|Irina Amzashvili started lindy hopping at the age of fifteen. After attending her first social dance she was immediately hooked . Under the close guidance of some fantastic local dancers and many, many hours spent social dancing, Irina exceeded normal expectation of a beginner and was teaching by the end of her first year. She is still constantly pushing herself and trying to achieve new heights with her dancing. Irina loves teaching and helping her students individually with their basics and technique; She likes to focus on clean technique first, and then styling that comes from comfortability in one's basics.
|Evita Arce a renowned Lindy Hopper based in New York City, celebrates 20 years dancing, teaching and performing. She has danced with Jazz at Lincoln Center, competed on So You Think You Can Dance, toured with the Broadway show SWING!, performed multiple times at Jacob’s Pillow with The Vanaver Caravan, Wild Rhythm, Caleb Teicher & Co., and her own company, Syncopated City. Summer 2019, Evita officially debuted on a Broadway stage with Teicher for Regina Spektor’s run at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Evita was also featured in the Swing documentary Alive and Kicking which followed her path in the international Lindy Hop community across 7 years. Evita is also part of the creative production team for "Swing Out", a new show to premier at the Joyce Theater as soon as public arts and entertainment returns. During this difficult time of social isolation Evita has continued to push forward, reaching global audiences online; ever grateful, and humbled, for the opportunity to contribute, educate, uplift and inspire others through Lindy Hop.
|Grace Babbes started lindy hopping in 2012, and quickly fell in love! She grew up loving jazz music and performing, but it wasn’t until she took her first Lindy class that she was able to put those two loves together. Grace regularly social dances and teaches all across Southern California, and competes in many regional and national competitions, both in partnerships and with the award-winning team Special Delivery Stomp. In addition, Grace is a member of the performance company The Hollywood Hotshots, performing in live events, music videos, commercials, and more. Grace brings a sense of playful fun to her teaching, keeping a strong emphasis on connection technique. She believes that Lindy hop is a conversation between two people and brings her love of that conversation to every lesson, reinforcing strong connection, solid basics, and the joy of the dance.
|Danita Bayer [BLUES] first ventured onto the social dance floor as a baby—strapped onto her dancing mother’s back. After training in numerous dance forms (including a 10-year stint as a competitive Irish Dancer), Danita found her groove in 2014 when she was introduced to the relaxed and dynamic qualities of Blues. Danita can be found around Los Angeles dancing, teaching, organizing (check out Signifyin’ Blues coming this November!), and volunteering at all the local blues dances. She knows the importance of helping new dancers feel welcome and encouraged, and will gleefully dance with beginners and experienced dancers alike (Because dancing is fun at every level!). Danita’s non-dance time is spent as a graphic designer for the entertainment industry..
|Sarah Breck fell in love with Swing dancing at the age of 10. Growing up in Santa Barbara, she quickly moved to Los Angeles after high school to work on a fashion degree while working in the entertainment industry and swing dancing every free chance she got. After a short stint for Women’s Wear Daily in New York, Dax contacted her looking for a new dance partner (2009). If Sarah could pack up her life and move to Montreal, Canada than Dax would take her around world to do what she loves most, Dance! In no time, Sarah was on a plane. Quickly did Dax and Sarah fall in love with each other and decide to move back to their home state to get married and start a family.
|Jennifer Cannon [BLUES] started Swing dancing at Lindygroove in the summer of 2003. She then meet a few good friends who introduced her to blues. From there she fell in love with the dance and has been dancing blues ever since. She has found a good community and life long friends. Since Sara and Jeff started teaching at Lindygroove, She has made it a point to take the blues series to prefect her blues technique. She loves to share what she has learned along with her own ideas of leading and following.
|Jake Canon Bio coming soon...
|Sam Chan (aka LindySam) has a wide variety of experience and mentors including Jazz, Tap, and Salsa. He has been a member of many swing dance troupes over the years and loves to learn as well as teach. Sam has been a member of the national award winning Swing Troupe Super-Cali-Lindy-Licious as well as the award-winning One2Swing Jitterbugs. He has also placed in many of the local and national dance competitions. Sam is currently a sought after guest teacher for many swing dance clubs and is excited to be teaching regular weekly classes at LindyGroove.
