MEET OUR
INSTRUCTORS

Mickey • Kelly • Nick • Sylvia • Bobby • Kate • Heather •  David • Andreas Olsson • Moe Sakan

(scroll for detailed bios)

Mickey Fortanasce

Mickey began swing dancing in Los Angeles in ’99. A year later he was teaching local swing classes at NYU. After graduating he worked with local teams in New York including Varsity Swing and Hop Swing and a Jump and later started running his weekly dance White Heat (something he’s been meaning to start up again).

Mickey and Kelly Arsenault have been dancing and competing since about 2005. During this time, their innovation and showmanship, coupled with their love of dance history and theory, have led them to become internationally recognized teachers and competitors in both Lindy Hop and Balboa. Together their winnings include repeat victories at the Balboa Redezvous for 2006, 2007 and 2010. They are 2008 ABW American Balboa Classic Champions as well as winners of the 2010 ILHC and ESDC Balboa Strictly division. Mickey and Kelly have taught extensively in the US, Canada, Europe, Korea, and Australia.

Kelly Arsenault

Kelly, from Knoxville, TN, has been dancing as long as she can remember. As a child she took ballet and jazz, but she was especially drawn to modern dance. At age 11, Kelly joined the Tennessee Children’s Dance Ensemble. She was with the modern dance company for 6 years, performing around the globe including Taiwan, Singapore, and Indonesia.

Kelly attended the University of Tennessee from 1997-2001, during which time she was a member of the UT Dance Company. She was also a dancer and choreographer for Circle Modern Dance Company. In 2003, Kelly moved to New York City where she continued her modern dance career performing with Von Ussar Danceworks and MAD About Dance. When she met Mickey in 2004, she discovered her love for balboa and lindy hop; and so began their amazing friendship and partnership.

Nick Williams

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

His successes include World Lindy Hop Champion, US Open Swing Dance Champion, American Lindy Hop Champion, National Jitterbug Champion, International Lindy Hop Champion, Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown Champion, American Classic Balboa Champion and California Balboa/Swing Champion.

He is also an accomplished choreographer and has been featured on the hit television show So You Think You Can Dance. As an instructor, he is known for his ability to break down movements and technique to create a fun and light-hearted learning environment. His true love of music and dancing will forever inspire him to learn, teach, and grow. In 2004 and 2010, Nick was honored to be recognized by the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame.

Sylvia Sykes

Sylvia Sykes is a swing dancer, dance instructor, judge and choreographer. In particular she is considered by most to be the leading authority on the dance Balboa.

Sylvia Sykes studied with Dean Collins and was a member of his last dance troupe. She also studied balboa with Maxie Dorf and spent years learning from the greatest Southern California balboa dancers. Sylvia is an inductee into the National Swing Dance Hall of Fame, as well as the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame. She is a U.S. Open champion, was the NASDE top point winner, two time California Balboa Champion, took third place in the National Carolina Shag Dance Championships, and has won many Strictly Swing and Jack & Jill dance contests through the U.S. in Lindy Hop, balboa and West Coast Swing. She was twice voted Swing Dance Teacher of the Year and is a four-time Feather Award winner as Best Female Lindy Dancer in the U.S.

She has performed with Count Basie, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Artie Shaw, and Les Brown, and she has appeared on many television shows such as American Bandstand and Gotta Dance for the American Movie Channel. She also represented the U.S. in the World Boogie Woogie Championships in Grenoble, France with her original partner Jonathan Bixby.

She is best known for reviving Balboa, which is rapidly gaining popularity around the world, and is a regular guest at the balboa dance camps.

Bobby White

Bobby White is known worldwide for his individual dance style, expressive teaching methods, and floppy hair.

He is a passionate dancer of Balboa, Lindy Hop, and Solo Jazz and has won many national and international championship placements in those dances, which he teaches all over the world. His welcoming nature and humorous personality are complemented by his passion for the dance and in-depth instruction.

He is dedicated to exploring the art form and history of swing dance, as shown through his well-read blog, Swungover, and the story-telling talks that he delivers at events. He is the emcee of Lindy Focus and other events.

Kate Hedin

Following in the path of her great ancestor, Swedish explorer Sven Hedin, Kate has traveled to the greatest unknown regions of following and footwork. Aside from a love of classically inspired Lindy Hop, she is most known for her unique and elegant style of Balboa.

The result is an impressive resume. Kate holds championship titles in almost every major competition, including the American Classic Balboa Championships, the International Lindy Hop Championships, the Euro Balboa Cup, and more. She is also a highly sought-after competition judge. In 2012, she released two highly praised DVDs specifically for Balboa followers on technique and aesthetics. As a teacher, Kate is known and loved for her logic-based language, her unique methods of teaching technique, and, overall, never leaving student followers disappointed.

She is proud to have held, along with her friends at Get Hep Swing in Cleveland, the Guinness World Record for longest dance party ever (52 hours, 3 minutes). Her fashion is admired by many, her lines desired as far as the Orient. She also does trapeze.

Heather Ballew

Heather Ballew has always been drawn to music and movement.  For two years she taught ballroom, latin, and swing dancing at World of Dance in Denver.  A regular competitor at events around the country, Heather has performed and competed with Denver’s champion swing dance troupe, 23 Skidoo, and has been an instructor at Beantown Summer Camp, Balboa Rendezvous, Rock That Swing, and Provence Swing Festival.  She holds titles from Camp Jitterbug, International Lindy Hop Championships, Camp Hollywood, All Balboa Weekend, and Canadian Swing Championships, but her proudest dance achievement to date has been organizing and growing a group of mighty fine dancers in her hometown.  She is known for her personal investment in her students’ success and is a popular instructor in greater Denver for Lindy Hop, Blues, and Balboa.

David Rehm

David Rehm is a geek-turned-professional-dancer specializing exclusively in the partnered swing dances, Lindy and Balboa, and widely considered one of the top Balboa dancers and instructors in the world. He is regularly featured teaching and judging at the most prestigious events dedicated to those dances throughout North America, Europe and Asia. In addition to numerous awards, in 2006 David captured both the American and European Balboa titles (with different partners) by winning the American Classic Balboa Championship and the Euro Bal Cup. He is also the creator of The Experiment, “the world’s most intimate and intensive Balboa workshop”, as well as the founder of the Northeast Balboa Corridor (NEBC) project. David is best known for his ability to capture both broad thematic abstractions and technical details all in the form of conceptual principles.