Our international instructors are among the very top dancers in the world, and this year we're extending our reach to bring instructors from Europe. They all have immense experience as dancers, instructors, and are all top competitors in the world circuit. Even though we've had favourite Irina Amzashvili here the past two years teaching Shag, she's also a top Balboa dancer and she'll be teaching alongside Blake Thiessen.
Please also welcome back to the teaching team our Australian instructors, who are all well-respected dancers and teachers in the scene and who have been key figures in spreading the love for Balboa and Shag in Australia.
Andreas Olsson (SWE) & Olga Marina (RUS): Balboa
Olga is from Moscow and was born into a family of teachers (language and music) and since early years has been an energetic live wire — studying music, doing athletics, martial arts and gymnastics. Olga has been teaching and competing all over Europe and is regarded as one of the best Balboa followers in Europe.
Andreas lives in Stockholm. He has been teaching, competing and performing Balboa, Lindy Hop, Charleston, Collegiate and St. Louis Shag internationally for more than a decade. Andreas is regarded as one of the top Balboa teachers and dancers of the world.
As instructors, Andreas and Olga emphasize partnership, musicality and follow-leading abilities. They have an easy-going, relaxed way of teaching. They are known for giving well-structured classes and they always try to give their students lots of individual feedback. Their ambition is to create playful classes filled with interesting footwork, figures, fun tasks and laughter.
Watch Andreas and Olga in action here.
Blake Thiessen & Irina Amzashvili (USA): Balboa
A proud member of the Southern California dance scene, Blake has irresponsibly stayed up many late nights repetitively analyzing old dance clips in slow-mo. His love for Swing manifests in immersion — you'll see him out dancing locally at least 3 nights a week, teaching at least twice a week, and at events once or twice a month. As a competitor, he's had consistent success with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd placements in The Intergallactic Balboa Championship, Mix and Match, and Open Classic divisions at All Balboa Weekend 2018. As a dancer and teacher, he particularly values connected, musical, and authentically inspired dancing. He enjoys helping his students achieve clarity and consistency in their leading and following while keeping them informed on historical repertoire.
Dancing has always been a passion for Irina, her expression completely and boundlessly inspired by music. She began learning Lindy Hop in 2009 at the age of 15 and fell in love with it after her first night of social dancing. While Lindy Hop was her gateway to the world of swing, she was captivated by Balboa within her first few years of dancing and began dedicating more and more time to it. She owes her rapid progression in part to spending her formative years in the original home of Balboa and being lucky enough to regularly dance with and learn from some of the best Balboa dancers in the world. She has since earned many accolades from events such as All Balboa Weekend, California Balboa Classic, the International Lindy Hop Championships, and Camp Hollywood. As a teacher her goal is to patiently guide her students through building solid foundations and technique as well as inspiring individuality in personal movement. Irina's greatest joy as a teacher is to see her students progress with their dancing, no matter the increment.
Watch Blake and Irina competing at All Balboa Weekend 2018 here.
Arnas Razgūnas & Eglė Nemickaitė (Lithuania): Collegiate Shag
One of the most prominent couples of Lithuanian Swing Dance scene, partnered up from the very first dance Arnas and Eglė are dancing, performing, teaching and inspiring the community in Vilnius everyday. Passion and joy for Lindy Hop and Collegiate Shag gained their name as international instructors in regular small workshops around Europe, specially in Poland, where along with Swingout.pl community they inspired Collegiate Shag scene in Warsaw and all over the country. Rich experience in teaching every day classes grants quality and fun with clear explanation of their material by expressing swing music and yourself in it. Arnas and Eglė are co-founders of What a Jazz Dance Studio in Vilnius and co-organisers of the one and only Balboa and Shag festival in Lithuania – Swing Paradise.
Watch Arnas and Eglė in action here.
Derek & Trish Carruthers (Sydney): Balboa
Derek and Trish have a great passion for Balboa and have been dancing it since 2005. They have won/placed several state and interstate competitions (AJC, ASDC, SJC, BOTR) and had the opportunity to teach locally, interstate and internationally.
The first Australians to be accepted into the renowned Balboa Experiment, they teach with a focus on technique, rhythm and style with an emphasis on natural and fun movement ... after all it's dancing.
Derek and Trish are two of the founding anchor teachers at the Sydney Shuffle Club and are looking forward to spending some time with you.
Watch Derek and Trish in action here.
Nial Bruce & Annabelle Hale (Melbourne): Collegiate Shag
Annabelle and Nial fell in love with Shag after they took their first lessons 7 years ago and ever since they’ve been working hard to build the Shag scene in Australia. They teach weekly shag classes in their home city, and have also taught across Australia and the US. Although they are avid competitors their true passion is dancing shag socially and comfortably, and building scenes with strong fundamentals.
Watch Nial and Annabelle in action here.