Instructors & Guests

Instructors Confirmed for 2020

More to be announced soon!

Sylvia Sykes

An internationally recognized authority on several different forms of swing dance, Sylvia Sykes has lectured and taught dance workshops all over the world since 1985. She has competed in numerous dance competitions, appeared on television, been featured with orchestras such as Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, and Count Basie, as well as being voted into the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame as well as the National Swing Dance Hall of Fame.

Sylvia studied Balboa with Maxie Dorf and spent years learning from the greatest Southern California Balboa dancers. She was also privileged to study Lindy Hop with Dean Collins, and was a member of his last dance troupe. Together with her original partner Jonathan Bixby, Sylvia was a six-time U.S. Open Finalist and two-time Southern California Balboa Champion.

Sylvia is the driving force behind Balboa all over the world and has been for many years.

Nick Williams

Nick 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 Champion, American Classic Balboa Champion and California Balboa/Swing Champion. Nick was recognized by the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame. He is also an accomplished choreographer and has choreographed for 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.

Kelly Arsenault

Hailing from Knoxville, TN, Kelly 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 moved to NYC in 2003, she also discovered her love for Balboa and Lindy Hop.

Kelly has been dancing and competing in Balboa and Lindy since 2005, with titles at various events including Balboa Rendezvous, ILHC, ESDC, All Balboa Weekend, and the Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown. She’s taught extensively in the US, Canada, Europe, Korea, and Australia, and is very excited to be a part of the CalBal team!

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 Rendezvous 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.

Annabel Quisao

Annabel is known far and wide for her huge grins and prodigious laughter on the dance floor. A student of music all her life, Annabel caught the Lindy Hop bug in 2003 at Colgate University. Addicted to the communication and spontaneity of social dancing, she continued to delve into swing dances while at Penn State where she was introduced to Balboa, Blues dancing, and Collegiate Shag. For the past decade, she has traveled near and far to dance, teach, and compete, taking home top prizes in such events as the International Lindy Hop Championships, All Balboa Weekend, BluesShout, and the California Balboa Classic. Annabel is passionate about fostering a fun and inspiring class environment where students can explore their potential, push their boundaries, and have a good time! Currently, she resides in Washington, DC and is the Education Director at New Columbia Swing.

Bobby White

Bobby 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 (https://swungover.wordpress.com/), and the story-telling talks that he delivers at events.

Bobby also conducts field research for Pacific Swing Dance Foundation (which operates CalBal) and has recently interviewed original dancers Roy Damron and Izzy Hignett for the PSDF Archives.

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).

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.

More instructors to come!