Jason Younker loves to see first-timers walk in, looking rather shy.
"Then I get huge enjoyment watching them learn, blossom and ... oh, yeah!" he says.
Teaching at Firehouse Dance Hall at Medford's Sixth and Front streets, Younker says he coaxes dancers out of their shells "by talking to them like a human being, not belittling them, letting them know everyone has to start from the beginning, which is a humble place."
Younker moved here from Missouri nine years ago. He works in the medical field but says teaching dance is his "true passion, something that reaches the depths of my heart and soul. I want to do it fulltime, and if the people come, I'll be all over it."
From ballroom to hip-hop, Jason knows the American styles, but when a female friend turned him onto Latin, it was a love affair that hasn't cooled.
"I'm crazy about the Latin dancing, and I love the people and culture. There's an American way to dance salsa, but, hey, once a woman from Veracruz came in and showed me street style and, hey, it was a whole new ballgame!"
Reach him at 541-890-4665.
Other favorites: Tiazza Rose, Medford; Emily Alrick, Circus Tribal Dance, Ashland