The Best Lindyhop Extravaganza in the Region
Lone Star Championships at Lindyfest is the largest and most dynamic Lindy event of its kind. “Where Epic Party Meets World Class Instruction.” This year, 2016, will mark the 20th annual Lindyfest! This will also be the 9th installment of the Lone Star Championships. Jam-packed with workshops, competitions for all dance levels, superb performances, and tons of social dancing – you don’t want to miss what we have in store for this year!
Alice Mei started dancing at 4 years old. From 4-14yrs old she had the honor of interpreting almost every single Disney Character from "Dopey" to "Tinker-Bell". She eventually joined a national dance school for another 4 years where she practiced Ballet, Contemporary and Jazz dance daily. Slowly burning out with these dance styles, she began to look for something new. After a few unsuccessful attempts at african dancing, flamenco, and kick boxing she eventually met her true love, Lindy Hop!
Alice is definitely at her happiest when she is swingin' it on the dance-floor. You will most likely hear her giggling from the other side of the room when she is social dancing. Alice enjoys keeping her dancing simple and natural. It seems like her silliness has reached enough people since she won the "dancers choice award" at ULHS in 2006. In class, she teaches the same principals that she cherishes as a dancer and she mainly focuses on keeping things simple and in rhythm. As a person, Alice is a joyful shop-a-holic who lives in the moment. She enjoys the most simple things in life such as chocolate (specially "Lindor" ), beer and lame garden statues.
A bit of a geek, she likes to play video games, but her favorites are still the most simple ones like Tetris and Lemmings. Emotional, sensitive, fun and natural...here are some adjectives to describe Alice and if there is anything else you wish to know about her, just ask her and she will most likely tell you. Alice is like an open book, and whatever she is not telling, you might still be able to read on her face. Don't abuse it though cause you might discover a little evil hidden behind her angelic smile.
Chazz Young started dancing when he was 8 years old and later enrolled in the famous Harlem dance school, Mary Bruce. When leaving the school at the age of 17 he joined the Norma Miller Dance Troupe and later on Norma Miller & Her Jazz Men. They performed at the famous Apollo Theater with famous bands like Count Basie and also toured the world performing Lindy, Jazz, and Tap from London to Australia. Over the years Chazz has performed and taught Lindy Hop, Jazz Steps and Tap with his father Frankie Manning becoming the most famous father son duo in the history of swing dance. Currently Chazz lives in Las Vegas and teaches at the Austin Dancing School. He continues perform, choreograph and teach all over the world. Chazz is a wonderful teacher and polished performer with a patient and gentle nature.
Jenna Applegarth first started dancing when she was still in diapers. She began swing dancing some many years later, luckily no longer in diapers. Jenna continues to expand her dancing repertoire and share her love and knowledge of these dances with others. Although she enjoys pretty much any type of dancing and music you can move to, her first love is Lindy Hop. Her energy and passion create the perfect environment for learning, creating challenging yet applicable lessons.
Jenna has attended, coordinated, and taught various workshops and exchanges all across the globe. Some of her favorite highlights are performing at Benaroya Hall in The Jump Session Show and teaching for Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing. Above all else she believes that learning to dance should be fun. With over 10 years of teaching/coaching experience, she loves finding new ways to connect with other dancers on the floor and in the classroom.
Jon Tigert is an internationally recognized professional Dancer, Choreographer, and Instructor in the Swing Dance community. As a teacher, Jon specializes in Lindy Hop, Charleston, Balboa, Blues, and Tap. Jon has performed all over the world, including with the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestras as a featured artist. Based out of Nashville, Jon can often be found travelling the globe spreading his love of Swing to all of his students.
Kelly Arsenault, 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. When she met Mickey in 2004, she discovered her love for balboa and lindy hop; and so began their amazing friendship and partnership.
Laura Windley is the songstress and proprietress of the North Carolina-based Mint Julep Jazz Band, a little big band specializing in the hot jazz and swing of the 1920's, 1930's, and early 1940's. She is involved in the swing dance community in Raleigh and Durham, NC as an event organizer and DJ, as well as serving as the main contributor for Lindy Shopper, a blog about swing dance clothing, shoes, and other things dancers may find useful.
