Minn is one of LA’s favorite competitors and without a doubt one of the most versatile performers in swing dancing today. Inducted into the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame in 2004, he excels in all areas of Vernacular Jazz Dance, including Collegiate Shag, Lindy Hop, Charleston, Balboa, Air Steps, and has an extensive influence on the contemporary movement of urban street dance.
His competition background stems from a long history of 1st place titles in the local, national, and world competition circuit since 1997 including America Lindy Hop Championships, Nation Jitterbug Championships, US Open Lindy Hop Championships, Harlem Jazz Festival, California Balboa-Swing Championships, and many more.
He has made him mark in TV commercials, film, and music videos. His most recent accomplishments include the Los Angeles Finals for the FOX reality series â€œSo You Think You Can Danceâ€ (Season 1), The 55th Annual Emmy Awards, The Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY, and sponsorship from Adidas, Vitamin Water and RedBull. His desire to share his passion for dance with others has introduced him as a guest instructor around the world.
Kristin Sorci has been dancing since she was a wee lass, starting in jazz, tap, and ballet, as every “dance kid” does. She has a ten year background as a gymnast and coach, as well as twenty years in dances including Pointe, Lindy Hop, Pop and Lock, Hip Hop, Balboa, Salsa, Tango, Blues, and West Coast Swing. Her accomplishments include the American Lindy Hop Championships, the US Open Swing Dance Championships, All Balboa Weekend, Camp Hollywood, Swingdiego, SF Balfest, and Northwest Balfest. As a dancer and a musician, Kristin’s focus is breaking down music to movement, inspiring students to think “outside of the box.”
Kristin is continually featured as a choreographer on the hit television show, “So You Think You Can Dance.” She is very excited to be returning to Camp Swing and is honored to be invited to teach with such amazing national and local teachers.
Bringing tremendous variety to the teaching staff this year is Cory Tsang. While he is familiar with many ballroom dances such as (*deep breath*) International Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Quickstep, Viennese Waltz, International Rumba, ChaCha, Samba, Jive, West Coast Swing, Hustle, Night Club 2 Step, Mambo, Salsa, Merengue, (*whew*) and Rueda!!
Heidi began dancing and teaching in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1999 and has been dancing, teaching, and performing ever since. She now lives in San Francisco, California, where she teaches classes, workshops, and private lessons.
Heidi’s expertise includes Lindy Hop and Blues dance and she enjoys helping students of all ages and ability levels improve their dancing. Admired for her clear explanation of fundamentals, Heidi brings to all her classes and workshops not only a focus on solid techniques, but more important, a love of dance and a dedication to the learning process. Heidi is the founder ofFUSION swing dance, a not-for-profit cooperative group of teachers and dancers, and she has helped to organize Blues dance events such as the St. Louis Lindy Blues Exchange 2003-2005 and Cheap Thrills All Blues Weekend 2003-2005, as well as being a featured instructor at numerous workshops across the United States and Canada. Her web site is www.Blues-Dance.com.
Andrew Thigpen was first exposed to the Lindy Hop back in 1998 but didn’t actually develop rhythm until booty dancing in college. Since 2005 Andrew has developed a uniquely energetic style of swing dancing with a focus on fun and just making things work. His only hope is to share his love of the dance and the energy it brings forth with as many people as possible. He also likes dragons and beer.
Steve Sayer started dancing in 1998 in Dayton, Ohio. Since he moved to Los Angeles in 2005 he has taught at Joe’s Great American Bar and Grill every Tuesday, as well as teaching at Lindy Groove, Do Something Blue and his new venue The Low Down. His passion is in partner connection, solo movement and musicallity to all tempo’s of music. He was featured in the LeAnn Rimes music video-Swingin’ and is the 2010 National Shag Champion. He also placed 4th in the 2010 National Jitterbug Championships Advanced JnJ and 3rd in 2009, 2010 International Lindy Hop Championships JnJ. Steve was also nominated to the CA Swing Dance Hall of Fame this year. Fingers crossed for Steve!
Vincenzo started dancing Boogie Woogie in 1989 at the age of 9 and shortly there after began winning national and international competitions. When competing at the Boogie Woogie World Championships in 1998 he was exposed to a new style of dancing: not just aerials or fancy figures, but musical interpretation and improvisation. He quickly became a fan of the swing styles of the 1930s and 1940s (Lindy Hop, Balboa, Charleston) and set out to learn them by studying jazz music and watching old films. After much study he won the European Championship in 1995 and the World Cup in 2002 with his former partners, respectively.
