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The Teachers

The main teachers for this year's festival are shown below. Note that the teachers you get will depend on which track you sign up to; see the Workshops page for more information.


Sylvia Sykes (USA)
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.

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 the undefeated Southern California Balboa Champion.

Sylvia will be teaching with Nick Williams.


Nick Williams (USA)
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 honored to be 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.

Nick will be teaching with Sylvia Sykes.


Mickey Fortanasce & Kelly Arsenault (USA)
Mickey Fortanasce & Kelly Arsenault
A native of Pasadena California, Mickey was introduced to Balboa early on in his dance-life. His captivation for this particular dance resulted in his subsequent efforts to learn as much as possible about Balboa. For the last eight years, Mickey has lived in New York where he has been working to bring a greater love and appreciation for Balboa to the city.

Originally from Tennessee, Kelly Arsenault has been a dancer for the majority of her life. She has participated in ballet, jazz, and modern dance. In 2003, Kelly moved to NYC and teamed up with Mickey soon afterwards.

Mickey and Kelley are internationally recognized teachers and have taught extensively in the United States, Canada, Europe, Korea and Australia. They hold repeat competition victories at the Balboa Rendezvous and are 2008 ABW American Balboa Classic Champions as well as winners of the 2010 ILHC Balboa Strictly division. They have been featured in Time Out New York, The New York Sun, Good Day New York and, and have been interviewed and filmed for a story on balboa aired on HDTV.


Valerie Salstrom & Jacob Wigger (USA)
Valerie Salstrom & Jacob Wigger
One of America's busiest Lindy and Balboa teachers, Valerie has a reputation for her finesse on the dance floor. She emphasizes musicality and connection regardless of the style of swing. She organizes the 'All Balboa Weekend' held annually in her home town of Cleveland. This Weekend event first started in 2001 and was the first major dance camp dedicated solely to Balboa. It features the American Classic Balboa Championships (ACBC), one of the nations most respected and sought after Balboa competitions.

Valerie is enthusiastic about passing on her love and passion for dance and she brings a fresh, interesting, and lighthearted attitude to both the dance floor and the classroom. She teaches all over the United States, Canada and Europe and runs a dance studio in her hometown of Cleveland.

Jacob is a rising star in LA. He has won numerous awards and titles in balboa and can be caught sometimes teaching at a the Lindy Groove. Jacob brings a fresh approach and bundles of enthusiasm to boot. He's rapidly gained the respect of Balboa's elders which says volumes for his undoubted talent. Together, he and Valerie won the International Balboa Championships at Balboa Rendezvous.








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