Nick Williams has embodied the passion and spirit of swing dancing ever since his first lesson in 1998. His in-depth understanding of Lindy Hop, Balboa, and Collegiate Shag stem from studying with the original dancers. His successes include World Lindy Hop Champion, U.S. Open Swing Dance Champion, American Lindy Hop Champion, National Jitterbug Champion, International Lindy Hop Champion, Ultimate Lindy Hop Champion, American Classic Balboa Champion and California Balboa/Swing Champion. He is also an accomplished choreographer and has been featured on the hit television show So You Think You Can Dance? As an instructor, he is known for his ability to break down movements and technique to create a fun and light-hearted learning environment.In 2004, Nick was honored to be recognized by the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame.
Kelly, from Knoxville, TN, has been dancing as long as she can remember. As a child she took ballet and jazz, but she was especially drawn to modern dance. At age 11, Kelly joined the Tennessee Children’s Dance Ensemble. She was with the modern dance company for 6 years, performing around the globe including Taiwan, Singapore, and Indonesia.
Kelly attended the University of Tennessee from 1997-2001, during which time she was a member of the UT Dance Company. She was also a dancer and choreographer for Circle Modern Dance Company. In 2003, Kelly moved to New York City where she continued her modern dance career performing with Von Ussar Danceworks and MAD About Dance.
And it was also in New York that Kelly discovered her love for balboa and lindy hop. She holds repeat victories at the Balboa Rendezvous for 2006, 2007, and 2010. She is the 2008 ABW American Balboa Classic Champion and the 2012 ABW Showcase Champion. She has won the Balboa Strictly Divisions at ILHC and the European Swing Dance Championships as well. Kelly's love for swing dancing and teaching has taken her all over the United States and across the world, including Canada, Europe, Korea, and Australia.
Mickey began swing dancing in Los Angeles in '99. A year later he was teaching local swing classes at NYU. After graduating he worked with local teams in New York including Varsity Swing and Hop Swing and a Jump and later started running his weekly dance White Heat (something he's been meaning to start up again).
Mickey and Kelly Arsenault have been dancing and competing since about 2005. During this time, their innovation and showmanship, coupled with their love of dance history and theory, have led them to become internationally recognized teachers and competitors in both Lindy Hop and Balboa. Together their winnings include repeat victories at the Balboa Redezvous for 2006, 2007 and 2010. They are 2008 ABW American Balboa Classic Champions as well as winners of the 2010 ILHC and ESDC Balboa Strictly division. Mickey and Kelly have taught extensively in the US, Canada, Europe, Korea, and Australia
Watch Mickey & Kelly being amazing at All Balboa Weekend.
Laura Keat began her swing dance career in Denver when she joined the award-winning Lindy Hop performance team 23 Skidoo! She immediately developed a passion for the art of swing dancing. Ever the disciplined student and skilled competitor, Laura began winning national titles and gaining recognition as a championship lindy hop follow with an independent style and point of view. She loves dancing with a wide variety of leads with diverse styles and ideas to challenge and broaden her own abilities as a follow. And as an instructor, she brings a fresh perspective towards developing each student’s technical foundation and individual style. For Laura, every dance is a chance to put smiles on peoples’ faces with an entertaining performance which shares and inspires the joy and excitement for swing dancing.
Jeremy Otth amassed a great amount of knowledge on the historic essence of vintage swing dances from many of the original jitterbugs and swing dancers. Along with his seemingly inexhaustible amount of energy, Jeremy’s natural talent and dedication led him to accumulate championship titles at many acclaimed dance competitions such as the International Lindy Hop Championships, National Jitterbug Championships, American Classic Balboa Championships and the US Open Swing Dance Championships. Jeremy is now able to share that breadth of knowledge and passion for these classic partner dances by entertaining and educating feet from Southern California to around the world.
Graceful and fiery. Feminine and dynamic. Known for her swivels and fancy footwork. Teni Lopez-Cardenas is an accomplished competitor, teacher, judge, and performer, and has the pleasure of working with many well-known leads and teams. In the classroom, Teni maintains a fun and accessible attitude while focusing on the importance of connection, body awareness, and technique. Her passion for the dance shines through in her teaching, and she strives to instill a sense of playfulness while encouraging her students to develop their own personal style.Teni is happiest when dancing her heart out, both socially and in competitions and performances; she has performed for events such as All Balboa Weekend, Lonestar Lindyfest, and Camp Jitterbug’s Jump Session Show. On the competition circuit, Teni is one of the few unpartnered follows who consistently places in top Balboa and Lindy Hop divisions at many prestigious events including the International Lindy Hop Championships, All Balboa Weekend, The Snowball, Lindy Focus, Lonestar Lindyfest Championships, and Camp Hollywood.Oh, and she's also really into krav maga.
Since 1998, Matt has been honing his dance skills; starting with East Coast, he quickly moved into Lindy Hop and other Swing-era dances–with a very short detour into Ballroom. He’s studied with top Lindy Hop and Balboa contemporaries as well being influenced by the original greats (Frankie Manning, Dean Collins, Maxie Dorf and Willy Desatoff).
