Instructors

Nika Jin - Oregon

Nika started teaching and organizing Good Jazz Times in Eugene, OR in 2012. It still blows her mind that that she is allowed to extend her arms past her body.  She loves sharing dance and strives to bring an open-mind, unbridled enthusiasm, and a little bit of funk to the classroom and/or dance floor. When not dancing, she fills her life with burritos, trees, and books about burritos and/or trees.

Bio Picture by Michael Brinkerhoff

“Vegas Nick" Peterson - Nevada

Nick Peterson Holding a lifelong aversion to writing accurate biographies, has found his passion in a craft where biographies are a necessary part of the job. However, his love for speaking in the third person is as great as his love of Lindy hop, thus his biography. Vegas Nick started dancing in 1998 when it was cool and has continued to do so throughout the years…even when it was no longer cool. Burdened with a fever, the only prescription has been more Lindy hop and he has led a life that exemplifies the remedy.
Nick Peterson is a proud Jitterbug champion and the only member of the Camp Hollywood Hall of Fame to be recognized for something other than his contributions on the dance floor or stage…this despite his 13+ years of competing at the event. A firm believer in the concept of suffering for your art, Nick will make you suffer…be it through incessant talking, advanced teaching techniques, or the aforementioned love of the third-person. Take his classes…he’s going to talk whether you are there or not. (Disclaimer: I’m not that Nick…the other one…nooo…yes...that one…party on, Wayne)

Bio Picture by April Blade

Krister Shalm - Colorado 

Bio Picture by April Blade

Krister Shalm is the lead organizer and teacher for Boulder Swing Dance.  He started swing dancing in Toronto.  A quantum physicist by day and dance teacher by night, Krister’s infectious energy and love for dance puts people at ease and keep them coming back to learn more.  He has a number of talks posted online, including a TEDx talk entitled “Magic, Dance and Quantum Physics”, which uses magic and lindy hop to explain quantum entanglement, and a talk called The Quantum Physics of Harry Potter.  Krister is a master at making complex concepts fun and easy to understand.  Over the years, Krister has done countless performances – usually of the comedic variety.  He does not like to compete as a dancer but if there is music playing he cannot sit still. 

Krister and Heather met swing dancing in 2013.  They married in 2015 and spend their time teaching, traveling and dancing together.

Heather Ballew hails from the Mile High city of Denver where she started dancing swing in 1996.  A regular competitor at events around the country, Heather spent many years performing and competing with Denver swing dance troupe, 23 Skidoo. She has been hired as an instructor at events throughout the United States, Europe, Australia and Canada and in November she will be teaching in Korea for the first time.  She is known for her personal investment in her students' success and is a popular instructor in Denver and Boulder for both Lindy Hop and Balboa.

Krister and Heather met swing dancing in 2013.  They married in 2015 and spend their time teaching, traveling and dancing together.

Heather Ballew - Colorado

Bio Picture by April Blade

Anthony Chen - Utah

Beginning with his more traditional roots, Anthony started dancing at age 8 when his parents convinced him to learn and perform Chinese lion dances. In 2002 he was introduced to breakdancing at a speech and debate tournament, and shortly thereafter he found his home in the local swing community in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he quickly fell in love with Lindy Hop. Throughout his dancing career he has trained in several other types of styles from hip-hop to Argentine Tango to West Coast, but most of all he enjoys drawing upon them to expand upon his technique and creativity in Lindy Hop. On the social dance floor, he is known to be playful, musical, creative, and clear—a “feel-good dancer” or a "magical unicorn.” He holds titles from events such as Camp Hollywood, Montreal Swing Riot, Lone Star Championships, Canadian Swing Championships, Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown, and International Lindy Hop Championships. His teaching style focuses on energy, technique and connection theory, and his love of both leading and following has been instrumental to making the classes that he teaches both clear and intuitive.

Dabney Hopkins - Arizona

Bio Picture by Jacob Spinney

Dabney Hopkins is a dancer from Mesa, AZ. His passion lies in the dance styles from the Swing Era, and he has dedicated over a decade of his life to spreading his love for Lindy Hop. Having studied under and been inspired by the legendary Frankie Manning, Dabney has also tried to garnish some dance knowledge from anyone around him. Having competed successfully early in his dance career, he focused more on teaching, and helping others discover their true dance potential.