Laura began DJ’ing in Greenville, NC in 2001 for the yet-to-be-formed ECU Swing Dance Club, chosen by default because she had the most swing CDs (which, at the time, was about 10). Since then, her music collection has expanded greatly to become a joyous selection of swinging music. She loves female vocalists, bouncy instrumental tunes, songs with lyrics that make her laugh, and, above all, hot trombone solos.
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.
Michael Gamble is a world-renowned swing DJ who has been of doing his thing for events large and small for over 10 years. Michael has been head DJ and/or competition music coordinator for Lindy Focus, Beantown, European Swing Dance Championships, and has been a regular featured or staff DJ at Herrang Dance Camp, International Lindy Hop Championships, Lone Star Championships, Empire City Swing, and many others. His DJ appearances at workshop events and exchanges are too numerous to mention.
Mickey Fortanasce 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 Rendezvous 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.
Since 1998, Mikey Pedroza has been dedicated to the understanding and preservation of classical American Jazz dances such as, Charleston, Lindy Hop, Balboa, Slow Drag (Blues) and Solo Jazz. Hailing from Orange County, California, he passionately developed his own perfect blend of powerful movement and classic grace with a hard edged and playful style which is evident each time he steps onto the floor. Such dedication and originality has earned him numerous awards at national dance competitions as well as opened avenues for teaching and performing.
The same passion and energy Mikey exudes on the floor, he brings to students around the world. And as an instructor, he encourages his students to be self-expressive and creative while establishing a strong understanding of connection, lead/follow technique, frame, body awareness and mechanics. By building a good technical base, students are then free to develop their own personalized style with confidence. Mikey hopes that by sharing his love and knowledge of these dances with others, that they too will find joy in this classical American art form.
- NaomiInstructor and Competition DJ
Naomi Uyama discovered lindy hop in her hometown of Washington DC during the late nineties. Since then she has taught workshops all around the world and performed for dance and music legends alike. She has won the champion title at such prestigious competitions as the American Lindy Hop Championships, the Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown, and the U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships. When she's not traveling in the name of triple steps or singing classic jazz Naomi currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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.
Nikki Kontoulas was exposed to Carolina Shag at the tender age of 4, her mother taught her the basic at 10, she became a competitive dancer at 12 and has never stopped. She was a dancer, choreographer and captain of the National Shag Dance Championships Team. Be ready for her to rip up the dance floor!
Lindy Hopper. Belly dancer. Ex-hair-removal Laser Technician. Event Promoter. The mysterious figure that is known only as "Nina Gilkenson" (and sometimes "Naomi") has many titles from prestigious dance competitions. But that's only a small part of her accomplishments. For instance, she can swivel in midair. She can simultaneously create vintage-style dresses and then destroy them while dancing. She can make 12-minute biscuits in 10 minutes. She writes upbeat musical theatre involving funeral homes. And last, but not least, she is a part of the award-winning Lindy Hop team the Silver Shadows, which sounds like it's a group of super heroes. And that's what she is. A Super Hero--one whose main super power is doing swivels in midair. And one day, they might save the world. Until then, she lives in Baltimore, MD and falls down a lot.
- PeterInstructor and MC
Peter Strom is one of the most dedicated and well traveled instructors on the lindy hop scene today. His humor in classes is only matched by the clarity and care he takes with his students. Since his start in 1998 he has taught at international dance camps from Australia to South Korea to Herrang, Sweden. In addition to teaching he brings with him his skills as a sought after DJ and experienced Master of Ceremonies. He is currently a member of the renowned team the Silver Shadows and the founder of Uptown Swing in his hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
A nationally renowned champion dancer, Ramiro Gonzalez grew up dancing in West Texas. Starting his career at 16 teaching ballroom dance to present traveling to perform and teaching many styles of dance, focusing especially on W.C Swing, and Salsa. At the same time, he operates his own hair styling business.
