SwingColumbus instructors are picked from the best dancers in Central Ohio. Years of experience, a fun approach to teaching and being outstanding teachers makes each of them great resources for learning to swing dance. If you are interested in taking a private lesson from any of our instructors please feel free to contact our Instruction Chair HERE.
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Mandy has been obsessed with all things swing since 2001. She has placed or won several regional Jack and Jill competitions and traveled near and far to events all over the country and also lived and danced for a year in Montpellier, France, home of some amazing and world renowned Lindy Hoppers. Mandy stresses the empowerment of follows and performs and teaches both as a lead and follow. She has taught for Ohio University, OSU, Otterbein, and SwingColumbus and also DJs regularly.
Mark Calkins recalls being terrified to undertake dancing for the first time, watching his older sister dance in their garage to the sounds of Janet Jackson. After many years of taunting memories of Rhythm Nation, he broke his dance phobia and was introduced to swing dancing while attending Ohio University.
His dance partner is Shannon Varner and together they are known as The Lindyroos. With their shared love of the authentic dances from the swing era, they have performed on stage with Columbus Jazz Orchestra's JazZoo, brought atmosphere to BalletMet's production of the "Great Gatsby" and performed for "Prohibition: An evening with Ken Burns". As founders and choreographers of the SwingColumbus performance troupe they have led the team to win multiple competitions around the Midwest and a top ten finish at ILHC in 2010. www.lindyroos.com
After fourteen years of ballet as a child, Jenny searched high and low in college at Miami University for new dancing opportunities. She finally took a social dance class in 2005, and shortly afterward fell in love with swing dancing and joined the swing dance club. After coming to Ohio State in 2006 for grad school she started teaching in 2007 at the OSU Swing Club. She has taught East Coast and Lindy, and especially loves teaching Balboa. In addition to teaching at OSU's Swing Club, she has also taught at Miami University, Ohio University, the SwingColumbus monthly dance, and at Rocktober 2009.
Eric discovered swing dancing in 2001 at the Ohio State University and has been loving it ever since. Eric hopes to give back to the swing community what he's received from it, a passion for dancing. His enjoyment comes from meeting and dancing with new people from all over, as well as being able to just have fun. Eric is eager to DJ and teach for various clubs and organizations and has done so for several, including the Ohio State University's Swing Dance Club, Otterbein University's Swing Dance Club, Ohio University's Jitterbug Club, and of course, SwingColumbus. He's taught East Coast, Charleston, Lindy Hop, and Balboa. Although Lindy Hop is his first love, Balboa is his current passion.
Aleks still remembers wearing a groove in his kitchen floor trying to figure out the footwork for something called a 'swingout'. 10 years later, he continues to learn all he can at workshops and events around the country. Aleks has taught blues, lindy hop and charleston everywhere from his home in Columbus, Ohio to Shanghai, China and Dubai, UAE. He has won regional Jack & Jill and Strictly competitions, and has been a member of the SwingColumbus performance troupe since its inception. The focus in his teaching and his own dancing is on musicality, communication and expression.
As a dance instructor, Ali combines her two passions in life: swing dancing and teaching. She discovered swing in 2007 in her first year at the University of Dayton, and her feet haven't stopped moving since. Ali has experience teaching many types of swing dance, and specializes in Lindy Hop, Charleston, and East Coast Swing. In Columbus, she teaches frequently for SwingColumbus and OSU Swing Club, as well as teaching private lessons. She has competed in team and individual competitions all over the country and choreographed an award-winning team routine in 2011 for the University of Dayton Swing Dance Club. She has placed in many regional Jack and Jill and strictly competitions, including a first place win at the Nevermore Jazz Ball in St. Louis, MO. Ali is inspired by the music she dances to, and encourages her students to use dance as a form of self-expression. In classes, she teaches her students to find their own unique style of swing while learning the necessary fundamental skills. Prepare yourself for classes full of energy, enthusiasm, and joy!
Dave has two philosophies when it comes to learning to swing dance; Don't be afraid to challenge yourself and have fun doing it. Dave's started swing dancing in the San Francisco Bay Area way back in 1996 and has been teaching swing dance almost as long. Nowadays you can find him teaching with his wife Mandy all over Columbus. They teach regularly for SwingColumbus, the OSU Swing Dance Club and the Otterbein Swing Dance Club. Dave loves to teach every form of swing but Charleston and Lindy Hop are his two greatest passions.
Shannon 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.