Dabney discovered dancing when, after serving a two year mission in Brasil for his church, his friends dragged him out to a jazz club. He immediately fell in love with the music, the culture, and the connections through vernacular jazz and swing. The rest is history.

Dabney has over 14 years of experience dancing, teaching, competing in, and performing the dances from the Swing Era. Dabney has served as the secretary of the Arizona Classic Jazz Society, a 501c3 non-profit group dedicated to the preservation of classic jazz.  Dabney is a national competitor and has performed with the Hollywood Hotshots, a performance troupe out of Los Angeles, has taught workshops on Carnival Cruise Lines, and in California, Florida, Utah, Nevada, Mexico, Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, and Arizona.  He has made several television appearances and performs regularly with the 52nd St. Jazz Band, at jazz festivals across the country.

Karen Vizzard Hopkins - Arizona

Karen Vizzard Hopkins first became *enamored* with Lindy Hop in 2003, when she was introduced to the dance at a Big Bad Voodoo Daddy concert in Santa Monica. Since then, she has dedicated herself to become an exceptional follow, as well as a versatile dancer with experience in Balboa, Collegiate Shag, and Solo and Partnered Charleston. While attending school in Utah, Karen was a Lindy Hop instructor at Utah State and the University of Utah, and coached the Swing Team at Brigham Young University. Her other credits include performing with the Hollywood Hotshots, as well as being cast as a dancer in Katy Perry’s music video “Thinking of You” and being cast as a principal dancer for the episode “Static” on the TV show “Cold Case.”

Bio Picture by Jacob Spinney

Joel Hunter Idaho

Joel Hunter has been dancing since 2003 in a wide variety of dances, has been teaching dance since 2005, and opened up his own studio in 2007 in order to build the dance scene in Boise. Continuing to grow the community to this day, Joel owns and operates Heirloom Dance Studio and organizes Boise's largest Swing event 'Boise City Swing'. Skilled in various styles of Ballroom, Latin, and Swing, he specializes on dances that focus on improvisation, creativity, lead/follow, musicality, and connection. His innovative and unconventional teaching stile has helped many students to grow in their dance by giving them the tools they need to creativity interpret the music and clearly communicate with their partner.

Bio Picture by April Blade

Stephanie Hinton Idaho

Stephanie Hinton started dancing in 1998 learning primarily Tap and stage choreography. A talented percussionist, Stephanie has been studying music since 1992. She has played in marching bands, community groups, and orchestras, and uses her musical knowledge to train dancers by giving them the tools they need to understand musicality and timing. Stephanie started teaching at Heirloom Dance Studio with Joel Hunter in 2012. She has brought and excess of skill and knowledge with her that has helped the dance scene in Boise grow in both skill and number.

Bio Picture by April Blade

Paul Riding - California

Bio Picture by April Blade

Paul Riding has been lindy hopping for over 10 years in Southern California and loves to teach, perform, and compete. He started dancing in Riverside, and now regularly teaches and dances at “The Metro” in Pomona. He is the Youth Coordinator for the International Lindy Hop Championships and loves working with the youth and promoting Lindy Hop. Paul regularly live streams his dancing, teaching, and rehearsals on twitch.tv. He has competed with “The Bobbysox Brigade,” performed with “The Hollywood Hotshots” and earned third place in Camp Hollywood’s Intergenerational competition. Paul’s dance priorities are Laughing, improvisation, and communication in that order.

 Chelsea Kirkpatrick - California

Bio Picture by Jennifer Stockert

Chelsea Kirpatrick first fell in love with Swing Dancing in a class with Jeremy Otth and Laura Keat at Camp Hollywood in 2012. Learning to dance in both the Orange County and LA swing scenes has allowed her to take classes from top-notch instructors and dance with some of the best dancers in the world. In 2014, she started the Norco College Swing Club and shared her love of swing with 50+ beginners over the course of two years. Her most recent accomplishment has been the creation and growth of the Pomona Lindy Hop community at Metro Swing where she both teaches and DJs regularly.

 

Chelsea has competed in both the Lindy Hop and Balboa divisions at events such as Camp Hollywood, Inspiration Weekend and Camp Jitterbug. As much as she enjoys competing with her fellow dancers, social dancing has always been her true love. Her teaching style reflects her dedication to musicality, creativity and connection with a partner above all else. You will usually find her swinging out at ATOMIC Ballroom, Lindygroove or Metro Swing.