|Vicky Chan first fell in love with Lindy Hop at UCI in a ballroom dancing class taught by Audry Wilson. She loved the dance so much that she founded the UCI Swing Dance club a year later with fellow students and began teaching and spreading the joy of the dance on campus. Vicky is a member of the award winning One2Swing Jitterbugs. You can find Vicky DJing at variouse events and venues and teaching regularly at LindyGroove.
|Jasmine Cheung started dancing at UCLA, where she headed the university's swing club. She has performed at various events and is a member of the One2Swing Jitterbugs. She teaches weekly classes and at clubs and events in the Los Angeles area.
|Gaby Cook is a veteran lindy hopper of all stripes. For the last 15 years, she has been an active professional in the global lindy hop scene — teaching and performing for events such as Herräng Dance Camp, Lindy Focus, Paris Jazz Roots, Rock That Swing Festival, Stompology, Lindyfest and the IG hop Dance Residency in Vienna among others. In addition to her career as a teacher, she is also a choreographer and performer of lindy hop performance material for audiences of all kinds. Currently she is artistic director for two New York dance based companies based in the language of Swing and Vernacular Jazz: Wild Rhythm Dance Company and Gatsby Entertainment. These two companies have presented feature performances on stages like Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Series, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, 92nd St Y, Midsummer Night Swing at Lincoln Center, The Great Gatsby Party and many appearances at the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center. Wild Rhythm is a current dance company in residence at Brooklyn College through the CUNY Dance Initiative program for the 2019-2020 season. In the classroom, she is playful, informative and honest. Through teaching dance, she seeks connect new audiences to the immensely rich history of swing-era dances. She prioritizes equality for followers and leaders in the classroom space — and has championed a movement first approach to teaching partnered dance content.
|Juan Cuadra Juan Cuadra first fell in love with jazz music at age 10 and after moving to the Bay Area naturally fell into dancing to the music he loved so dearly. While in the Bay Area Juan taught swing dancing classes on the UC Berkeley campus (Lindy on Sproul) for 3 years and performed with the swing dance troupe, the Sproul Stompers for 2 years. As a teacher and social dancer, Juan focuses on solid foundations, an active partnership, and clarity. To Juan, lindy hop is a joyful, silly, physical manifestation of jazz music and therefore emphasizes having fun, listening to the music, and being creative.
|Bryson Daich started dancing ballroom at the age of ten. His parents ran a social ballroom dancing club threw one of the local collages . He has taught lindy hop, blues and westcoast swing workshops all over the USA. he has also won or placed in comps all over the USA in all three dances as well And has spent several years on the road just teaching dance traveling city to city .
|Eric Eltringham interest in swing dancing was first sparked by movies in 1999 and after some experimenting, he was drawn to Lindy Hop in 2005. Despite challenges like having 2 left feet and feeling inadequate, he devoted himself to continual improvement and has competed and danced all over the US and in Sweden. He has been a standard fixture at LindyGroove in Pasadena over the years and love teaching about music, movement, connection, improvisation and having fun most of all!
|Natalia Eristavi has been dancing since she was 5 years old. Like many young girls, she explored Ballet, Tap, Jazz and even figure skating. In 2010 Natalia began dancing Lindy Hop at Atomic Ballroom and came to not only love it, but practically obsess over it. Shortly after, she discovered Balboa and obsessed over it all the same. As an outcome of consistently practicing most of the days of the week, she progressed rapidly. Natalia adores teaching and finds it a growing experience for both herself and her students. Her goal with each student is to help them find what she believes makes Lindy Hop a beautiful dance. Once you find it and experience it, not a lot will compare.
|Laura Evans Bio coming soon...
|Masha Fausto Masha started dancing in 2006 and considers it her mission to get people to fall in love with the dance in general - as in living the music through the body. Swing dance happens to be her favorite way of doing that. While teaching, she tries to approach each student individually, pay attention to details, and exercise precision in technique while keeping it fun. And most of all - to inspire musicality, creativity, and personal style in her students. Show-off, social floor animal, joyful multi-style dancer, and up for anything DJs might throw her way.
|Augie Freeman has been teaching Lindy Hop for the past four years. He has traveled across this wide world to study with some of the most renowned instructors and competitors in the business. His teaching is focussed on dance in a social context and, therefore, focusses on technique, musicality, and helping each student find the dancer within themselves. Augie is always striving to make himself a better dancer and a better to teacher to help push the dance community in Southern California to a higher level while never forgetting what the dance is all about, fun.
