Micki Balder has rhythm, dancing, and who can ask for anything more?
But seriously, Micki took her first swing lesson with the NYU Swing
Society in 2005, initially hated it because it was too much fun (read:
completely different from competitive collegiate ballroom), and then
fell in love with it three years later after renouncing
jive-and-ballroom-style-east-coast-swing-to-bad-pop-music in favor of
lindy hop, jazz, and vintage culture.
Micki is known for her obsessive dance habits, her ability to drop
money on flights to dance events with no regard for her living
expenses, and her sweet solo moves. She values an awesome pulse,
killer swing outs, and mind-boggling syncopated footwork. Her dancing
is clear and clean, with dirty, jazzy, and sassy styling. She is also
especially skilled at rocking "that moment at a break where you and
your partner both happen to do the same styling at the same time
making you look like total pros." With her years of dance experience,
her commitment to solid fundamentals, and infectious laughter, Micki
brings smiles and skill(z) to everything she does, whether it's social
dancing, competing, or teaching. If you travel to any national Lindy
Hop event, say hi to her--she's probably there.
Carl Herrmann grew up in rural Illinois, and would like to report that it’s a good place to be from. In 2008, he started dancing in pursuit of a woman. Before too long, he was over her, but he hasn't been able to stop dancing. He is shocked that they have not made a romantic comedy about his life yet. He is known for his improvisational dancing, unique sense of style, and, most of all, his deep thoughts. He thinks about dancing as about momentum, communication, and fun. He loves rules - because they are fun to break.
Mike is a passionate aficionado of jazz and blues dances, known all over the world for her friendliness, teaching skills, beautiful following, and expressive dancing. She brings both vibrant energy and technical precision to the classroom, and strives to make every social dance the best experience possible. Mike’s teaching history is extensive; having taught at a range of events from residencies to international workshops to private trainings, she brings preparation and flexibility to every class. A typical class could involve students morphing into robot penguins or seaweed, standing on one foot with their eyes closed, or analyzing chord changes- all in the pursuit of better dancing. Regardless of the material, her classes always include a mix of abstract and concrete topics, plenty of levity, and challenging homework to help students improve long after class has ended.
Sometime around 1999, Lee Tucker made his first foray into swing dancing near Ithaca, NY at an assembly of his high school chorus. However, not even the allure of sopranos doing Charleston could overcome his awkward adolescence. Nearly four years later and 1,000 miles away as a college freshman in Minnesota, Lee was finally ready to try again. Needless to say, this second experiment was much more successful, and dancing has remained a major part of his life ever since.
After a four-year stint in DC, Lee moved to Boston in August 2010 to begin his PhD in Economics, and he has become a fixture of the local and regional dance communities. Lee is an active teacher, DJ, competitor, and social dancer. He has won or placed at events around the country such as the Big Big Event (DC), Lindy on the Rocks (CO), the Wicked Lindy Weekend (MA), Midwest Lindyfest (MN), and the Orange County (CA) Inspiration Weekend. He is also the 2008 International Lindy Hop Pro-Am Champion, and is fond of using that title to impress his non-dancing friends' parents. Lee believes in the value of Lindy Hop as a social dance, and his teaching style emphasizes developing technique that gives both leaders and followers more options to explore their own creativity.
Chris is known in the Blues and Swing dance community for his musicality, creativity, and fun-loving spirit. A self-proclaimed Lindy Hop addict until he found Blues in 2006, Chris was drawn into dancing by its unique freedom of expression. Since then he has created a style of his own, with influences from Tango, Ballroom, and everything in between.
Chris loves the challenge and camaraderie of national Blues and Swing competitions — Give him any song and any partner, and he's going to have fun. He is adored by students everywhere from Hawaii to Heidelberg, and his teaching and dancing can be summed up best by this quote: "Technique? Check. Fun moves? Check. Playful attitude? Check!"
Liz has been dancing lindy hop since 2000, and teaching since 2005. A self-proclaimed "connection junkie," she finds joy in shared movement, momentum, and playful inspiration. A dynamic, creative, and innovative instructor, she is known for leaping around enthusiastically when her students have 'aha' moments! She's also a fan of tricks and aerials, and loves learning and teaching the solid dance technique which makes powerful and musically expressive movements possible.
