Ladies and gentlemen, we are delighted to introduce our All the Cats Join In instructor line up!
Our international instructors are among the very top dancers in the world. They have immense experience as dancers, instructors, and are all top competitors in the world circuit. Some of you may have had the pleasure to learn from Laura and Jeremy in Australia before, but this will be the first time in Australia for Jennifer, Jacob, Irina and Mike!
Please also welcome 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.
Jeremy Otth & Laura Keat (USA): Balboa and Shag
Since 2006, Jeremy and Laura have been united in the task of preserving, performing and teaching Lindy Hop, Collegiate Shag, Balboa and other vintage swing dances once popular in Southern California and Harlem. Their dynamic dance partnership is founded on a blend of Laura’s passion for technique driven improvisation and styling with Jeremy’s boundless creative energy and years of experience with the original jitterbug dancers. Together, Jeremy and Laura’s fast feet and tight choreography have brought them numerous championship titles, credits in music videos, appearances on ABC’s hit show Dancing with the Stars, and even honors from the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame.
Laura 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.
Jeremy Otth amassed a great amount of knowledge on the historic essence of vintage swing dances from many of the original jitterbuggs and swing dancers. Along with his seemingly inexhaustible amount of energy, Jeremy’s natural talent and dedication led him to accumulate championship titles at many acclaimed dance competitions such as the International Lindy Hop Championships, National Jitterbug Championships, American Classic Balboa Championships and the US Open Swing Dance Championships. Jeremy is now able to share that breadth of knowledge and passion for these classic partner dances by entertaining and educating feet from Southern California to around the world.
Watch Jeremy and Laura in action here.
Jennifer Lee & Jacob Wigger (USA): Balboa
Jenn is lucky to have Seattle, Washington as her home dance scene, although you can find her traveling all over the world for Balboa events. She grew up in rural North Dakota, playing the violin, oboe, and singing. She also earned a black belt in Shotokan karate. During school one of her friends took her to a swing dance, and she has loved dancing every since. 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.
Jennifer 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. As an instructor, her focus is on creativity and partner communication. She is also known as an avid social dancer and is often one of the last dancers to leave the dance floor.
Jacob has been dancing Balboa since 2005 and over the years has earned credibility, knowledge and an individual style. Jacob is famous for his fast Pure Balboa footwork and his large repertoire of unique spins and turns when he’s in the spotlight. As a teacher he enjoys using a mix of humorous analogies and serious instruction to create a fun and exciting learning environment.
Watch Jenn and Jacob in action here.
Irina Amzashvili & Mike Mizgalski (USA): Collegiate Shag
The first time Irina saw Collegiate Shag, she was immediately enamored by it and knew she had to learn it. By some lucky happenstance, she found herself under the wing of Shag legend, Sailor Mike Mizgalski, and they eventually began competing and teaching together. Irina's passion for Swing dancing includes Lindy Hop, Balboa, and Charleston. Her greatest joy as a teacher is to see her students progress with their dancing, no matter the increment. She likes to focus on clean, efficient technique and natural styling that results from being comfortable with one's basics.
It all started at the famous Derby in Hollywood, California, made famous by the movie Swingers. Mike was still struggling with his lindy hop swing out when he saw a couple dancing some “new” dance called Collegiate Shag. He was hooked. Mike devoted the next few months to getting this dance down. He did, and the next year he won his first trophy in the Camp Hollywood Shag Jam. Since then Mike has placed in that contest eight times, winning it twice! Now, celebrating his 18th year of dancing Collegiate Shag, heʼs thrilled to take his expertise in smooth LA style Shag out of the USA for the first time and share it with everyone at All the Cats Join In!
Watch Irina and Mike 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 years ago and ever since they've been working hard to build the Shag scene in Australia. They've taught locally and interstate and they've won competitions both in Australia and overseas.
Most recently they placed 3rd in Camp Hollywood's Shag division. They are passionate about Shag and place emphases on dancing Shag socially.
Watch Nial and Annabelle competing here (third couple on the right).