies. When I was a young girl I LOVED the Dukes of Hazard (specifically, John Schneider). So when I saw a Hallmark movie with John Schneider, AND it was about dancing.....I was ALL IN. It is called The Wedding Dance.

    Valerie Pighini


    • Number of years dancing:
      I started dancing when I was 15 years old as a ballet student in Palo Alto, CA. I quit dancing due to an injury 12 years later and only danced occasionally with my husband (a country swing dancer from Texas). In 2008, I started taking ballroom lessons and was introduced to West Coast Swing. I have struggled with that dance for years. It's hard to follow well, and I was so frustrated, but I kept up with it anyway and what a humbling experience it's been. When I moved to Boise in 2016 I started taking ballet and ballroom again. I feel it's important to share I started ballet again at age 60! It's been 7 years and I'm still doing it. I love the way ballet makes my body feel and how strong I've become as a result. It's a great base for everything that relates to dance.

    • Where you study dance:
      Idaho Ballroom, 208 Swing, Lessons in Dance, Fred Astaire Boise, Ballet Idaho, Eagle Performing Arts Center, Backstage Dance.

    • Competition experience:  
      I just recently finished a 'mock' competition at Fred Astaire Boise where we danced 'rounds' and competed in 'heats'. All this lingo is new to me. I danced 8 dances, 4 times each with a visiting judge critiquing us. It was a fabulous experience. I'm not sure I want to compete, but I might... I'm still pondering that.
      1. What inspired you to begin dancing?
      When I was little I saw The Nutcracker on TV and instantly became infatuated with dance.

      2. Best advice you've received about dancing?
      "Let it go." Just let go of your inhibitions and have fun. It's pretty simple advice. And I'm constantly learning techniques which I'm able to hold on to better than in the beginning. There are at least 100 things you have to think about all at once. LOL Eventually, most of it becomes intuitive, but I'm always trying to improve.

      3. Most memorable dance?
      I have danced with so many wonderful dancers in the past 7 years, I couldn't pick just one. I enjoy each one and value every moment we share in the dance.

      4. Favorite Dance and why?
      My favorite dance is the Cha Cha, probably because it's fast and sharp. I also love a dreamy Nightclub Two Step, where we ladies get to milk every move.  And of course the most romantic dance of all - Bolero.

      5. Favorite Dance movie?
      There are many incredible dance movies.  The one that resonates most with me however is Dirty Dancing because that's the way I feel when I dance ... just like Baby with that big grin on her face, swishing her dress. I feel like a kid in a candy store full of delectable treats - all I have to do is work hard doing what I love.