Ramiro actively has participated in the competitive swing dance circuit for more than 13 years with high success. He regularly won and placed highly in many “Strictly Swing” and “Jack-N-Jill” divisions. First place finishes include: the U.S. Open Swing Dance Championship, Dallas DANCE, Boogie by the Bay, Capitol Swing, Chicago Classic, Texas Classic, American Swing Dance Championships and the USA Grand Dance Nationals Championship.
Ramiro was inducted into both the World Swing Dance Council Hall of Fame at the US Open Swing Dance Championships in Nov. 2013 and the National Living Legends of Dance in 2000.
He received the Feather Award three consecutive years for most outstanding swing dance teacher and has won the Entertainer of the Year award several times. He is especially known for his ability to dance and teach both the “lead” and the “follow” parts in dance as well as the high energy and intricate footwork of his dancing.
Ramona Staffeld is one of those unique individuals who transcends the requirement that to be a veteran of your chosen profession, you must be of an advanced age. Amazingly, Ramona is such a young dancer with so many years of experience, she is often referred to as a veteran. Ramona's dancing reflects the beauty, rawness, and rhythm that makes lindy hop so appealing. Ramona has provided dancing tuition to many students in all corners of the world and is known internationally for her graceful style and spontaneity on the dance floor. Not only does she find joy in her own movement, but she understands how special it is to share it with her partner. Ramona has received numerous accolades and has claimed a number of prestigious dance titles including World Lindy Hop Champion, and Authentic Jazz and Blues Champion at the 2009 Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown. Ramona currently resides in Melbourne, Australia and teaches locally as well as continuing to teach all over Australia and around the World. Whether you are just starting out or you are an experienced dancer wanting to take it to the next level, Ramona applies her teaching method to all levels of skill and ability.
Remy Kouakou Kouame is an established competitor, performer and teacher. He made the transition from world champion boogie woogie dancer (with accolades from the French and the World Championships), to convert to lindy hop, to a starring role in the viral music video "Two Cousins" with Ryan Francois. Remy has also taught many students for many years, traveling to many international camps and festivals, sharing his passion and knowledge. What he likes to share the most is the joy that dancing provides. For him, dancing is... to live... to express! Remy is also the choreographer of the infamous Caribbean Shim Sham
- RyanHead DJ
Ryan has been swing dancing since 1998 and started DJing for dancers shortly thereafter. He has had the privilege of spinning for numerous Lindy Hop exchanges, dance camps, weekend workshops, and competitions, including national events such as ILHC and Lindyfest.
Skye Humphries is a nationally renowned swing dancer and instructor. He emphasizes fun, energetic social dancing with strong partner connection, solid technique, innovative moves, and musicality. Skye was a member of the award winning Lindy Hop dance troupe Minnie's Moochers. He has taught and performed Lindy Hop at many major national and international events and dance camps, including Herräng Dance Camp in Sweden. Skye is a versatile and creative dancer. He has earned some of the most prestigious awards at national dance competitions, including winning the 2002 Lindy Hop World Championships in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Sylvia Sykes is an internationally recognized authority on most types of Swing Dance, and she has been teaching for more than 20 years throughout the U.S., Europe and Australia. Sylvia studied with the great dancer Dean Collins, and was a member of his last dance troupe. She studied Balboa with Maxie Dorf and spent years learning from the greatest Southern California Balboa dancers. Sylvia is a two-time inductee into the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame. She won the U.S. Open twice, was the National Association of Swing Dance Events top point winner, garnered third place in the National Carolina Shag Dance Championships, won numerous Strictly Swing contests throughout the U.S. and was a four-time Feather Award winner. She is the undefeated California Balboa champion.
Todd Yannacone is one of the most recognizable names on the swing dancing circuit today. He has won countless championship titles from the most prestigious competitions around, such as: Lone Star Championships, International Lindy Hop Championships, Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown, American Lindy Hop Championships, U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships, and National Jitterbug Championships. He teaches vernacular jazz, lindy hop, balboa, and other vintage swing dances both locally and internationally, and loves spreading his passion for social dancing. He specializes in connection and musicality, which is apparent every time he steps on the dance floor. He has performed for dance and music legends alike, and frequently can be found performing and competing with the dance troupe to which he belongs, the Silver Shadows.