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. Last year our teaching team was a big hit, so we're bringing them back for 2018! New on the team will be Melissa Shahin, teaching alongside Jeremy Otth.
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.
Jeremy Otth & Melissa Shahin (USA): Balboa and Shag
After years of teaching separately, Melissa Shahin and Jeremy Otth began their partnership 2012 while in search of learning each other’s dance styles. Since they have teamed up they have had the opportunity to do featured performances and hold titles in National Swing Dance Championships.
Melissa has a dance history founded in ballroom. She has traveled and toured performing for Jeff Tyzik’s “Let’s Dance!” and has been featured dancing on T.V shows and music videos such as Marvel’s Agent Carter TV Series, Johnny Hallyday’s “De L’Amour” and a variety of other live performances.
Jeremy has enjoyed studying the art and history of Swing dancing for 20 years. He has been seen on TV and movies like Dancing with the Stars, the 13th Floor, Marvel’s Agent Carter, and specialized music videos. He hold several Championship titles and is recognized in the California’s Swing Dance Hall of Fame.
Together With Melissa’s emphasis on style and elegance and Jeremy’s passion for dance history, creativity and jitterbug spirit they create a dynamic partnership that makes you enjoy partner dancing on whole new level. Their dynamic teaching style and love for people hope to inspire you towards your dance goals and aspirations.
Watch Jeremy and Melissa 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 teach Shag regularly at Swing Patrol Richmond, and have also taught interstate and internationally.
Between them, they’ve frequently placed and won at competitions internationally. They are passionate about Shag and place an emphasis on dancing Shag socially, and building the Shag community.
Watch Nial and Annabelle competing here (couple 337).