Instructors

Gaby Cook and Bobby White

Gaby brings her energetic spirit into every class and performance.

Gaby is an internationally-renowned dancer and instructor who loves all things Swing. Her unique style of movement balances power and dynamism with clarity and razor sharp turns. She brings great care to lines, shapes and balance in her personal performance, as well as her choreographic work. She holds 1st place titles in lindy hop, balboa and solo jazz from events such as International Lindy Hop Championships (2012), Stompology (2012), Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown (2011), Lindy Focus (2013), Lonestar Championships (2012) and Balboa Rendezvous (2009). She is a strong supporter of female-dance traditions and has worked over the last 7 years to create and foster growth for Chorus Girl Troupes. She is passionate about lindy hop traditions and works to share the joy of swing with new audiences.

Bobby White has taught Lindy Hop, Balboa, and Solo Jazz around the world for over a decade. He has won various championships in all, and within one year won all three of the greatest national titles in Balboa. (2015-2016). His passion for the dances is rivaled only by his passion for teaching and swing dance pedagogy.

He is know for his storytelling talks, humorous teaching style, and the MC of Lindy Focus. He is the author of the renown swing dance blog Swungover and the book Practice Swing: A Choose Your Own Adventure Guide to Getting Better at Swing Dancing.

Michael Brafford and Dee Daniels Locke

Mikey’s love of swing dancing started during the “Swing Craze” of the late 90s when GAP Swing and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy were all the rage. Over the past decade, he has been dedicated to spreading the joy of lindy hop across the Midwest and beyond.

He has taught classes and workshops for several events and clubs, including: Midwest Lindyfest (Saint Paul, MN), The Heartland Swing Festival (Des Moines, IA), Hawkeye Swing Festival (Iowa City, IA), Rock Ya Body (Kirksville, MO), Uptown Swing(Minneapolis), University of Pennsylvania, University of Missouri, The University of Iowa, ISU, UNI, Grinnell, Drake, COE, and Step Into Swing.

Mikey now lives in the Twin Cities of Minnesota where he stays busy in the very active swing dance scene. You might find him DJing at Rhythm Junction, teaching at Uptown Swing or hosting the exciting Rhythm Challenge Series, a quarterly contest that encourages local dancers to compete. Mikey loves teaching new students and hopes to create a fruitful Swing Dance community in the Twin Cities and around the Midwest.

Dee started Swing Dancing at the age of four with her Dad in the basement while wearing her Mom’s heels and her favorite plaid skirt. With a hiatus into hip hop during her school years, she realized her true dance calling was Lindy Hop, and was a co-founding member of the Bemidji State Swing Dance Club. For over a decade she’s shared her love of lindy hop with dancers young and old. She has became an influential member of the Twin Cities scene, and continues to inspire students at all levels. She looks to motivate new generations of swing dancers by organizing programs for Minnesota’s Youth.

Dee loves to shake her thang and she wants you to shake yours, too. She encourages self-expression on the dance floor, and prides herself on making each dance unique to the musical experience and partner, creating an authentic dance conversation. She advocates individual creativity as the true spirit of Lindy Hop.

She has taught,performed, and choreographed around the Midwest. She thought it was exceptionally cool to be invited to dance for the Dedication of the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. But even more ridiculously exhilarating was the opportunity to assist Frankie Manning in teaching a class! Most important to know is that Dee never refuses Peanut M&Ms, and will gladly become a lifelong friend to anyone who offers her that bite sized chocolate heaven.

She’s won several awards, but mostly she wants to have a good dance. You should ask her, she follows and leads….and she wants to dance with you.

Mark Calkins and Shannon Varner

With dance partner Shannon Varner (together they are known as the Lindyroos), Mark regularly teaches lessons in Columbus, Ohio and is the co-founder of the award-winning competitive dance troupe Team SwingColumbus. Mark’s individual competition achievements include the Nevermore Jazz Ball, Swing-IN, Rocktober, Beantown, Hawkeye Swing Festival and Lindy Focus. He also competed in the “World’s Largest Jack and Jill” and advanced into the semi-final round at Frankie Manning’s 95th Birthday celebration in New York City.

Shannon Varner discovered Lindy Hop while living in New York City in 1997. She has won numerous awards, placing in such competitions as the American Lindy Hop Championships, Virginia State Open, and the Jack & Jill Contest at Midsummer Night Swing in NYC. She has performed in New York and Chicago with some of her credits including: PBS’ “Swingin with the Duke” with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, The Today Show, and Chicago’s month long dance program, Dance Chicago. Shannon rounds out her dance experience with a background in arts administration at The Martha Graham Dance Co and the prestigious Juilliard School.

John Holmstrom and Lindsay Longstreth

John got into swing dancing in Chicago back in 2005...it was love at first rock step. He pursued Lindy Hop while at the University of Illinois where in 2007 he first began teaching. By the time John returned to Chicago in 2010, he was teaching private lessons, group classes and performing for Big City Swing. John is a regular fixture in competitions around the midwest and was a member of the Hoosier Hotshots the Dayton Swing Smackdown 2010 team champions. This is his 3rd year teaching at Dayton Swing Smackdown.

Lindsay discovered swing dancing in 2002 in her hometown of Knoxville, TN. A Southeast dancer at heart, she has since then traveled the country for workshops, competitions, teaching, and performing. While in Atlanta (2008-2013) she taught local classes, DJ’d regularly, and helped organize various annual events. Currently, Lindsay lives in Chicago where she continues to be involved in the community, both teaching and organizing.

Not only has Lindsay taught for over 10 years, she has competed and placed at a number of events in solo, partnered, and team divisions. One of Lindsay’s favorite things about vintage jazz dance is the depth and breadth of the art form, so she regularly travels and takes classes from international-level teachers to stay challenged and inspired.

In her own classes Lindsay focuses on quality of movement, technique, self-expression, and most of all, fun! Her teaching is reflective of her passion for the conversation between both partners and the music. Although Lindy Hop is the love of her feet, Charleston, Solo Jazz, and Balboa show up for the party too.