From 2007 through 2011, he was one of the lead instructors for Get Hep Swing (assisting the incomparable Valerie Salstrom) and helped choreograph Hustle and award winning Swing routines. He strives to bring solid fundamentals and just-the-right amount of connection to Lindy Hop and Balboa, while creating room for musicality and playfulness. In 2011, he relocated to his home town of Austin where he’s enjoyed teaching Lindy Hop and Balboa for Four on the Floor, and is a contributing instructor for BalAustin. He’s happy to be wrangling the talented group of DJs Austin is lucky enough to have at the Swing Syndicate.
Nationally and internationally, Matt has been an instructor at Boogie By The Bay, the Eastern Balboa Championships, Dance Renaissance, and the Canadian Balboa Championships. He competes regularly in Balboa, consistently making the finals and has several placements at ABW, EBC, CBC, ILHC, and Camp Hollywood.
He was also a stand-in for Kevin Bacon in Footloose.*
*Recreating the famous dance scene in a skit. C’mon, he’s not that old.
Chandrae (Chanzie) Roettig
After an early career in advanced gymnastics, Chanzie got her start in contemporary dancing at Dance Vision in Portland, Oregon. It wasn’t long before she was granted a scholarship to The Edge Performing Arts Center in Hollywood, and she ultimately graduated their professional program in 2006, specializing in Jazz, Hip Hop, Modern, Contemporary, Ballet and Theater Dance Styles, which clearly enables her to bring a sparkly energetic athleticism to her swing dancing.
Since her graduation from The Edge, Chanzie has worked with some of LA’s top choreographers in film, television, music and stage. Often times, Chanzie has served in the duel roles of dancer and co-choreographer. Recently, Chanzie completed work on a major motion picture entitled “Gangster Squad”, where she worked with her current dance partner Stephen Sayer.
In 2007, Chanzie found her “True Love” in the dance world: Swing Dancing. She is passionate about every vintage style under the umbrella of swing and preserving its history.
Winning many national swing dance titles, she along with Stephen Sayer have turned their focus to teaching. Starting 3 performance groups in 2012, together they are sure to bring back Smooth Style Lindy and Collegiate Shag in a big way! Known for her cheerful and playful attitude, Chanzie is a joy to watch, dance with and learn from.
Stephen Sayer is a dancer/instructor who is dedicated to preserving the great American partner jazz dances of the 1920′s-1950′s. Originally from Dayton, Ohio Steve began dancing in 1998 at the age of 16. Falling in love with lindy hop and other dances of the swing era he traveled to the east and west-coasts to dance, study and learn the different styles of swing dancing.
In 2005 he moved to Los Angeles and soon began teaching weekly at Joe’s Bar and Grill in Burbank. In 2009 he began competing, winning many Los Angeles contests such as the Bayside Lindy Battle and the Paladino’s Jitterbug contest. In 2010, 2011 and 2012 he won 1st place in the Collegiate Shag division at the National Jitterbug Championships with partner Fancy Dougherty. Also in 2011 he won 1st place with partner Chandrae Roettig at the National Jitterbug Championships and the US Open Strictly Lindy Hop divisions. In 2012 he and Chanzie won the Camp Jitterbug Strictly Lindy, US Open Strictly Lindy and came in 2nd at the International Lindy Hop Championships. In 2012 Stephen was inducted into the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame.
Today Steve teaches weekly at Madilyn Clark Studios in North Hollywood and has started the California Jubilee performance teams. He is committed to improving and pushing the limits of his own dancing as well as those who take his classes. His focus of connection to partner and music are what makes his dancing and teaching so unique.
JENN LEE (Seattle, WA) travels all over the world for Balboa. If there is great Balboa, you’ll find her there, dancing until the wee hours with the biggest, most contented smile on her face. Fourteen years ago, a friend took her swing dancing, and she’s been devoted to that scene ever since, first as an student, then later as an avid competitor, organizer, advocate, and now as a popular instructor. Her teaching style reflects her creativity, music background, collaborative approach, and partner communication. She is thrilled to be dancing and collaborating with some of the best Balboa partners out there. Her film titled “One Girl and Two Boys” won the Jazz Dance Film Festival, and she holds 1st place titles from the California Balboa Classic, All Balboa Weekend, the Eastern Balboa Championships, the Snowball and, Lindy Focus.
Shannon, a third-generation swing dancer, was inspired by watching her jitterbug grandparents, and learned mid-century dances from her mom. Shannon trained, taught, and performed with a dance historian. She learned from swing giants including Betty Wood, Norma Miller, Frankie Manning and was honored to share a stage with the Nicholas Brothers. Shannon and her husband Bill have taught their authentic styling and signature moves across the United States and overseas. Back in Minnesota, they host a long running weekly swing night featuring live music. Welcoming all, they are proud to have grown their dance community from the ground up.
