Sylvia Sykes and Blake Thiessen

Sylvia Sykes began dancing in 1966, competing in 1970, and teaching in 1979. She has studied with many of the dance greats, including Frankie Manning, Dean Collins, Maxie Dorf, and Willie Desatoff.

Her extensive studies and travels have made her an expert on regional dance styles and she is known for her expertise in the older forms of Swing dance. She is credited with helping to preserve Balboa by introducing the dance worldwide.

Her dance troupe ran for fifteen years, performed with some of the great Swing bands, and nurtured other International teachers. She has appeared in many TV shows and in several documentaries on Swing dancing over the years.

As a naive Southern California college student, Blake discovered swing dancing with a whimsical New Year’s resolution to try learning the dancing he saw in Swing Kids (1993). Little did he know, SoCal was one of the world’s largest scenes, with a rich history and dozens of the world’s best dancers and instructors. Immediately hooked, he developed a relentless obsession for Lindy, Balboa, and Collegiate Shag. He’s since gone on to win in a variety of international competitions and has taught around the world in places like Europe, Korea, Japan, Australia, and the US.

In his free time, Blake loves to study vintage dance clips. He has a deep reverence for the original dancers and loves to teach classes that focus on particular styles and techniques they used. As an instructor he also focuses on imparting his values of partner connection, tasteful musicality, and developing beautiful basics. While he loves practice, competition, and performance, his favorite thing about dancing is just having a simple, deeply-connected social dance with a like-minded partner

Jenn Lee and Andreas Ollsen

Andreas claims to be the unchallenged record holder (so far!) of most hours spent on social swing dance floors in Stockholm. He is an energizer bunny, and only takes a break to change into another colourful bow-tie or t-shirt with a funny print! He has been placed in a number of prestigious competitions in both Lindy Hop and Balboa around the world with a number of well-known Swing dancers.

He teaches dance because he loves to see students learn and improve. As Andreas sees it, teaching is inspiring since it offers a possibility to contribute to the ever-changing dance style and scene.

Jennifer Lee is lucky to have Seattle, Washington as her home dance scene, although you can find her travelling all over the world for Balboa events. She 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. She is an avid social dancer, instructor and competitor. 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.

Sanna Leinonen and Adam LaMontagne

Sanna and Adam have been dancing and teaching swing together for the past twelve years. During this time, they have become well known for the joy and skill that they bring to the social dance floor. Mostly partial to balboa jack & jill competitions, they have taken numerous titles individually at events such as The Snowball, European Swing Dance Championships and Balboa Castle Camp, as well as placing in various events in Europe and the US during the past several years.

Fast becoming immensely popular as teachers at international dance events, Adam and Sanna emphasize a solid mix of technique and playfulness resulting in a dynamic and personalized approach to musicality and movement that is accessible to all dancers.