Sylvia Sykes began dancing in 1966, competing in 1970, and teaching in 1979. She has studied with many of the dance greats, including Frankie Manning, Dean Collins, Maxie Dorf, and Willie Desatoff. Her extensive studies and travels have made her an expert on regional dance styles and she is known for her expertise in, and the preservation of the older forms of Swing dance. In addition, she is credited with helping to preserve the Balboa by introducing the dance World Wide.
In 1985 Sylvia and Jonathan Bixby co-founded the Santa Barbara Swing Dance Club, a twice-monthly live-music dance club that they continue to run. She is still teaching her weekly classes that she started teaching in 1979, plus she teaches out of town over forty weekends per year. She is the most sought-after head judge in the modern Lindy Hop & Balboa dance scenes and is now part owner and head judge of the International Lindy Hop Championships.
You can check out Sylvia's website at sylviasykes.com
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.
Nick is also a member of the performance dance troupe Hot Club Stomp. To find out more about HCS, please visit: hotclubstomp.com
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.
Photo by Pat Freeman
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 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 Founder and Director of The Experiment, "the world's most personal and personally challenging Balboa and Blues dance workshops." David is best known for his ability to capture both broad thematic abstractions and technical details all in the form of conceptual principles.
Check out David's website at davidrehm.com
Known for bringing a little math and science into the ballroom (don’t worry, just a little), Jen Barnett specializes in Balboa, the swing-era partner dance that combines the technique and finesse of ballroom with the energy and spirit of swing.
Jen competes in Balboa on the international stage, having won the All Balboa Weekend J&J three times. She has also won the Canadian Balboa Championships, Favorite Social Follow (Bal Jam ’07), and various strictly competitions at events such as the Eastern Balboa Championships and the Rocky Mountain Balboa Blowout. In addition to competing, Jen also enjoys performing. (What can you say? She’s an only child.) Jen’s favorite performance was smack dab in the middle of the Museum of Natural History, right under the giant blue whale.
As a teacher, Jen tries to balance her high expectations with lots of love, humor, and support for her students. Never forgetting to address both follows and leads, Jen blends technical presentation with the musicality and spirit that make swing dancing so enjoyable.
Jen teaches in New York City at You Should Be Dancing...!
Since 1998, Matt has been honing his dance skills; starting with East Coast, he quickly moved into Lindy Hop and other Swing-era dances--with a very short detour into Ballroom. He's studied with top Lindy Hop and Balboa contemporaries as well being influenced by the original greats (Frankie Manning, Dean Collins, Maxie Dorf and Willy Desatoff).
From 2007 through 2011, he was one of the lead instructors for Get Hep Swing (run by the incomparable Valerie Salstrom) and helped choreograph Hustle and award winning Swing routines. He strives to bring solid fundamentals and just-the-right amount of connection to Lindy Hop and Balboa, while creating room for musicality and playfulness. In 2011, he relocated to his home town of Austin where he's enjoyed teaching Balboa for Four on the Floor.
Nationally and internationally, Matt has been an instructor at Boogie By The Bay, the Eastern Balboa Championships, Dance Renaissance, and the Canadian Balboa Championships. He competes regularly in Balboa, consistently making the finals and has several placements at ABW, EBC, and CBC.