Instructors

Sylvia Sykes

Sylvia Sykes

Instructor
Bio

Sylvia Sykes began dancing in 1966, competing in 1970, and teaching in 1979. She has studied with many of the dance greats, including Frankie Manning, Dean Collins, Maxie Dorf, and Willie Desatoff. Her extensive studies and travels have made her an expert on regional dance styles and she is known for her expertise in, and the preservation of the older forms of Swing dance. In addition, she is credited with helping to preserve the Balboa by introducing the dance World Wide.

She has competed in numerous dance competitions and was a six-time U.S. Open Finalist and two-time Southern California Balboa Champion. Sylvia has appeared on television, been featured with orchestras such as Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, and Count Basie, as well as been voted into the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame and National Swing Dance Hall of Fame.

She is the most sought-after head judge in the modern Lindy Hop & Balboa dance scenes and is a co-founder and head judge of the International Lindy Hop Championships.

Skye Humphries

Skye Humphries

Instructor
Bio

Skye Humphries was first persuaded to dance Lindy Hop by his mother in 1996, but quickly discovered his own love of social dancing, swing music and the Lindy Hop community. This led him to a wider interest in dance and he took classes in ballet, modern, and Jazz. Since 1999 he has taught wherever Lindy Hop is done — from national weekends to international dance camps. He is a founding member of some the most influential modern Lindy Hop troupes, including Minnie’s Moochers, Mad Dog, and the Silver Shadows. Skye has also won titles at all of the major Lindy Hop competitions including ULHS, ILHC, ALHC and the World Lindy Hop Championships. This involvement with Lindy Hop sparked his wider interest in America’s history and cultural heritage, leading him to pursue American Studies at The George Washington University where he received his master’s degree in 2007.

Peter Strom

Peter Strom

Instructor, MC
Bio

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.

Naomi Uyama

Naomi Uyama

Instructor
Bio

Naomi Uyama discovered the original form of swing dancing, the Lindy Hop, when she was 16 years old in her hometown of Washington DC. After nearly 2 decades of devoting herself to the dance she has won first place at the International Lindy Hop Championships, the American Lindy Hop Championships, the Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown, and the US Open Swing Dance Championships. With expertise in the Lindy Hop, Charleston, and Solo Jazz she has traveled to over 20 countries on 5 continents spreading her knowledge and love of dancing. When she’s not traveling in the name of jazz she is teaching and dancing in her adopted home of Minneapolis for Uptown Swing.

Remy Kouakou Kouame

Remy Kouakou Kouame

Instructor
Bio

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 World Championships) to convert to an acclaimed international lindy hop and solo jazz instructor who has also earned several titles at the International Lindy Hop Championships. The music video “Two Cousins” put him on the radar of many lindy hoppers, in which he starred with Ryan Francois.

For years, Remy has taught students all over the world, travelling to international camps and festivals, sharing his passion and knowledge. His amazing energy in class, the stage, and on the social floor is irreplaceable. What he likes to share the most is the joy that dancing provides. For him, dancing is… to live… to express!

Alice Mei

Alice Mei

Instructor
Bio

Alice Mei started dancing at the very young age of 4 years old and have done numerous types of dances until she fell in love with lindy hop. She has now been swing dancing more than 14 years and keeps being fascinated by the art of improvisation. Connecting with a partner through rhythm helps her dance and is the most inspiring thing to her at the moment. She has been spreading the joy of lindy hop and authentic jazz in more than 30 countries through teaching, performing, competing and social dancing. She loves the diversity of movement and the freedom of expression this dance brings to the world. She hopes to keep learning things and inspiring people for as long as possible.

Kelly Arsenault

Kelly Arsenault

Instructor
Bio

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.

Mickey Fortanasce

Mickey Fortanasce

Instructor
Bio

Mickey Fortanasce began swing dancing in Los Angeles in 1999. 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.

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.

Jo Hoffberg

Jo Hoffberg

Instructor
Bio

Jo Hoffberg is a bigwig and longtime fixture of the lindy hop scene. She holds first place titles from the American Lindy Hop Championships, Canadian Swing Championships, International Lindy Hop Championships, European Swing Dance Championships, National Jitterbug Championships, Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown, and U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships. Since 2007, Jo has traveled the world spreading jazz culture through vintage partner dancing and has taught and performed in 25 countries across 5 continents. She teaches vernacular jazz, charleston, aerials, and lindy hop.

Jo hosts intensives in Europe and the United States, has produced an extensive online learning library, is a co-producer of Swing Break Mexico, and runs an Online Training Challenge for competitors around the world. Induced into the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame in 2013, Jo is a passionate and avid dancer, instructor and competitor.

Kevin St. Laurent

Kevin St. Laurent

Instructor
Bio

Kevin St. Laurent started dancing at the age of 8 years old with Tap, Ballet and Jazz. In 1993 he started learning Balboa and West Coast Swing. In 1995 he started with Lindy Hop and by 2000 he won the World Lindy Hop Championships in Munich, Germany. In 2001 he went professional and has since taught in over 30 countries across 5 continents.

Nick Williams

Nick Williams

Instructor
Bio

Nick Williams has embodied the passion and spirit of swing dancing ever since his first lesson in 1998. The depth of his understanding of Lindy Hop, Balboa, and Collegiate Shag stems from studying with the original dancers. Nick’s desire for authenticity, combined with his passion for dance evolution, leads to a style known for precision, lightness, musicality and dynamic energy.

His successes include World Lindy Hop Champion, US Open Swing Dance Champion, American Lindy Hop Champion, National Jitterbug Champion, International Lindy Hop Champion, Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown 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. His true love of music and dancing will forever inspire him to learn, teach, and grow. In 2004 and 2010, Nick was honored to be recognized by the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame.

