Gina Helfrich has been dancing and teaching the Lindy Hop for over a decade. In that time, she has also become a talented practitioner of other swing-era dances such as Balboa, Charleston, and vernacular jazz. In addition to teaching, Gina has been involved in many other activities within the swing dance community over the years, including organizing, DJing, competing, choreographing, performing, and coaching. She has traveled as far as Herrang, Sweden in pursuit of the perfect swingout and was lucky to have had the singular honor and joy of social dancing with the legendary Frankie Manning (1914-2009).
Gina has taught classes all over the U.S., in places such as Boston, San Francisco, Austin, Denver, Atlanta, Orlando, Knoxville, Asheville, and as far away as Toulouse, France. Gina has also spent several years as a headline instructor for Swing Out New Hampshire, an annual international summer dance camp. In addition to her extensive teaching experience, Gina has succeeded in a number of high-caliber competitions. In 2010, she claimed the title of International Lindy Hop Champion in the ILHC Strictly Lindy Open division (dancing with Jamie Cameron of London, England). In 2009, Gina advanced to the finals of the "World's Biggest Jack & Jill" at the Frankie 95 Festival in New York City, as well as the Hellzapoppin semi-final (dancing with Carl Nelson). In 2007, Gina was a cast member in the Jump Session Show at Camp Jitterbug. In 2006, she was invited to be a Peer Judge at the international Lindy Hop contest, the Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown. A
testament to her versatility and social dancing prowess, Gina has taken top prizes in a variety of swing dance contests without ever having a regular competition partner, including numerous Jack & Jill contests and covering different dances such as Lindy Hop, Charleston and authentic jazz dance, Balboa, and Blues.
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. Most of all, she loves sharing the joy of jazz dance and swing music with others.
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!"
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.
Kate began her dance journey in the realm of ballet before deciding to leave a choreographed, solo dance for something partnered, improvised and quite silly. She started dancing at the University of Virginia swing club, going on to organize and teach there until graduation. Additionally, she was heavily influenced by classes at DC's Jam Cellar. Moving to Boston in 2011 for grad school led to an immediate involvement with New School Swing. Other than lindy and ballet, Kate's dance experience also includes blues, balboa, modern, jazz, and a smattering of other dance forms. She believes that the best dances are part technique, part musicality, and plenty of hilarity. Awards include Lindy 500 Open JnJ 2012 (1st), Hot Mess Team Comp 2012 & 2011 (1st), Followlogie Solo Blues 2012 (1st) and Lindy Focus Crossover JnJ 2009 (1st). You can see her dance in the following clip (in yellow).
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.
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.
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."
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.
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!
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.
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.
Annabel is a self proclaimed social dancing addict who loves the communication and spontaneity fostered on the dance floor. In her teaching, she emphasizes connection, clarity, and technique, giving students the tools to inspire their partners and have fun and fulfilling dances. She loves spreading the joy of Lindy Hop.
A musician since she was 5 years old, Annabel always has had a special place in her heart for jazz and standards. After years of hearing her grandparents talk about dancing to the wonderful bands of the 1930s and 1940s, Annabel was quickly hooked on Lindy Hop when she was first exposed to it during the spring of 2003 at her undergraduate university, Colgate. She continued to fall in love with the dance at Penn State where she was also introduced to Balboa and Blues dancing, began traveling to workshops and competitions, and taught weekly classes. Since 2010, she has lived and taught in Memphis, Washington, DC., and currently, Boston.
Though first and foremost a social dancer, Annabel loves the challenge and excitement of competing. As a frequent presence in competition finals, she's collected some awards. Examples include 1st Place in the Fast Blues Strictly (with Daniel Repsch) at BluesShout 2011, 1st Place in the Open Lindy Hop Strictly (with John Paul Helveston) at the International Lindy Hop Championships 2011, and 2nd Place in the Amateur Jack and Jill at All Balboa Weekend 2013.
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!
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.
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 grew up training as a ballet dancer in Toronto, Canada. She danced professionally for 10 years, performing in several large theaters in Toronto and touring to South Korea, and the US. She also taught ballet and baroque dance to students of all ages and levels and studied many other types of dance, including modern, jazz, flamenco, salsa and contact improv. Natalya discovered the wonderful world of swing dancing in 2007, when her coworker dragged her down the street to a lindy hop night at a local jazz bar. She was very excited to be able to listen to great music, hang out with great people, get exercise, dance, communicate through connection and be creative, silly and fun all at once! She has been swing dancing ever since.
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. Swing dancing continues to be a big part of her life in Boston. When she’s not doing geophysics, you are likely to find her on the local social dance floor, at Lindy Dojo or travelling to national lindy hop and blues events to learn, dance, and compete. She is excited to be teaching at New School Swing and sharing her passion for dance and movement with others.
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 “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. In addition, Megan has performed with Baltimore’s Fly Cats, Boston’s Wicked 9s, The Bees’ Knees of Boston, and is currently an active performer and instructor of authentic jazz dance at New School Swing. Megan also competes on a regular basis and won first place in the Open Strictly Lindy contest at the International Lindy Hop Championships in Washington D.C. in 2012. Megan is also the co-organizer of Blues Cafe, a monthly dance in Boston that promotes Lindy Hop, Balboa, Blues, and Soul dancing. Please visit http://megandamon.com/wordpress/dancer/ for more information.
Shawn began studying Lindy Hop from Kerrin Flanagan and Elizabeth Miller at the Lindybaby studio in 1999. Having always loved and studied jazz music he was immediately drawn in by the dance. He has studied extensively at camps and workshops across the US with many nationally renowned Lindy Hop instructors.
In addition to being an avid social dancer he has won awards at several national and regional competitions. Shawn began teaching Lindy Hop with Marilee Annareau in 2002 in order to help share his love of dance and music. In 2004, he happily joined the It's All Swing studio and has been teaching there ever since.
Shawn also occasionally teaches and performs with his sister
Betina Hershey. Betina and Shawn were brought to Tokyo in 2004, and again in 2005, to teach Lindy Hop workshops. He has also taught workshops at Boston University with Diana Byrne, Kerrin, and Betina. He also often teaches with Amanda Gruhl
at It's All Swing and regional workshops.
Shawn (in red) and Amanda performing to Bugle Call Rag with D'Shebam at Waterfire 2007:
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)
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.
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.
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:
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).