|Debbie Gitt is known for her unique and innovative styling, creative musicality, and high energy on the social and competitive dance floor. She began dancing the lindy hop in 1997, and has had the privilege of training, competing, and performing different styles and techniques of lindy hop with dancers all over the United States and Europe. Continuing to add to her repertoire of crazy yet musical styling variations, Debbie has also trained under many of the top Westcoast Swing Dance and Carolina Shag Dance Champions. Here in LA, Debbie is one of the key players in maintaining the world renown dance venue, LindyGroove. Debbie is the 2002 American Lindy Hop Championship's 'Classic Division' Champion, and was the 1st place champion in the Strictly Lindy Division at Boogie By the Bay 2002 and 2003. In 2003 she was runner up in Strictly Lindy at the US Open Swing Dance Championships, and at the 2004 National Jitterbug Championships she received 2nd place in the Pro Lindy Division and 3rd place in the Pro Jack and Jill division.
|Dave Graybill started dancing in 1994, and competing at Lindy Hop in 1998, and has since earned the titles of U.S. Open Swing Dance Champion, American Lindy Hop Champion, Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown Champion, Georgia State Open Champion, Virginia State Open Champion, New Year’s Dance Extravaganza & Swingin’ New England Dance Champion and, with Eden Atencio, was the first ever to receive the Lindy Hop Ambassador prize from the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts, honoring the memory of the great Frankie Manning.
|Amanda Hanson Gates has been dancing since the age of 5 and has extensive training in ballet, jazz and tap, swing and ballroom dances. She first fell in love with Lindy Hop in 1999 while dancing at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Since then she has traveled, taught and competed across the country. She loves the social nature and lead follow communication of lindy hop. Her classes focus on how to make the dance more enjoyable for both partners through improving connection and teamwork. She looks forward to helping you maximize your fun on the dance floor.
|Karine Hermes has background in ballet, jazz and belly dance before swing. One of the main names in Brazil, she gathered experience learning many different styles and approaches around the world. Elegant, graceful and musical, she currently teaches with lindy and collegiate shag champion Stephen Sayer, in Los Angeles and internationally.
|Dax Hock is an ultra passionate teacher and avid Lindy Hopper. He has been dancing, teaching and competing internationally for over 15 years and is finally settling down in Los Angeles to work locally at the Lindy Loft!
He is known for his keen understanding of body movement, rhythm and communicating body movement between partners for the most advanced forms of improvised social dancing.
|Andrew Jose discovered swing dancing in 2008, and quickly fell in love with lindy hop. An avid social dancer, he would regularly go 5 or more nights a week to dance, and is still very active in the Orange County and LA scenes. Andrew is a member of two fantastic OC swing dance troupes, the Atomic Lindy Hop Colliders and the Fly Rights. As a teacher, he focuses on building a solid foundation by practicing good basics and movements. He also emphasizes good partnership; connection, attentiveness to his partner, and teamwork are some of the values he holds dear as a lindy hopper.
|Sheri Kang Yau was first exposed to swing dancing at the Hi-Ball Lounge in San Francisco while visiting friends. She had so much fun that when she returned home to Southern California she started taking lessons, workshops, and dancing with the famous Pasadena Ballroom Dance Association. Sheri wanted to get better and be in the highest track possible at workshop weekends, and boy did she get better. Through dancing, Sheri met her main dance partner and now husband Ben Yau. Since those “humble” beginnings, Sheri has traveled the world to compete, teach, judge competitions, and of course DANCE her butt off! As One2Swing, Ben & Sheri continue to build the community through weekly classes, private lessons, workshops, their popular “Third Saturday Swing” venue, and through their memorable One2Swing Jitterbug team performances. Sheri’s mission has been to entertain, energize, and inspire others through dance and she is still going strong! She’s very happy to be a part of the LindyGroove and looks forward to re-connecting with old friends and meeting new friends!
|Amanda Karns fell in love with partner dancing in college. After graduation she continued dancing in and around her home state of Michigan and then pursued this amazing and addictive hobby when she packed up her car and moved to Los Angeles. Almost 20 years after her first rock step, not only has Mandy dabbled in various styles of swing and blues dancing but she has helped build and support several local dance communities. She has a great love for dancing, evident in her fun and playful style, and she enjoys sharing her passion with others. Make sure to save her a dance!
