Nikki grew up with a passion for early Jazz and Swing music; learning to dance was a natural progression. A 1st place win at the 2004 National Jitterbug Championships jump started her competition, performance and teaching career. Her style focuses on the things she loves the most about Lindy Hop: connection, rhythm, musicality, and lines. Nikki is a strong believer in dancing for the right reasons. Dance for yourself and no one else. She feels that we should look to others for inspiration and guidance, but form our own ideas about the dance. Her accolades include placement and winnings from: The National Jitterbug Championships, The International Lindy Hop Championships, The US Open, Rhythmic Arts Festival, Camp Jitterbug, and more. Nikki was a featured performer on Dancing with the Stars as well as many other tv and movie productions as both a dancer and choreographer. She also appears in a long list of music videos including the “Happy” video by Farrell Williams, Katy Perry’s “Thinking of You”, Capital Cities “Safe and Sound”, Redfoo’s “Lights Out” and more. Today, Nikki owns ATOMIC Ballroom in Orange County, Ca, produces Inspiration Weekend, is the director/producer of the Atomic Cherry Bombs and has recently begun traveling the world as a Burlesque performer.
Laura Keat began her swing dance career in Denver when she joined the award-winning Lindy Hop performance team, 23 Skidoo! She immediately developed a passion for the art of swing dancing. Ever the disciplined student and skilled competitor, Laura began winning national titles and gaining recognition as a championship lindy hop follow with an independent style and point of view. She loves dancing with a wide variety of leads with diverse styles and ideas to challenge and broaden her own abilities as a follow. And as an instructor, she brings a fresh perspective towards developing each student’s technical foundation and individual style. For Laura, every dance is a chance to put smiles on peoples’ faces with an entertaining performance which shares and inspires the joy and excitement for swing dancing.
Nick Williams has embodied the passion and spirit of swing dancing ever since his first lesson in 1998. His in depth understanding of Lindy Hop, Balboa, and Collegiate Shag stem 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, U.S. 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. He is also an accomplished choreographer and has been featured on 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 for music and dancing will forever inspire him to learn, teach, and grow. In 2004, Nick was honored to be recognized by the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame.
Michael Gamble is a principal organizer of Lindy Focus and leader of the Rhythm Serenaders. He also plays with the Low-Down Sires, Russ Wilson’s Famous Orchestra, and countless other early jazz and swing projects in and around Asheville, NC USA. When the opportunity arises, Michael is honored to occasionally play with Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five, Falty and the Defects, and with other artists who live in this strange and wonderful intersection of the music and the dance. Michael has performed at Nevermore Jazz Ball, Stompology, ILHC, Swingout New Hampshire, Lindy Focus, Inspiration Weekend, Lindy on the Rocks, Slow Dance Soiree, Bal-ast Off, Music City Shuffle, All Balboa Weekend, Empire City Swing, and countless other workshops and exchanges in the last few years. In 2006 Michael received his undergraduate degree in Jazz Studies with a focus on arranging, composition, and jazz piano performance. He has taught at Welbourne Jazz Camp, and has helped shape the live music and music education programs at Lindy Focus in different ways for the past 15 years. Originally a total music theory geek, he has since sought to find the balance between the analytical and intuitive approaches to learning music, both of which he believes are needed. Michael loves the process of learning about and studying jazz as much as he loves playing it, and looks forward to sharing that passion with students of all levels!
Since his start in 1998 Peter has taught at dance camps from Australia to South Korea to Herrang, Sweden. In addition to teaching he brings with him his skills as a sought after DJ and experienced Master of Ceremonies. He is currently a member of the renowned team the Silver Shadows and the founder of Uptown Swing in his hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Todd Yannacone is one of the most recognizable names on the swing dancing circuit today. He has won countless championship titles from the most prestigious competitions around – The American Lindy Hop Championships, The Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown, The U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships, The National Jitterbug Championships, The Rhythmic Arts Festival, Lone Star Championships, The International Lindy Hop Championships, Lindy Focus – to name just a few. Todd has been inducted into the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame, and has been interviewed for articles by Swing Dancer Magazine and various other publications. He has taught vernacular jazz, Balboa, Shag, Lindy Hop, Charleston, and other jazz era dances both locally and internationally since he was 16 years old. His demand as an instructor, performer, and judge has taken him to 28 countries and five continents. He specializes in connection and musicality, which is apparent every time he steps on the dance floor. He has worked with dance and music legends alike, and is a member of the acclaimed dance troupe, the Silver Shadows.
Naomi Uyama discovered jazz at 16 years of age. After immersing herself in the Lindy Hop and becoming a world renowned instructor she honed her craft as a jazz vocalist and formed her own band Naomi & Her Handsome Devils.