Vincenzo teaches all around the world (usually with his regular partner, Isabella) including the famous Herrang Dance Camp and hosting his own Swing Crash Festival in Lake Como, Italy.
Recent Accomplishments and Camps:
2nd World Lindy Hop Championships 2007
1st Italian Lindy Hop Championships 2006
1st Italian Jitterbug Championships 2006
3rd World Lindy Hop Championships 2005
1st American Strictly Lindy Pro Championships 2005
2nd National Jitterbug Championships 2005
HerrÃ¤ng Dance Camp (Sweden); Rock that Swing, Munich (Germany); Jazz Jam, Vienna (Austria); Boogie Swing Toulouse, Toulouse (France); Boogie Night, Tampere (Finland); Moscow Jazz Festival, Moscow (Russia); Saszlaboogie, Csopak (Hungary); Swing Connexion, Montreal (Canada); Savoy Ball, London (UK); Boogie and Blues Festival, Lugan (Switzerland); Summer Jamboree, Senigallia (Italy); Sweet Swing, Ljubljana (Slovenja).
Johnny, Investment Consultant by day, is one of the founding member of the San Francisco Jitterbugs. He has over 10 years of ballroom and swing dance training, and for the past six years has been teaching, competing, and performing. He has taught at almost every Swing Dance venue in San Francisco. He has been in televised events, full length motion pictures, and have held 1st Place titles to many swing competitions. He has taught regularly at some of the nation’s largest public Swing Dance events. He is also known for his high energy and eye-popping stunts. Check out Johnny and The San Francisco Jitterbugs promo video at http://www.myspace.com/johnnybluejeans1
Jane Xavier Barnes began her lifelong love of dance as soon as she could walk to a beat. Her earliest training at age 4 began with jazz, ballet and tap and several musical instruments. Today, Jane is an accomplished dance teacher, choreographer, and performer in Lindy Hop, Balboa, Jazz, Tap, Vintage Partner Dances and Theatre Arts.
Jane has taught extensively in high schools, nightclubs and ballrooms. In 1999-2003 she taught, trained and managed “The Subway Express,” a troupe of teen Lindy Hop dancers, many of whom placed high in the Junior Lindy Hop Division of the US Swing Open and continued to win national and world competitions. Her former students still travel the world performing, teaching and competing today. She choreographs for the Deco Bells, a group of young women who perform vintage showgirl-type routines for the Art Deco Society of Northern California and is the reining Miss Art Deco for 2008!
Jane has been active in the performing arts since her early years and earned a Bachelors Degree in Dramatic Arts at Mills College. She frequently performs as a dancer, actress and singer in professional, community and corporate venues throughout the West Coast. Jane Barnes is also a couture and clothing designer of high reputation and a licensed hairstylist specializing in color, everyday cuts and special occasion vintage looks.
Mihai Banulescu has taught swing dancing at Dartmouth College, where he earned a Psychology degree. As an experienced high school teacher and tutor, he applies his expertise in theories of learning on the dance floor, responding sensitively to his students’ needs. Mihai began concentrating on blues dance after moving to San Francisco, where he has established a reputation as a workshop instructor along the West Coast. Mihai runs the popular ‘Friday Night Blues’ in San Francisco.
Jason is an exceptional dancer, a talented choreographer, cofounder of the Dog House in San Francisco and the dance group Loose Change, and a popular instructor. Jason has taught previously with swing legends Sylvia Sykes, Virginie and of course our very own Jenna Chalmers. Jason is in high demand at workshops throughout the World.
Kevin St. Laurent began his dancing career at the young age of eight years. Though initially reluctant, his mother (‘Thank you Mom’) insisted he “try it” for a little while. He’s been ‘trying’ it ever since. His initial 3 years were spent studying tap, ballet, and jazz.
Kevin has studied a plethora of other dance styles including, Hungarian Couple Dancing, Mexican Folklorico, Contra Dancing, Scandinavian Couple Dancing, Modern Dance, West African Dancing, Break Dancing, Hip Hop, Balkan Line Dances (including Bulgarian, Greek, Bosnian, Croatian, Romanian, Turkish & Serbian), Ballroom Standards, Scottish Country Dancing, and a few others to boot.
Kevin teaches and performs regularly all over North America, Europe, & Australia.
Now living in Los Angeles, Patrick began dancing and teaching in Albuquerque, NM, where he was instrumental in developing a Lindy Hop and Balboa scene. Having competed, performed, and taught workshops around the country, Patrick continues to bring a playful and creative spirit to dancing. He teaches a weekly class at LindyGroove that focuses on the foundations of movement and partnering while sharing with students the history of Lindy Hop and Balboa.