|Josiah Keagy is known for the energy he brings to the dance floor. He has never missed a week since he started in 2012. He emphasizes connection, creativity, musicality, and plain goofiness when he dances. As a dancer he is always looking at ways to improve and push the limits of his own dancing as well as contributing to the evolution of the dance. He loves to dance with dancers of all levels and is constantly trying to spread his love for dancing. Josiah strives to make dancing more accessible in the inland empire. To do so, He helps run a weekly swing venue called Metro Swing located in Pomona where he teaches weekly.
|Sara Lapan flipped through her youth, training as a gymnast, and tumbled straight into swing and blues dances hard in 2003. She has been enamored with both dances ever since. Besides exploring the many different styles of swing dance and blues dance, Sara has dallied with other dances including Argentine tango, tap, and solo jazz -- performing with an all-girl jazz dance troupe for several years while living in Michigan. Sara is passionate about swing and blues dancing and has devoted a considerable amount of time refining, teaching, and promoting these dances. Over the years, Sara could regularly be found teaching dance (and math!) in the communities she has lived, from Michigan to Chicago to (now) Los Angeles as well as at workshops around the country. More info at jeffandsaradance.com
|Marlee Litzinger [BLUES] started dancing at a young age, studying ballet, tap, and jazz for 10+ years and later minoring in Dance. She found social dancing during college orientation and was instantly hooked on blues dancing and lindy hop. Since joining the social dance community, you can find her teaching, DJing, and organizing blues in California. As a dance geek, she loves attending workshops to advance her own understanding as well as incorporating concepts into her lessons.
|Teni Lopez-Cardenas Bio coming soon!
|Heather Martelle first learned Lindy Hop at the Carnation Plaza in Disneyland in 2001. Since getting the Lindy bug, she has taken her dancing all around SoCal and even taught a beginning class in Uganda in 2008. Since returning to the states, Pasadena and LindyGroove has been her home. She loves to add in silly moves to her lindy, especially "Spank the Baby" and believes in having fun most of all!
|Melissa Marzigliano fell in love with lindy hop in 2011, and hasn’t stopped dancing since! She’s enjoyed choreographing, teaching, competing, and most recently can be found DJing some of her favorite tunes. She’s had the pleasure of teaching in lindy hop, charleston, solo jazz, and more! Musicality, improvisation, and finding your voice in the dance are some of her favorite topics. When she’s not out on the lindy hop floor, Melissa can be found doing various urban dance styles throughout the SoCal area.
|Ioanna Meli Ioanna Meli first discovered Lindyhop in 2015 in her hometown of Athens, Greece. Soon after, she started training with world-class dancers in Los Angeles where she is based. Ioanna teaches workshops, regularly competes and has earned placements in regional and national events like Camp Hollywood, Lindyfest, Inspiration Weekend and Lindy on The Rocks. She has also performed with “The Hollywood Hotshots” in live events and commercials. When teaching, Ioanna puts emphasis on building a solid foundation around connection, technique, partnership awareness and musicality. Her favorite thing about swing-dancing is that it requires technique but at the same time allows room for so much playfulness and musicality! It puts a smile on people’s face, whether they dance or watch! www.ioannameli.com
|Jeff Meyer is known for being a fun, friendly, and approachable dancer who, as a good friend noted, “can’t keep a smile off his face on the dance floor.” Jeff values partnership and connection, and since 2003, has sought out, learned, and refined numerous social dances that support these values -- including the many styles of swing and blues dance. Jeff is passionate about sharing his knowledge of swing and blues dancing and he draws upon his broad social dance background to inform how he teaches. Jeff strongly believes in giving students the tools to construct their own dance, so he emphasizes fundamental building blocks of the dance that are easily communicated and can be put together to create innovative and complex patterns. Jeff has taught dance all over the country and is currently based in Los Angeles. More info at jeffandsaradance.com
|Keegan Mullin began lindy hopping in 2011 and quickly developed a passion for the dance. He ran the Chapman Swing Club at Chapman University for four years, has been a member of several performance groups, and has taught at venues and private events around the Southern California area. Although Keegan is an avid competitor, he has a particular love for building a sense of community through lindy hop. To Keegan, the dance is a beautiful means of self-expression, communication, and bringing people together.
|Christine Nguyen started lindy hopping in 2008, thanks to City College of San Francisco and the renowned Carla Heiney. Her teaching style is carefree and fun yet technical, with a focus on showing students how to use solid technique to discover and express their unique voices.
