Steve and Chanzie are dancers/performers/instructors/choreographers based out of California. Their partnership began in 2010 and together they have won many Lindy, Shag and Team competitions at events such as Camp Hollywood, Camp Jitterbug, and the US Open. While they have a love for all things that swing their primary influences and inspirations come from the LA Jitterbugs of the 40′s and 50′s. They are passionate about keeping their love for smooth style Lindy and Collegiate Shag alive and well as they teach and perform all over the world.
Heather Ballew hails from the lovely, landlocked city of Denver where majestic mountains tower over the skyline, sunny days are plentiful, and the name “Mile High City” has several connotations. As a participant of the 1990′s swing renaissance, Heather Ballew swears she learned everything the wrong way first and has had to relearn and refine every bit of her dancing multiple times over the years. In the classroom, she strives to help her students gain confidence and realize their full potential on the social or competition floor but her biggest goal is to open up new avenues for creativity and communication within the partnership. She loves dancing with people of all levels and she is known for her connection, footwork and playfulness. She can be found teaching around the United States and abroad, talking passionately about scene-building, and starting zany and sometimes thoughtful Facebook discussions.
Krister Shalm was born in a snow storm, but raised in a desert. Things finally improved when he discovered Lindy Hop in graduate school. The instrument that best matches his personality is a tuba. Briefly, in 2004, he became infatuated with neo-swing music. Krister regrets deeply those three weeks. Given the choice of sharing lunch with any swing-era musicians, he would opt for Slim and Slam. To him, swing dancing is a moving portrait of momentum and rhythm. He believes Balboa is a dance that is more about the journey than the destination. This is fortunate because the steps are so small it is hard reach any destination. He likes his swing outs and toss outs like he likes his underwear–stretchy. Krister believes that everyone is a dancer, they just might not know it yet. As a dance teacher, sometimes his mouth runs ahead of his brain to both the horror and delight of his students. Krister currently lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife, Heather, and together they run a swing dance school, but occasionally he gets distracted by his day job as an experimental quantum physicist. Krister hopes to one day own a lawn so that he can yell at kids to stay off it. This will probably never happen as he hates mowing and loves kids.
Jennifer Runyan started dancing Lindy Hop in 2014 and hasn’t stopped since. Mixing her passion for the dance, her love of swing music, and her natural athletism, Jennifer brings a fresh dynamism to the floor every time she dances. She has won first place titles at numerous events to include the National Jitterbug Championships (NJC), the International Lindy Hop Championships, the Northwest Lindy Hop Championships, Inspiration Weekend, the Arizona State Lindy Hop Championships, the California Swing Dance Championships, Rocky Mountain Balboa Blowout, and made finals or placed in many more. In 2016, Jennifer and AJ were also awarded the Golden Budgie Award at the NJC for exceptional performance and exemplifying the Spirit of the Jitterbug.
Jennifer continually focuses on both the technical aspects of partner connection, movement, and musicality, but strives to maintain the simple, but powerful joy, inherent in being a “Jitterbug.” Jennifer is a member of the two-time, current reigning national team champions, The Midtown Stompers, and in her non-dance time, she can be found at the gym, fighting crime, or hanging with sister and dog, Sherlock.
AJ Howard was introduced to Lindy Hop during the Fall of 2014 in Sacramento and immediately fell in love! With his energetic personality, love of the dance, and history with jazz music, he channels those traits and delivers a performance that’s 100% unique! He has placed first in various Lindy events such as Inspiration Weekend, Camp Hollywood (NJC), International Lindy Hop Championships, and California Swing Dance Championships to name a few. He and his partner Jennifer have been dancing together for nearly 3 years now and in addition to their exceptional performances in couples competitions, they’re also current members of the 2-time reigning NJC Team Division Champions, The Midtown Stompers!
As a dancer that ‘feels’ the music, AJ really puts an emphasis on the fun aspect of the dance while still aiming to deliver an enjoyable conversation. He and Jennifer are recognized around the Lindy Hop community for their dynamic air steps and synergetic partnership. For the rare occasions when he’s not dancing, AJ is either at work selling luxury cars, going out with friends, or watching Lindy Hop videos on YouTube!
Nick Peterson - It all started on an outdoor, uneven cobblestone floor that is the Las Vegas Strip on September 12, 1998, when a skinny high school senior in $20 Payless loafers first…..Ohhh….man….that was a long time ago. I mean, I obviously understand I’m in my twentieth year dancing, but to see it written down…I’ve been doing this for awhile…and who are all these kids dancing outside. Why aren’t they somewhere else? Hey! Get off my lawn!
Sami Askew - Samara or best known by Sami. Sami has been dancing for over 6 years. She loves expressing musicality and emotion through Solo Jazz, Lindy, Charleston, Balboa, and Shag. One of her favorite things is being creative to whatever music she hears.
Jacob Spinney - Jacob is a swing dancer/performer/instructor based out of Arizona. He’s been dabbling in swing dancing for the past decade and has been obsessed with it for the past few years. What he enjoys most is syncopation, tension and compression, slides, and being a goofball.