Raised by the L.A. scene, Ryan Hitchin has been dancing at swing and jazz events in the greater Los Angeles area since the age of 12, and has been a swing addict for the past 14 years. As a jazz musician, Ryan’s connection to the music shines in his dancing. He truly lets it all hang out on the floor, and is constantly searching for new ways to express himself through lindy hop.
Ryan has been teaching in the local community for the last two years, and assisted the aerials classes at ALHC 2007. A local follow favorite, Ryan has won and placed in numerous Jack and Jill contests. He performed and competed with the U.S. Open and ALHC 1st place team champions, Supercalilindylicious.
A few of his other accomplishments include:
- 2nd The Bayside Lindy Battle 2009
- 1st International Lindy Hop Championships Open Jack & Jill 2008
- 3rd National Jitterbug Championships Amateur Jack & Jill 2007
- 2nd National Jitterbug Championships Team Division 2007
- 2nd American Lindy Hop Championships Open Jack & Jill 2007
2005 National and International Bal-Swing Champions Steve & Heidi are considered one of the best Swing Dance couples in the world. From San Francisco to New York, Moscow to Budapest, they are sought after for classes, workshops and private lessons. With over 20 years of combined teaching experience, Steve & Heidi not only bring their knowledge of the way Balboa and LA Style Swing Dancing was originally done in the 30′s & 40′s but also bring lots of fun and exciting moves they have created and innovated over the years, combining LA Swing and Savoy Styles with Balboa.
Steve & Heidi travel around the globe bringing their knowledge and skills to dancers everywhere. They also teach countless students in their home using their Instructional Swing Dance DVD.
Christian is a SoCal dancer from Riverside, and a former member of the Rhythm Rascals dance team. His energy and musicality are infectious, and being on the other end of his swingout is like riding in a Mercedes S Class.
Stephen Barlow has been dancing since 1990. His wide spectrum of experience ranges through lindy hop, ballroom, latin, swing, hip hop, house, acid jazz, breaking, acrobatics and martial arts. He has appeared in music videos, promotional videos, and a CD-ROM about swing dancing, as well as performing on stage with The Brian Setzer Orchestra and The Manhattan Transfer. Stephen teaches weekly swing classes, and is a founding member of the swing dance group “Bay City Boogie”. He has achieved national acclaim performing and competing with the award-winning, Lindy/Hip Hop fusion group, Loose Change at events including the North Atlantic Dance Championships, the San Francisco Hip Hop Dancefest and the US Open.
Jessica Jacobson, 2004, 2006, 2007
Jeremy is the founder and host of San Francisco’s monthly Move to the Groove Dance Party (www.movetothegroove.com), where you’ll find an eclectic mix of people and music. Jeremy, who has been dancing since 1975, studied Jive at the Brett’s Dance School in Oxford, UK, 1980, 81, and African-Jazz dance at the Molly Merien’s Roots Dance Theater in the Hague, the Netherlands, from 1986, 88. Jeremy won first place in the Palo Alto Festival of the Arts Swing Dance Contest in 1992, was awarded the first Ben Oliver Memorial Award in 1998, and won second place in the Monsters of Swing Slow Jack & Jill Contest 2000. Jeremy performed with the Flyin’ Lindy Hoppers at the Walt Disney Fantasia 2000 Millenium Party and taught Creative Swing classes on the DanceFun Lindy Cruise (2000) and at the DanceFun Las Vegas Swing Camp (2000). Jeremy, a professional portrait painter and computer artist (www.jeremysutton.com), brings a playful, creative and improvisational energy to his dance.
Swing OUT! Founder Kristin Long & her dance partner Erin have been dancing and teaching swing to the queer crowd since 1998. As founders/members of SwingOUT! Queer Swing San Francisco, they have pioneered the gay & lesbian lindy hop movement in the Bay Area. SwingOUT! has performed throughout California and internationally at the Gay Games cultural festival in Sydney Australia in November 2002. In 2005 Kristin took first place at the Northern California Same-Sex Lindy Hop Champions as a follow.
Richie Roca, 2005
Richie Roca has been swing dancing for 12 years. He is a ranked competitor and an old-school jazz dance purist with a passion to preserve and popularize vintage styles of swing dancing. He has competed in and won many dance competitions: Camp Hollywood (1998, 2001 lindy hop), The Palace (1998 lindy hop), Blast From The Past (1999 lindy hop), Tower Records Swing Competition (1999 lindy hop), Boogie By The Bay (2005 solo charleston) to name just a few. He has also been a featured dancer in various music videos and special events such as the In And Out Burger 50th anniversary and the 55th annual Emmy Awards. Originally from Los Angeles, Richie currently lives in Solano County where he is available to teach hip-hop and swing dancing.
Josie Say, 2002
Josie Say, from Orange, CA, is an international instructor, performer, and choreographer, whose work has been featured in film, TV, videos, and stage shows. Teaching credits include workshops in Japan, The Camp in Stockholm, the Herrang Dance Camp, the San Francisco/ Oakland Swing Dance Festival, The Great Southwest LindyFest in Texas, and clubs like The Derby. Performances include the World Lindy Hop Championships in Sweden, “The 13th Floor,” “The Roseanne Show,” “Swing Alive!,” The Rose Parade, festivities for the Grammy Awards, and various Disney shows. Showing her versatility as a social dancer, she has not only won such contests as the 1998 Harvest Moon Ball and San Francisco Swing Jam with different partners, but has worked with world-class leaders like David Dalmo, Steven Mitchell, Lennart Westerlund, Chazz Young, and the legendary Frankie Manning. Josie is most widely known for her fusion of hip hop and lindy hop, but also incorporates elements of her training in jazz, tap, African, Brazilian, and musical theatre. Currently, she serves on the board of concept development for Armor of Light where she produces and choreographs for their Defining Moment tour.
Peter Vawter is one of the most musical lindy dancers in the world. His singular position as musician turned dancer has allowed him to capitalize on his vast musical knowledge, and use that as a foundation for what has become his very unique, and effective style of dance. His dancing is so effective, that he has won the American Strictly title which requires impromptu creativity and great musicality, because the dancers aren’t aware of the music selection before they compete! His musicality is also evident in his choreography, in which his blues focus has allowed him to win the American Blues title twice! His teaching skills have been honed over the last 4 years of his total 8 years of Lindy Hop, and students love his energetic and musicality based approach. Currently living in Osaka, Peter is the resident philanthropist of Mechakucha swing, donating his time, knowledge, experience, and creativity to help nourish swing in Japan, his home of 2 years.
Meleksah, 2000, 2001
We are thrilled to have Allen and Meleksah with us this year. Many of you may know that they have taught and performed extensively throughout the nation. With years of experience in many styles of dance they bring clarity, passion, and humor to their classes. Through their work with Homestyle: The Integration Project, Allen and Meleksah have brought legendary musicians and instructors to the San Francisco Swing Scene. A handful of accomplishments include performances with The Kennedy Center, Macy’s Passport Fashion Show, The Lucas Arts Academy Awards Celebration, The San Francisco Jazz Organization, The Annual Hip Hop Dance Festival, as well as numerous movies, music videos, and commercials.
Belly Dance Artist Angell has been dancing practically since she could walk. Starting with ballet, jazz and modern she was soon drawn towards the ethnic styles of dance. She has studied Middle-Eastern, Tunisian, Afro-Cuban, Samba and has become well-versed in Salsa. Angell has performed with numerous acclaimed dance companies, including John Compton’s “Habi’ru”, “Jillilina and the Sahlala Dancers”, and most recently a highlighted dancer and choreographer with “Flowers of the Desert” Arabian dance company. Angell has been the featured dancer at popular Middle-Eastern nightclubs in the Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York areas. Currently, Angell is teaching Belly Dance at Alice Arts in Oakland. Angell’s style is an innovative blend of the many dances she feels are so close to her heart. She delivers a strong, emotionally exciting show that has inspired many.
Sarah Gren has been dancing since 1975, beginning in her mother’s middle eastern troupe, Which stemmed from the Bert Baladine school. She has since been dancing, acting, singing, and promoting general mayhem wherever possible. In addition to growing up in a theatrically inclined family, Sarah has received extensive training in classical, modern and folk dance, choral and solo vocalization, advanced drama, piano, lighting and sound tech, and set design. Her dance spectrum includes ballet, tap, jazz, cabaret bellydance, traditional middle eastern, hula, irish step, irish ceilidh, scottish highland, folkloric basque, lindy hop, east coast, modern and traditional cancan, and much more. Sarah’s other projects include acting, singing, choreography and set design for the Stark Ravens Historical Players, dancing with the Art Deco Society’s Decobelles, and co-directing (with Jenna Chalmers) the multi-theme dance troupe, Retro Cabaret.
Jeremy Nurse, 2000
Jeremy is one of our special campers who returned to Camp Swing as teacher! In fact, Jeremy had only taken one swing lesson when he showed up at his first Camp Swing. Jeremy was an experienced latin dancer and took to swing quickly, even going on to perform with Micah and Jenna’s original performance team, ‘Bay City Boogie.’ We miss Jeremy and hope we will make a return to Camp Swing soon!
Rachael Brice, 2000
Rachel Brice has been studying Yoga and Belly Dance since the age of seventeen. She began teaching Yoga in 1996, after 7 years of Yoga practice and then training with Erich Schiffman. Also in 1996, she became a Certified Massage Therapist, and was a Chiropractic Assistant for three years.
She first fell in love with Belly Dance after watching the famous Hahbi’Ru at the Northern California Renassance Faire. Immediately she began taking classes with Atesh, director of Atesh Dance Troupe in Orange County.
Soon after, she discovered a video of Suhaila Salimpour’s, and began to coach herself by watching Suhaila frame by frame, and video taping herself for analysis.
After performing for a few years, Rachel gave up dance altogether to pursue Massage Therapy and Yoga. Four years later, a move to Santa Cruz, CA, and an accidental discovery of the performing arts community there led her to “What is Art?” (a small experimental performance space), and back to Belly Dance.
With a renewed interest in dance, she decided to study full time, and relocate for the University program in Dance Ethnology at San Francisco State. The Bay area is home to Master Teachers Carolina Nericcio, Director of Fat Chance Belly Dance, and Suhaila Salimpour, which was also influential in Rachel’s decision to relocate. While in the Bay Area, she teaches Yoga and Belly Dance for Pixar Animation Studios, and 7th Heaven Yoga, and takes classes with Fat Chance Belly Dance.
Currently, Rachel’s is finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Dance Ethnology at San Francisco State University, where she’s studied Kathak (North Indian Classical Dance), Flamenco, Afro-Haitian, Dunham Technique, Modern Dance, and Choreography. She’s also touring with members of the Indigo and the Belly Dance Superstars project, and teaching Yoga in San Francisco.
The Flyin’ Lindy Hoppers, 1998, 1999
Creators of the famous “Monsters of Swing” week end in Ventura California, these two will get everyone dancing. The Flyin’ Lindy Hoppers teach and perform all over the country. Sophisticated choreography, amazing aerials, and a down to earth attitude….
Kory & Lisa, 1999
Kory and Lisa (www.korysdiner.com) relocated to San Francisco from the Southland. Kory and Lisa specialize in what is known as “Hollywood” or Dean Collins style Lindy Hop. They will offer classes in styling, as well as the basics.
With extensive training in ballet, jazz, hip-hop/funk, tap, Swing, and Lindy Hop, Mo has been dancing for 25 years and has over 16 years teaching experience. He’s also a gymnast and a Black-belt in Okinawan Karate. His credentials are almost too numerous to list, but some highlights follow. This summer he toured Europe and Canada with the Smithsonian Orchestra in a performance honoring the centennial of Duke Ellington’s birth. Coming off this tour, he placed first in the Disney Swing marathon, with a time of 29 hours! He has choreographed theatrical productions such as “Godspell”. Some dance credits include dancing in Superbowl XXII’s half time show with Chubby Checker, playing Cheshire Cat in “Alice in Wonderland”, swing dancing in various music videos, and last Christmas season he danced in the “Chocolate Nutcracker”!
Dance is this man’s passion, and we are honored to have him extend his knowledge of dance to our community.
Michael and Persephone come to you from the San Francisco Bay Area, where Michael was one of the first in the current swing revival to offer regular Lindy Hop classes back in 1995. Persephone joined the “Shag Daddy” in 1997 and together they travel across the western United States teaching and performing Lindy Hop, East Coast Swing, Balboa, and St. Louis Shag. In these workshops and in their regular weekly classes Michael and Persephone are known for their unusually high quality of instruction, as they provide every detail the students need for enjoyable lead-and-follow social dancing.
Ria DeBiase, 2000
Ria DeBiase has been teaching Lindy Hop for over seven years, both in the U.S. and in Europe. She has also studied Historical Jazz, Ballet, Gymnastics and Hip Hop. her dance style is energetic and musical, and she is comfortable being playful and funky. Ria has been competing and performing since 1998. In Spring.Summer of 2003, Ria toured Canada and the USA with the Harlem Hot Shots. Recently, she has won competitions at the U.S. Open, Camp Hollywood, and the World Lindy Hop Championships.
Maggie Moon, 2000
Maggie has won national and international competitions including the 2000 World Lindy Hop Championhip, 2001 NADC Lindy Hop Championship, 2000 and 2001 ALHC Championships (top placements in multiple divisions).
She has taught at Sweden’s Herrang Dance Camp, and the Singapore Jazz Festival, as well as workshops across the United States.