|Tim ONeill [BLUES] started dancing in 1997 and couldn’t stop! He has studied and taught Blues, Lindy, Ballroom, and Argentine Tango and even wrote two theses for an MA in Sociology on social dynamics and body language observed in dance venues. Since 2009 he has trained or taught at over fifty events and has thirteen Blues competition titles to his name from the biggest events in the US. Tim believes the best way to dance is to have fun, and learning dance enhances that ability. When taking Tim’s classes expect to laugh, have fun, be entertained, and learn—a lot. And be sure to ask him to dance!
|Marlene Pinel had always wanted to learn to dance, even before she knew it was "popular". Classic movies, dancing, and "swinging" music were always on her list of favorite things. Swing dancing entered her life after high school and it united her with her 4 siblings. PBDA graciously and patiently took her and her family under their wing. Swing Camp Catalina exposed her to inspiring dancers & amazing dance legends including Frankie Manning, Steven Mitchell, and the "Stevens Sisters". Marlene was naturally athletic and quickly picked up the steps and (because of her gawky, uncoordinated brother) the ability to follow anyone. Marlene helped to teach her family and friends how to dance and they would dance ANY TIME and ANYWHERE. By 1996, Saturday night dancing at Disneyland Carnation Plaza became a weekly staple for Marlene, her siblings Dora & Alan and her “cousins,” followed by Sunday evenings at Twin Palms Restaurant in Pasadena. Marlene inspires people with her infections smile and is really fun to dance with.
|Alan Pinel was drawn to swing music early in life through Sunday afternoon classic movies & watching live big bands at Disneyland. In 1994, Alan was “bribed” into taking his first ballroom dance class by “the girl next door.” He visited Pasadena Ballroom Dance Association (PBDA), and he quickly fell in love with dancing. He soon convinced both of his younger sisters (Marlene & Dora) to join him at class. A chance meeting with, Steven Mitchell changed his life and gave him a new perspective and appreciation for Lindy Hop and the various ways to teach to a variety of students. Swing Camp Catalina exposed him to inspiring dancers & amazing dance legends including his mentor, Frankie Manning. The term “two left feet” was easily applied to Alan. With passion, persistence and help from great instructors (and VERY patient sisters), Alan was transformed from a gawky kid into a gawky kid who could dance. Alan started teaching his friends how to dance and they would dance ANY TIME and ANYWHERE. Alan prides himself on being able to share his love for dance with even the most uncoordinated dancers. If he can learn to dance, anyone can. WARNING: Beware of his corny jokes!
|Shaheed Qaasim is an exceptional multifaceted performer and instructor. He started young with Jazz and Hip-Hop. In 2005 he visited LindyGroove for Halloween and his love for partner dancing began. Shaheed is one of the few leaders in the country who is proficient in Blues, Lindy Hop and Westcoast swing. His natural talent and extensive training has given him an innovative style and musical creativity that is inspiring to watch. His loveable personality and comedic teaching style offers students easier access and faster progress.
|Paul Riding runs a weekly dance venue in his hometown of Apple Valley, CA called Jitterbug 66. He has been lindy hopping for over 10 years in the SoCal scene and loves to teach, perform and compete. He started dancing in Riverside, and now regularly dances at the Metro in Pomona. He has competed with “The Bobbysox Brigade,” performed with “The Hollywood Hotshots” and earned third place in Camp Hollywood’s Intergenerational competition. Paul’s favorite thing about swing dancing is that tingly feeling you get when when a jazz soloist, a lead, and a follow share a totally awesome moment in which all parties improvisation perfectly correspond.
|Isabella Robledo (Izy) has been dancing since she was 5 years old, but didn’t discover Swing Dancing until 2017. She immediately fell in love. Through YouTube she discovered some very inspiring dancers and started traveling to events all over the country to take classes, social dance, and compete. She loves the collaborative aspects of Solo Jazz, Lindy Hop, Balboa, and Shag. She also loves creating choreographies and performing. Valuing fun, individuality and connection she hopes to help people find joy on the dance floor with or without a partner. Follow her on Instagram to see some of her dance creations and tutorials at @izyrobledo.
|Laurel Ryan fell in love with swing music nearly three decades before she threw herself into the dance. Soon after her first lindy hop crash course Laurel was attending every event she could reach across the Midwest, jonesing for another dance to a live band. Laurel’s background as a teacher and world traveler serves to fuel her passion for learning and teaching swing dance. She nerds out on putting educational theory into practice to better serve her dance students. Her passion for diversity on the social floor helps her encourage dancers to be themselves. Laurel’s goal is to help preserve lindy hop’s roots as a social street dance while re-translating partner roles for continued relevance in modern culture.
