Our Team

Tampa’s preferred dance studio team.

World-Class Dance Instruction

The Hip Room Dance Studio brings the joy of dance to Tampa Bay with our world-class instructors. With expertise ranging across a wide spectrum of fitness and dance styles, our instructors have danced socially and competitively around the world – and are now bringing their knowledge and skills to the floor for you.

The Hip Room Founders

Rita Bauer

Founder and Director of Operations

A native of Madison, Wisconsin, Rita spent 20 years working in the financial services industry as Vice President of Trading and Operations for an investment management firm. While she still proudly retains her cheesehead heritage, she fell in love with beautiful Tampa Bay, moving here and investing in the community as a business owner in 2006.

Her years as a business leader have given her a deep knowledge of Operations and Human Resource Management, making Rita the brains behind the business of The Hip Room Dance Studio.

But she’s not all financials and operations. Rita is passionate about dance, and is a constant student of the art form. As a founder, Rita’s insight as a dance student was the pivotal force that inspired The Hip Room’s student-centric approach to dance instruction.

Matthew Garfinkle

Founder, Dance Instructor and Communications Director

Matthew loves to dance! It’s as simple as that. Since he was very young movement and dance have been his passion. As a professional, he has focused his career on sharing that passion with others, helping his students fall in love with life through dance.

A certified ballroom instructor with more than 20 years of dance experience, Matthew’s approach to dance is entirely focused on the experience of his students, teaching them the styles of dance that they want to learn and building on their strengths throughout their dance lessons. He is adept in many styles of dance including Ballroom, Latin dance, Social dances, Hip Hop, and more.

As a founder of The Hip Room, Matthew brings energy, enthusiasm, and his exceptional knowledge of marketing and communications to the Tampa dance studio. His goal is to help each and every one of his students find happiness, health and joy through dance.

The Hip Room Dance Instructors

Brittany Duke

Dance Instructor

Originally from Los Angeles, Brittany began her classical training under Corinne Glover, Member of the Royal Academy of Dance, London and Director of the Santa Clarita Ballet Academy. There, she developed her diverse repertoire including ballet, character, modern and jazz. She also danced with numerous companies in the Los Angeles area, including the world-renowned Millennium Dance Complex. Brittany has won several awards for her work, including jazz pieces of her own choreography.

After moving to Tampa in 2011, Brittany joined Tampa Ballet Theatre where she danced demi-soloist roles such as Precious Stones in Sleeping Beauty and the pas de trois from Paquita. Most recently Brittany has performed as a guest artist with Tampa City Ballet.

Shelley Loadwick

Dance Instructor

A classically trained dancer in the Vaganova technique, Shelley danced professionally with the Baltimore Ballet under the artistic direction of Cem Catbas, as well as with the Tampa Ballet Theatre. She has performed professionally in classical and contemporary ballets such as Chopiniana, La Bayadere, Carnival of the Animals, Don Quixote, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Paquita, Swan Lake, Dracula, Alice in Wonderland, Giselle, The Nutcracker and more.

Shelley is also an adept instructor in other forms of dance, including Ballroom, Swing, Jazz, Modern and Contemporary. She loves teaching dance students of all levels and ages, from children to adults, in all forms of dance.