Although she competes periodically at local and national lindy and blues events, Liz focuses mostly on the joy of social dancing. She is currently dabbling in tango, hoping to become 'fluent' in several styles of dance eventually. When not dancing, she works as a therapist, teacher, and graduate student in counseling psychology. She hopes to be a friendly, available, and supportive teacher, and is interested in making our dance community as welcoming, friendly, and lively as possible!
Kellian Adams Pletcher is a sophisticated woman of consequence. mostly. Kellian's goal is to spread the gospel of lindy hop far and wide, to include all breathing humans into the fabulous world of swing and to dance with as many people as possible until her knees fall off. When she's not building games with Green Door Labs or training to become a kung fu master, Kellian spends her time with the Boston Lindy Bomb Squad, a lindy hop flash mob and its cousins, the Lindy Bomb Squad Special Ops (for tactical dance operations) and Lindy Bomb Squad JR (for tactical operations involving 12 year olds.)
Kellian has been dancing for over 10 years and is known respectably as "Yao bai nai nai" or "the grandmother of swing dance" in Shanghai for building one of the very first swing dance clubs in China. She highly recommends Mac Russian red lipstick and you should definitely ask her to dance. Definitely.
Dan Rosenthal is a dynamo of energy, attempting to do all the things, all the time. He strives to excel at all forms of solo and partnered vernacular Jazz dance, from Lindy Hop to Blues, even dabbling in West Coast Swing. Dan loves being the center of attention, whether he's performing, competing, or just being a goon. His recent wins include 2nd Place in the Expert Jack and Jill at Blues Shout 2012, 1st Place at the Canadian Swing Championships 2012 Strictly Blues, 1st Place in the Strictly Blues at Hawkeye Swing Festival, 1st Place in the Slow Groove Competition at Heartland Swing Festival 2012, and Collegiate Jitterbug Champion at Heartland Swing Festival 2012. In addition, Dan has taught at events like Blues Muse 2012, Steel City Blues Festival 2012, and Nevermore Jazz Ball 2011. As much as he loves the stage, Dan's foremost goal is to be the best social dancer and teacher he can be. As a teacher he focuses on strengthening connection and aesthetic, helping dancers feel as good to dance with as they look.
Jason has been swing dancing since 2006. A recent transplant from Boulder, Colorado, he was a frequent instructor in the Denver/Boulder area specializing in Balboa. As a dedicated social swing dancer, Jason is focused on lead-follow dynamics, musicality, and finesse. As an instructor, he strives to bring focus and clarity to his classes, while maintaining a balance between technique and moves. Jason has won or placed in numerous competitions nationally including at All Balboa Weekend, Lindy Focus, and Rocky Mountain Balboa blowout
Cari got her start dancing in 2009 when she accidentally tried out for Penn’s West Philly Swingers dance troupe. She was hooked from the first triple step, and hasn't stopped swinging out since! After graduating, she became involved in teaching and organizing for Lindy and Blues in Philadelphia, and picked up a serious dance-travel bug.
In 2013, Cari moved to Boston to start graduate school, and, of course, to do more dancing. She loves creativity, comfortable connection, and communication in all her dances, and would be happy to talk your ear off any time about dancing, teaching ideas, and/or ways to practice dance at home alone and not wake your neighbors.
Julie is a lindy and blues instructor. For blues, Julie’s expressive dancing and joyful, playful connection are known throughout the country. With a background in performance and solo dance, she is best known for her solo blues, artistic choreography, and follower expression.
As a teacher, Julie presents material with a caring and often light-hearted tone. She carefully crafts her classes and continuously tailors her material to fit the crowd at hand. Julie teaches regularly in her hometown of Boston, and has taught workshops everywhere from California to London.
A hard-working competitor, Julie has also won many national blues competitions, including Enter the Blues 2013 Choreography Competition and Solo Competition, Mile High Blues 2012 Strictly and Jack & Jill, Enter the Blues 2012 Strictly and Choreography Competition, Emerald City Blues 2011 Strictly and Solo Cuttin, and many more.
Although she’s a recent transplant to the Boston area, Shana has been teaching Lindy Hop, Balboa, and other swing dances since 1999. She ran a successful swing dance school in Boulder CO for 15 years and has taught hundreds of dance classes. She is well known for clear explanations and fun style, getting people to the next level the easiest way. She’s competed in a bajillion contests and has come away with plenty of awards, but her proudest achievements are her dance students that have gone on to become accomplished performers, competitors, and most importantly, social dancers.