|Roy Samson is a local Los Angeles dancer who induces smiles from people he dances with or those who are simply watching him dance. He started dancing Filipino cultural dances with Sining Ginto (Golden Theater) and learned other ballroom dances from all the "Aunties" and "Uncles" at family parties. After learning his first swingout in 2001, he caught the jitterbug and never recovered. He continues to perform and compete with Ben and Sheri's "One 2 Swing Jitterbugs" earning both 1st and 2nd place at the National Jitterbug Championships 2008 team division. He also performs with the Hollywood Hotshots and has shared the stage with bands such as Mora's Modern Rhythmists, Steve Lucky and the Rhumba Bums and others.
|Stephen Sayer is a swing dance instructor, performer and choreographer based out of Los Angeles. While having a love for all things that swing, he specializes in 40’s and 50’s LA Style Lindy and Collegiate Shag. He has won countless titles in Lindy Hop and Collegiate Shag competitions at such events as Camp Hollywood, US Open, Camp Jitterbug, ILHC, and was inducted into the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame in 2012. He is also the co-founder and choreographer of the award winning LA Shag and LA Lindy teams. He has taught and performed all across the world and has even shared the stage performing with Aretha Franklin. He is dedicated to preserving and sharing the techniques of his dance inspirations while also bringing in his own style and ideas.
|Doug Silton began dancing in 1992 and since 1999, he has been teaching, competing, and performing internationally. Doug is a three-time American Lindy Hop Champion and a 2-Time World Swing Dance Champion. Doug is the only competitor to ever be a finalist in Lindy Hop, West Coast Swing, and Carolina Shag in the same year at the US Open Swing Dance Championships. Doug is the co-founder of LindyGroove in Pasadena, CA, the largest weekly Swing/Lindy Hop dance venue after 10+ years, teaching his popular (and free) Connection & Musicality class on the first Thursday of the month. Doug also teaches group dance lessons at Caltech in Pasadena, Group Lessons at his Studio On Cliff Dr., and private lessons daily. In his teaching, Doug focuses on connection, centering, and musicality, footwork, and lead/follow techniques, incorporating various aspects of his favorite dances: Lindy Hop, West Coast Swing, Carolina Shag, Salsa, Hip-Hop, Blues, Bachata, Breakdancing, and Balboa.
|Chris Stewart takes great joy in sharing his passion and knowledge of swing dancing with others. For over a decade, Chris has been teaching different aspects of swing dancing be it fast and energetic Harlem style Lindy Hop and Charleston, smooth Lindy whips, Balboa, Blues, or vernacular jazz. His large repertoire of steps comes from deconstructing established moves and rebuilding them in innovative ways, all while keeping the traditional feel of the dance.
Since 1998, Chris has had the fortune to dance atop Little Richards Piano while the legend played, perform professionally throughout California as a co-director/choreographer for a dance troupe, place top five in various divisions of major national contests, and teach internationally in Germany and Spain. He hopes to continue teaching others how to express the music in their dancing while finding their own style.
|Jason Swihart [BALBOA] started swing dancing in 2006 and soon thereafter became obsessed with the elegance and intricacy of Balboa. As a swing dance instructor, he revels in teaching great technique and partnership while finding ways to help dancers learn intuitively.
|Lori Taniguchi comes from a dancing family that loves to get down at weddings. She started Lindy Hop in 2005 at the encouragement of her parents and fell in love with its joyful soul and improvisational creativity. By 2013 she was teaching at her local weekly event, eventually expanding to organizing, DJing, and becoming an emcee to large weekend workshops. More than anything, she believes that the right attitude solves many a technical shortcoming and she's delighted to bring that unquenchable belief to any class, at any skill level, for any age. When she's not dancing, she lives quietly in East Palo Alto with her wife and inexhaustible 3yo pitbull rescue, continually renovating her home in Animal Crossing.
|Erendiz Tarakci was first introduced to Lindy Hop in 2014 at UC Berkeley where she quickly fell in love. She taught, lectured, and choreographed swing dance on campus for 4 years and performed with the swing dance troupe, the Sproul Stompers, for over 3 years. She also helped found The Switch Workshop in 2017 where dancers are encouraged to learn both roles and she continues to prioritize gender-neutral dancing in her teaching and dancing. Erendiz went on to teach social dancing and choreography in Oakland at The Breakaway and is excited to continue her teaching journey in LA. She believes in lowering barriers to entry for the dance and making classes fun and accessible for all learners. As a teacher, she emphasizes a strong foundation based on a connection to the music and your partner, history, and understanding of jazz. Erendiz hopes her classes will get your creative juices flowing and help you express yourself through this wonderful dance.