Laura Glaess

Laura Glaess

Instructor
Bio

Laura Glaess started dancing in 2001 in San Antonio. It wasn’t a very large scene, and her teachers hadn’t been dancing very long, but she quickly came to love lindy hop, the music, the history and everything involved.

Now Laura travels the world teaching, competing, performing and learning. She is a passionate believer in dancing with swing, with rhythm, and with presence. She is madly in love with jazz music and movement and strives to convey that love to everyone she encounters. Laura is also an active participant in her home music and dance communities. While living in Austin, she co-owned a teaching company, The Lindy Project, participated in the Austin Swing Syndicate board, the Austin Lindy Exchange board, organized community events, and any number of things to keep Austin one of the best scenes around.

In her spare time, she is currently studying to become a physical therapist and is learning to write and play music.

Todd Yannacone

Todd Yannacone

Instructor
Bio

Todd Yannacone is one of the most recognizable names on the swing dancing circuit today. He has been a fixture on the international teaching scene since he was a teenager, and holds countless titles from such prominent competitions as – The International Lindy Hop Championships, The European Swing Dance Championships, The American Lindy Hop Championships, The Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown, The U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships, The National Jitterbug Championships, Lone Star Championships – to name a few. Todd is a California Swing Dance Hall of Fame inductee, and has been interviewed for Swing Dancer Magazine, “The Track” podcast, and various other publications. He has taught vernacular jazz, Balboa, Shag, Lindy Hop, Charleston, and other jazz era dances since he was 16 years old – his demand as an instructor, performer, and judge has taken him to 31 countries across five continents. He specializes in connection and musicality, which is apparent every time he steps on the dance floor. He has worked with dance and music legends alike, and is a member of the acclaimed dance troupe, the Silver Shadows.

Jenna Applegarth

Jenna Applegarth

Instructor
Bio

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

Jon Tigert

Instructor, MC
Bio

Jon Tigert found swing dancing at the tender age of 15 and never looked back. Now, somewhat older than 15, Jon shares his knowledge of the dance all over the United States and the World. You may know him from his roles at events such as Lindy Focus, Lindyfest, The Canadian Swing Dance Championships, The Chinese Lindy Hop Championships, Herrang Dance Camp, The International Lindy Hop Championships and many more. Known for his concise language, historical knowledge and and infinite supply of dad jokes, Jon’s classes are immensely informative and entertaining. Beyond teaching, Jon is often seen behind the microphone as a well known MC and host, behind the computer as a DJ, or behind the drum kit playing and singing with various bands.

Felipe Braga

Felipe Braga

Instructor
Bio

Many ask how Felipe Braga learned Lindy Hop so quickly: transitioning from a toilet-cleaning newbie dancer marveling at the Folkets Hus floor to a Herrang instructor in three short years. The explanation is simple: his pre-Lindy life prepared him for what was to come. Training in theatrical acting gave Felipe body awareness and control as well as an ability to improvise–both in his energetic and now infamous class warm-ups, and in the competitions where he always shines. Felipe’s experience playing drums, as well as his youth in Brazil –where the music and dance culture are rich– gave him an innate sense of rhythm. And finally Felipe’s days as a dancing party-animator for a live music club in Brazil gave him plenty of training for getting people excited about dancing in his Lindy Hop classes today. But more important than any of this is that Felipe has embodied the Lindy Hop spirit since before he knew it existed. It is hard to find someone who doesn’t like Felipe. His warm personality charms every dancer he meets, and his ability to connect with people in conversation carries over onto the dance floor.

Natalia Eristavi

Natalia Eristavi

Instructor
Bio

Natalia Eristavi began swing dancing in late 2010 at Atomic Ballroom in Irvine, CA, and quickly became one of LA’s up and coming Lindy Hop and Balboa dancers. Since then, she has won numerous competitions around the world, including at Lindy on the Rocks, Smokey Feet, and London Swing Festival.

Drawing much of her inspiration from the original swing dancers from Southern California, she always seeks to maintain a level of attention to detail that is both authentic and creative. Her philosophies on dance stem from a desire for solid technique underneath a playful, musical approach to social dancing. Natalia Spent three years teaching regularly at various venues in Southern California after which she moved to Europe in 2014 and began teaching internationally. She has taught at workshops in Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, U.K., Alaska and Spain.

Natalia loves to choreograph and perform but she is at the height of her self-expression when out on the dance floor dancing with different partners. There is something magical about creating an improvised dialogue of creativity with another person and she can’t get enough of it!

Nicole Zuckerman

Nicole Zuckerman

Beginner Track
Bio

Nicole Zuckerman’s first foray into Lindy Hop occurred in 2003, and she immediately threw caution and all other hobbies out the window to chase swing outs relentlessly. Since then, she’s developed her unique style, and an unmistakeable sense of fun and whimsy in her dancing. She’s also won numerous competitions across the US for lindy hop, solo jazz, and balboa.

As an instructor, Nicole keenly articulates connection, rhythm, and creativity in an accessible way, with enthusiasm and the occasional sound effect. She’s currently the education coordinator at The 9:20 Special and a teacher of lindy hop and vernacular jazz in San Francisco. Nicole can also be found re-visiting her own extensive training in tap and ballet in the bay area, and availing herself of classes in Voguing, Hip Hop, and Street Jazz.

Carl Nelson

Carl Nelson

Beginner Track
Bio

Carl Nelson has been dancing since 2001, he was swinging out so hard he got kicked out of an acapella group. His style focuses on strong partnering and rhythm rooted in exemplary basics. He has won numerous competitions at many of the largest events in the U.S. for lindy hop, solo jazz, and balboa.

As an instructor, Carl encourages students to find their own path through the dance, emphasizing collaborative workshops and focused exercises in his classes. Carl currently teaches in San Francisco.