Shana is also a sought-after DJ, and has been featured at All Balboa Weekend, Lindy Focus, California Balboa Classic, Lindy on the Rocks, The Balboa Experiment, Rocky Mountain Balboa Blowout and many other events. She loves talking about music and helping new DJs learn, so ask her a question. Or ten. Or fifteen if they’re about Lionel Hampton.
She's also a rocket scientist by day. But she'd rather talk about Lionel Hampton.
A self proclaimed “vintage music snob with wanderlust problems,” Andrew Selzer began swing dancing at The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) Swing Dance Club. A native of Southern California, Andrew had a unique swing dance upbringing from learning and dancing on both coasts of the United States. At Penn State and the central Pennsylvania area he had the opportunity to teach, DJ, and organize workshops for several years until his college graduation. His travel bug has taken him to places such as Paris, France and Herräng, Sweden, and led to experiences that have provided him with a smorgasbord of influences to bring to a classroom setting.
When it comes to teaching, Andrew's three priorities are paying attention to your partner, being inspired by the music, and putting emphasis on "T’aint what you do it’s the way that you do it". Some past accomplishments include: Lindustrial Revolution Jack & Jill 2010 (1st), Hot Mess Team Comp 2011 (1st), Jammin on the James Jick & Jall 2012(1st), SparX Solo Jazz 2012 (2nd)
Amanda has been dancing since age five. Experienced in dance instruction, choreography, performance, and show production, she has studied blues dance, lindy hop, jazz, ballet, tap, lyrical dance, sacred dance, and hip hop. She has also had instruction in other dance forms such as Argentine tango, flamenco, modern dance,
popping/breaking, and ballroom dance.
Amanda and Ogden Sawyer have been dancing, choreographing, and competing in blues dance since 2000, and teaching blues dance since 2002. Their style of modern blues combines historic blues dance with modern concepts of strong connection, partnered improvisation, and elements from many of the different dance styles they have studied. This unique blend has given them a national reputation for inspiring and emotional partnered blues dancing. Their teaching style communicates their passion for blues dancing, and encourages dancers of all levels to take chances and push their personal boundaries.
Since 2003, they have been teaching at national events and workshops, including Blues Shout, Down Home Blues, Cheap Thrills, Red White and Blues, and Emerald City Blues Festival, and encouraging and supporting the recent growth and popularity of blues dance.
Amanda has also been teaching locally with Shawn Hershey since 2005 and they have since traveled and taught together at workshops and events around North America, including Austin Blues Party, Down Home Blues, From Montreal With Love, the Blues Blast Workshop Weekend in central PA, and Albany Smorgasboard. Their style of blending lindy hop, ballroom, blues, and Argentine tango into their dancing is both beautiful and powerful, and earns them praise wherever they go, most recently at the Emerald City Blues Festival, where they took 2nd place
in the Strictly Competition.
Amanda and Shawn (in blue) performing with D'Shebam at BIX 2007:
Mariel (Mari) Adams has been dancing for over ten years and just recently moved to Boston, MA. She has worked as a dance teacher since 2007, teaching modern, improv, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, salsa, and of course swing. She has a background in all performing arts (vocal & theater/improv) which makes for an eclectic style of emotion, character, and dynamics within her dancing. Dance is one of her favorite forms of expression because it includes the entire body and mind at once. It’s a great way to get rid of stress and to exercise as well! Teaching others to dance frees them to move, enjoy their bodies, and to express themselves.
During school, instead of attending football games and mixers, she travelled to national events such as the World Lindy Hop Championships. ILHC, and exchanges for social dancing too! She has won awards for Advanced Jack and Jills, and Strictly titles, most recently placing 1st at a National Ballroom competition in Argentina, when she studied abroad to learn Argentine Tango and Break Dance.
Recently, Mariel took a hiatus from competition and travel to focus on her education, but now is happy to be “back in the swing of things.” She has a special place in her heart for soul music and blues dancing, and to her, social dancing is the most important reason for spreading the love of Lindy Hop. She is very excited to be teaching with the New School Swing team!
Brian started dancing Lindy Hop in 2000 at Middlebury College and has been hooked ever since. Currently, he teaches at Boston Swing Central and runs the Lindy Bomb Squad with is wife, Kellian Adams. The Lindy Bomb Squad is a group dedicated to spreading the joy of Lindy Hop through dancing in public spaces.