|Blake Thiessen has been obsessed with Lindy Hop and Balboa ever since his new years resolution's in 2014 to try swing dance classes at Atomic Ballroom. Since then, he's deeply immersed himself in the music, history, and technique behind swing. He's avidly social danced and competed around the world, winning and earning placements at events like Camp Hollywood and Lindyfest. He values connection, musicality, and authenticity to the original dancers. As an teacher, he strives to teaches the most effective, comfortable, and dynamic connection quality in a dance, all while having an abnormal amount of fun.
|Nadiya Upegui-Keagy Bio coming soon...
|Naomi Uyama discovered Lindy Hop in her hometown of Washington DC in 1997. Before graduating high school she had already been hand picked by Aretha Franklin to perform with her onstage, and had won numerous national level contests. Today she is a top performer and competitor and has collected dozens of titles at such major competitions as the US Open Swing Dance Championships and the International Lindy Hop Championships. As an instructor she has taught thousands of students in over 20 countries. Today, she travels the world teaching dance and singing with her band "Naomi & Her Handsome Devils", while calling Minneapolis home.
|Benny White discovered swing dancing after college around 2010 in Greenville, South Carolina. As a musician, this new found experience of moving his body to music was a revelation. Inspired by watching many great performers with the help of the internet, he dove into travelling to events to learn all he could, and eventually found a love for competing and choreographing his own ideas. Valuing fun and playfulness, he hopes to encourage people to find joyful movement out on the dance floor, with or without a partner.
|Jacob Wigger started swing dancing in June of 2003 and hasnt stopped since. He has won and placed in numerous National and International competitions. He enjoys teaching others the techniques he has learned over the years, including styling, connection and the feel of the different swing dances (Lindy Hop, Balboa, and Charleston).
|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 Champion, American Classic Balboa Champion and California Balboa/Swing Champion. Nick was honored to be recognized by the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame. He is also an accomplished choreographer and has choreographed for 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.
|Jalen Williams [BLUES] has been swing and blues dancing for 3 years now. He started back in 2018 at Lindygroove studying under Jeff and Sara in the blues room. He fell in love and started traveling and competing in national blues events. He has been studying and working his way up to become a community leader and teacher in blues.
|Shana Worel [BALBOA] started swing dancing in 1998 and has been a dancer, DJ, organizer, and instructor steadily since. Over the last 20 years, she has taught hundreds of weekly dance classes with students of all levels in Lindy Hop and Balboa. She values guiding students in their own inquiry of the dance and sharing the rich history of swing dance and swing music.
|Ben Yau grew up watching lots of Broadway Musicals. When he first went swing dancing at the “World Famous Derby” in Los Angeles, not only was he amazed at what he saw, he wondered how people could find time to work out the steps with so many different people. They were just as synchronized as the dancers in the shows he used to watch. His friend told him “They’re improvising it!” Ben could not believe this. “No no no..that can’t be. How does she know to kick when he kicks and she knows when to step that way when he steps this way?” His friend replied, “That’s just the magic of swing dancing.” Ben was befuddled. His engineering mind could not make sense of it. So Ben started dancing because he was determined to find out how it worked. Fast forward 14 years and Ben still hasn't figured it all out and he happily adds that it doesn’t matter because he’s fallen in love with Lindy Hop. Through dancing, Ben met his main dance partner and now wife Sheri Yau. They have traveled the world for dance and have met many of their closest friends through dancing. Ben is very happy to be a part of the LindyGroove family and wants everyone to know, “I LOVE LINDY HOP!”
|Kelly Young Kelly has been lindy hopping since 2012. She fell in love with social dancing and was often seen out 4-5 nights a week at venues throughout LA and Orange County. She was able to progress and develop quickly thanks to many hours spent on the social dance floor and in practice rooms with her partner Andrew Jose. While she truly enjoys competing and performing, Kelly believes that the most important component remains social dancing. Kelly believes in fostering great body awareness and solid basics as the foundation of great technique. She believes that great technique creates good communication with your partner.