Jacob has been dancing Balboa since 2005 and over the years has earned credibility, knowledge and an individual style.
Jacob is famous for his fast Pure Balboa footwork and his large repertoire of unique spins and turns when he’s in the spotlight. As a teacher he enjoys using a mix of humorous analogies and serious instruction to create a fun and exciting learning environment.
Shani is a Balboa and Swing dancer from sunny southern California. She is best known for her fast, syncopated Balboa footwork and her soft connection – which has been said to feel like a ‘warm hug’. As an instructor, she strives to make dancing simple and effortless with a strong emphasis on combining foundational basics with the soft skills of connection mechanics and partnership to develop smooth flow and personal style.
For over 15 years, Shani has dedicated herself to learning, preserving and sharing her love for Balboa and other vernacular jazz dances. She began swing dancing 1998 before moving to Orange County where she discovered a vibrant vintage swing community well connected to their local ‘old timers’. She was immediately attracted to the fast footwork of Balboa and began frequenting the dance floors of first-generation dancers.
Shani is honored to have honed her social dance skills and footwork under the guidance of legendary dancers Willie Desatoff, Hal and Marge Takier, Bart Bartolo, Jack Carey and many others. And although she has competed, placed and won several major competitions, she mainly enjoys social dancing and inspiring others to love balboa and swing.
Heather Ballew hails from the lovely, landlocked city of Denver where majestic mountains tower over the skyline, sunny days are plentiful, and the name “Mile High City” has several meanings. As a participant of the 1990’s swing renaissance, Heather Ballew swears she learned everything the wrong way first and has relearned and refined every bit of her dancing over the years. Because of this, Heather has a keen eye for what works and what doesn’t. She believes that swing dancing should look good and feel great but most of all it should be fun. She loves social dancing with people of all levels and she is most known for her connection and rhythmic musicality. She can befound teaching around the United States and abroad, talking passionately about scene-building, and starting zany and sometimes thoughtful Facebook discussions.
Javier Skeets Reyes Johnson
Javier is a rocket scientist by trade, and he brings a powerful analytical sense which joins the mechanics of dance and the soul of expression. He is well versed in all the swing dances, but specializes in Balboa and soul. As an international swing dance instructor, he’s traveled around the world sharing his joy of teaching and his passion for jazz dances. He was the founding member of Lindy Circle (now Hartford Underground) back in 2007. He wanted to create a space where folks could get down and have some serious fun. e world sharing his joy of teaching and his passion for jazz dances. He was the founding member of Lindy Circle (now Hartford Underground) back in 2007. He wanted to create a space where folks could get down and have some fun.
Jenn Lee is lucky to have Seattle, Washington as her home dance scene, although you can find her traveling all over the world for Balboa events. During school one of her friends took her to a swing dance, and she has loved dancing every since. When not on the dance floor she is an Ophthalmologist by trade. She also loves hiking with her beloved dog in the Pacific Northwest and skiing on the steepest, highest mountains possible. Jennifer holds 1st place titles from Lindy Focus, The Snowball, California Balboa Classic, All Balboa Weekend, the Eastern Balboa Championships, Montreal Dance Festival, and Lindy Fest. Her film titled “One Girl and Two Boys” featuring the Mint Julip Jazz Band won the Jazz Dance Film Festival. As an instructor, her focus is on creativity and partner communication. She is also known as an avid social dancer and is often one of the last dancers to leave the dance floor.
Blake started dancing in 1997 when the swing craze was at its peak. The Gap swing commercial was the best thing to watch on television and there were too many neo-swing bands that contained the word “Daddy.” However, it was not until later that he discovered his love for Balboa. Blake started dancing in New Mexico, a place with a small scene. His love for the dance grew from the videos he watched and being able to travel and learn from international instructors. His teaching is focused on technique, musicality, and having fun with the dance (silly antics welcomed). Blake has been competing/teaching since 2003 and has placed in competitions nationally including: All Balboa Weekend, Rocky Mountain Balboa Blowout, Northwest Bal Fest, International Lindy Hop Championship, and Eastern Balboa Championship.
Taylor Stender and Travis Whetman
Taylor and Travis have been collaborating on the dance floor and in the class room for the past 3 years and bring a combined experience of over 20 years. They are known to be obsessed with three things: cheese, Mel Brooks movies, and Balboa. Classes with “Team T” are a fine blend of excellent dance material and cheesy jokes, which is probably why students comment on the relaxed and fun atmosphere. Taylor and Travis like to focus on good technique, connecting with your partner, and most importantly having fun! They teach moves that are a mix of old-school classics and newer variations that students can learn quickly and incorporate into their social dancing right away. Come shuffle with Foxy and The Commodore!