Kevin started dancing a long time ago when he was dragged to a lindy hop dance by friends. Since then, dancing has dragged him all over the country, where he has gotten to meet and dance with hundreds of cool people. Kevin values relaxed posture, clear communication, and strong musicality in dancing. In fact, Kevin also plays jazz and blues guitar. You can sometimes find him playing harmonica and guitar with the Boston based amateur jazz band 'The Rubber Band' or just hanging out on his porch banging out some blues riffs. Kevin enjoys dance competitions and occasionally wins things. He also helps to maintain this website, a fact that guilted him into FINALLY uploading his own picture and bio.
Edgar hails from the booming metropolis of Frackville, Pennsylvania where he learned how to build a fire, cut keys, and change a tire -- but not do a swingout. A guitar player with a background in theater – Edgar figures that music and dance have been a part of his life for three decades. He began studying Lindy Hop in Boston around 2009. He's learned from dancers here and around the country, and spent considerable time working under Daryl Begin and Jennifer Stout at Providence Swings in Rhode Island.
Edgar can be seen regularly on the social dance floors here in Boston and at the occasional regional or national event. He's also competed in Jack & Jill competitions both regionally and nationally (with mixed results).
As a teacher, Edgar believes strongly in the music, watching video, and practicing your dancing. He strives to move with purpose and dance with conviction and hopes to inspire his students to do the same.
He's also emceed dance events and competitions including Providence Swings' Dirty Dozen Weekend and Beantown Camp. When not dancing, Edgar is a radio host and producer for 89.7 WGBH – Boston Public Radio.
He leaves you with this:
“When you are dancing with your partner, for that two and a half minutes, you are in love with each other…It’s a love affair, between you and your partner and the music."
Former New School Swing Instructors
So many people have taught with New School Swing over the years. Meet all of them here.
Shawn Hershey founded New School Swing with Nicole Zuckerman and Amanda Gruhl in 2010. He left for NYC in 2014 to follow Natalya and work in the Google NYC office. He continues to teach Blues dance nationally and internationally and attends both Lindy Hop and Blues events on a regular basis. Check out his website for his bio.
Gina left Boston in early 2014 to take a job in Austin, Texas.
Gina Helfrich began dancing the Lindy Hop in 1999 with the Boston College Swing Kids and has continued swinging out joyfully since then. She has studied extensively with master Lindy Hoppers, including the legendary Frankie Manning (1914-2009). Over the years, she has explored many swing-era dances including Balboa, Charleston, and vernacular jazz. Gina is an accomplished teacher, competitor, and performer. She also likes to DJ.
Gina's teaching style focuses on the social dance floor and empowering her students to really "own" their dancing. She is especially committed to helping followers find their voice and confidence in the dance. Gina's skill at breaking down difficult concepts into easy-to-grasp pieces makes her a sought-after instructor, but most people come to her classes because of the awesome jokes. Most of all, she loves sharing the joy of jazz dance and swing music with others.
In addition to her extensive teaching experience, Gina has taken top prizes in a variety of swing dance competitions, including Lindy Hop, solo jazz, Balboa, and numerous Jack & Jill contests. Gina has choreographed and danced with a number of teams over the years and recently founded a jazz dance troupe called the Hot Damn Damsels. You can learn more about Gina at her website, www.dancewithgina.com
Alex's unhealthy fascination with all things swing began in the spring of 2005, when a group of friends dragged him kicking and screaming to a dance in Towson, Maryland. From that point on, it was a downhill spiral of lessons, classes, and social dancing five to six nights a week. In late 2006, Alex joined Baltimore's premier performance troupe, the FlyCats, at the behest of his instructors Chiles Vandenbosche and Kristen LeChevet. In 2007, Alex moved to Boston, where he currently performs, teaches, DJs, and valiantly struggles against completing a 5-year Doctoral Program at Boston University.
Alex is predominantly interested in historically informed performances of jazz dance and music, particularly the small-combo recordings of Artie Shaw and the Gramercy Five. Alex has competed and placed 3rd in the Strictly division of Swingin' New England (2009), 1st in the Dirty Dozen in Providence, RI (2010), and made finals in the solo division of Stompology (2010). Alex also has a prodigious collection of swing and traditional jazz, and is in regular rotation in the Boston DJ circuit, and is a regular DJ for such organizations as Boston Swing Central and Monday Night Practice, and has DJed for such regional and national events as BIX (2010), Lindy Focus VIII (2009), and Beantown (2009, 2010).