It all started in 1998 with a girl, The Derby in Hollywood, a pair of 501 jeans and a bowling shirt. After spending the night at the bar refilling his glass watching that girl spin around the dance floor like a beautiful top, Mike vowed to learn this “swing dance” and impress the hell out of that girl if it killed him. After 5 frustrating months of classes he was about ready quit when he saw a couple dancing this thing called “Collegiate Shag”, he was hooked, and practiced for hours in front of his VCR watching a grainy copy of the Artie Shaw soundie of Lady Be Good trying to get it. He did. The next year he won his first trophy at the prestigious Camp Hollywood shag contest. Since then Mike has received trophies in that contest eight times, winning it twice! He reunited with “the girl” years later and after their dance, she responded “holy crap you’re good!”…VICTORY! Now, celebrating his 19th year of swing dancing he’s beyond thrilled to bring his expertise in Collegiate Shag to Hot Rhythm Holiday.
Tabitha Robinson fell in love with swing dancing in 2001 in Orlando, Florida. She quickly jumped into Lindy Hop, Shag, Balboa and Charleston just wanting to dance as much as possible. She met her now husband Joseph Robinson there and the two began a partnership of competing and teaching together. She helped start and run two Collegiate Shag teams, one in DC and one in Austin, and most recently helped start a Chorus Girl team. One of her passions is choreographing team routines and routines for her and her husband. She also loves to fly through the air and is always up for trying new air steps.
Joseph Robinson found swing dancing in 1998 in Orlando, Florida after being persuaded by some girls. He really liked it and kept going even though the girls didn’t. He danced 6-7 nights a week, never wanting to take a break. He was instrumental in starting the UCF Swing Club and has one of the most vast collections of vintage dance clips. He eventually met his dance partner and wife Tabitha Robinson and the two began to compete and teach together. He loves the music and the dance and his focus has always been on maintaining the authenticity of the original dances and being creative within that structure.
Nial Bruce and Annabelle Hale
Annabelle and Nial are from Melbourne, Australia. They fell in love with Shag after they took their first lessons years ago. Ever since they've been working hard to build the Shag scene in Australia and teach frequently around their home country. They've won competitions both in Australia and abroad. Most recently they placed 3rd in Camp Hollywood's Shag division. They are passionate about Shag and place emphases on dancing Shag socially.
Watch Nial and Annabelle competing here(third couple on the right).
Jennifer learned her first rock steps a long, long time ago from Valerie Salstrom and Joel Plys in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. After a foray into West Coast Swing and sparkly clothes, Jennifer returned to Balboa and Lindy Hop and began dancing competitively in 2010. When she's not traveling to events, competing, teaching Balboa classes in Austin, or coaching the Capitol City Feetwarmers (Matt and Jen's dance team), you can find her helping others organize dance events and volunteering for The Austin Swing Syndicate. This woman is all about #community.
Originally from Fort Collins, Colorado, Andrew started dancing in 2003, and within a year started performing and teaching with the longest standing Lindy Hop dance troupe in Colorado. Currently, he performs and competes across the US, and also has performed and taught in France and Japan.
Based on the many styles Andrew has studied and practiced, his dancing has become unique to him while preserving the main tenants of connection and musicality that make partner dancing so great. His synthesis of styles is one heavily based in technique, strengthened by improvisation, and emphasized by performance styling.
Andrew’s teaching style is primarily focused on the success of his students. Coming from teaching and tutoring backgrounds, he is very concerned about the well-being and learning styles of his students, employing many different techniques for imparting dance knowledge while never getting “too serious”. He loves laughing with his students, and believes maintaining light-hearted, yet focused lessons is the best environment in which to learn; not to mention dancing is supposed to be FUN!
Amanda began swing dancing in 1995 and did her first swingout a year later in Southern California. After moving to Austin, Texas in 2014, she fell in love with Collegiate Shag and immediately began competing, winning the first competition she entered. She has been competing and performing regularly since that time, and loves the thrill of getting out there with her fellow competitors and cheering each other on.
Amanda loves spreading her love of Shag and other swing dances with new and experienced dancers alike, and travels nationally to teach. She brings years of experience of teaching adults to her classes, and enjoys blending serious technique with fun and love for the dance. Currently, she teaches regular Collegiate Shag classes at Four on the Floor in Austin, Texas.
Zach’s first encounter with partner dancing was overhearing his dad’s attempt to sign him up for lessons as a child. He promptly screamed in terror, and the studio never called back. He joined his college swing club in 2011 – much to his dad’s bewilderment – out of a need for PE credit. Collegiate Shag holds the special distinction of being the only dance Zach has done socially the same night he learned it. His first dance competition was also in shag. Zach maintains a strong competitive record with a number of different partners, and teaches nationally. He danced on the Austin shag team, Rad Youth, which took 4th place at Camp Hollywood in 2016. His style emphasizes nuanced musicality, playing off of his partner’s awesomeness, and letting his inner nerd create new ideas. Zach lives in Austin, Texas, where he co-runs twice-monthly shag house parties, serves on the Hot Rhythm Foundation, and teaches classes.