ILHC 2012 Open Jack & Jill - Alexandre Abdoulaev & Lena Magnusson (2nd place)
Megan practically grew up with dance, having been started on a wholesome diet of tap, jazz, and ballet. In 2007, despite the vehement protestations of her friends and loved ones, Megan took her first class in Lindy Hop; Megan frequently likes to emphasize that she learned her first swingout directly from Frankie Manning, who instructed her to shake her “ba-boom” [sic.] as much as possible. Ever since then, Megan has been in and out of rehab, attempting unsuccessfully to beat her newly-formed addiction to all forms of swing dance. She has performed with Baltimore’s Fly Cats, Boston’s Wicked 9s, The Bees’ Knees of Boston, The Rockstep Lobtahs and was most recently an active performer and instructor of authentic jazz dance with New School Swing in Boston. Megan competes on a regular basis and won first place in the Open Strictly Lindy contest at the International Lindy Hop Championships in 2012. Megan now lives in Baltimore and enjoys dancing at the Mobtown Ballroom. Please go to http://megandamon.com/wordpress/dancer/ for more information.
Nicole founded New School Swing along with Amanda Gruhl and Shawn Hershey. She moved to San Francisco
Nicole's first foray into teaching Lindy Hop was in 2004, but her extensive and varied experience in other forms of dance began long before then. Nicole is acknowledged by her peers as being a fun and lighthearted dancer and a great communicator. Combined with her fine sense of musicality and whimsy, she thoughtfully articulates her theories on musicality and follow technique in an accessible manner for all students.
Nicole placed first in Novice Jack & Jill at Swingin' New England 2005, second in Open Jack & Jill at ALHC 2006, and was a finalist in Advanced Jack & Jill at Wicked Lindy Weekend in 2007.
Joe left Boston in 2014 to become a math professor in Atlanta.
Joe first started lindy hopping in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2007, where he was taught by the great Carla Heiney at San Francisco's Swing Central. He loves fast music and thinks energetic dancing is an expression of the joy of being alive.
Joe focuses primarily on social dancing, although he has been known to compete in a Jack & Jill from time to time. He emphasizes connection and technique in his dancing. Joe completed Carla's teacher training program in late 2008 and has been teaching dance classes at various levels ever since.
Natalya moved to NYC in 2014 to take a post doc at NYU.
Dancing has always been a big part of Natalya’s life, and she believes the world would be a better place if everyone danced a little more! Natalya was trained as a ballet dancer and taught and performed ballet and baroque dance professionally for 10 years. She also studied many other types of dance, including modern, jazz, flamenco, salsa and contact improv. In 2007, she discovered the swing dance scene when her coworker dragged her down the street to the swing night at a local jazz bar. Natalya immediately fell in love with the combination of artistic expression, amazing music, and wonderful people!
Natalya’s mother was a ballerina and her father was a musician, so in a moment of teenage rebellion she took up studying physics. Eventually, her interest in science became more than a bad habit and lead her to retire from ballet and move to Boston in 2009 to start a PhD in geophysics at Harvard University. She taught at New School Swing in Boston until 2014, when she finished her PhD and moved to New York City. When she’s not doing geophysics, you are likely to find her on the local social dance floor or travelling to national lindy hop and blues events to learn, dance, teach and compete. She is excited at every opportunity to share her passion for dance and movement with others.
Paul left Boston in 2013 to enter a masters program at Carnegie Mellon University.
Paul first started swing dancing in Santa Cruz, CA in 2005. After learning lindy hop in college from Sarah Spence Adams, he was dragged to a blues house party in 2006 and has been hooked ever since. Paul loves establishing a crystal clear connection with his follow and discovering their unique blend of musicality together.
Paul is based in Boston and teaches weekly classes and local workshops with national blues instructors Julie Brown and Amanda Gruhl. Paul has placed in several competitions, including second place in the Open Strictly at Blues Blaze 2009, third place in the Open Jack and Jill at Sweet Molasses Blues 2010, second place in the Jazz Jack and Jill at Enter the Blues 2010, and first place with Amanda Gruhl in the Choreography Competition at Enter the Blues 2010.
Paul and Anna Washenko winning 2nd Place in the Jazz J&J at Enter the Blues 2010: