The Heartland Swing Festival in Des Moines, Iowa never fails to provide top talent. 2016 will be no different and the instructor roster is nothing short of amazing. These twelve instructors hail from all over the US and Canada, and have over 200 years of combined dance experience! That is a wealth of knowledge that will be dropped on the minds of 300 anxious pupils.
Beyond the sheer numbers of classes taught, hours danced and awards won, what makes this lineup so special is the diversity and variety of dance styles that they bring to the dance floor and the classroom. Lindy Hop, Charleston, Collegiate Shag, St. Louis Shag, Balboa, Boogie Woogie, Hip Hop, Vintage Solo Jazz and numerous others dance forms will be offered during six tracks of classes for beginners through advanced dancers.
Though much of the Midwest has long been considered the “fly over states,” Heartland Swing Festival organizers have made it their mission to brand Des Moines, Iowa as a premiere destination for swing dance enthusiasts to share their love of lindy hop and jazz music. By hiring the biggest names in the business and by encouraging and welcoming every dancer at every level, the event is sure to win over the hearts of dancers young and old.
The Heartland Swing Festival is proud to introduce the 2016 instructor lineup. Take some time to get to know these 12 all stars a little better by reading about them below, and check our their bios on the Instructors page. Registration opens Wednesday, November 4th at noon!
2016 Heartland Swing Festival Instructor Lineup
David Frutos and Kim Clever (Ventura, CA)
David and Kim are the most seasoned veterans of the group. They have both been dancing since the 1980s and have taught at every single Heartland Swing Festival! The longtime lovebirds just got married in September of 2015, so make sure to congratulate them on their recent nuptials. We are excited to have them back and look forward to their classic California style.
Peter Strom and Naomi Uyama (Minneapolis, MN)
Peter and Naomi are also newlyweds, having tied the knot in June of 2015, so be sure to congratulate them as well. They have both been dancing since the mid 90s and have played a big role in the swing dance revival throughout the Midwest. When they are not traveling the world to teach lindy hop, Peter and Naomi run Uptown Swing in Minneapolis where hundreds of students study under their expert tutelage. This will be the third time that these two have graced the floors of the Heartland Swing Festival.
Kenny Nelson and Delilah Williams (Denver, CO)
Though this duo has been dancing for several years, they bring an energy and passion for the dance that would make it difficult for even the most energetic millennials to keep up. They can battle with the best of them and they bring that intensity to the classroom. Lindy hop is a physical dance that is meant to be expressed throughout the entire body so be prepared to free your body from any restrictions when you take class from these two. (BTW, Kenny just got married in October of 2015 to the beautiful and talented Jesse Hanus, so be sure to haze him a little bit too.)
Jamin Jackson and Annie Trudeau (Tulsa, OK and Montreal, CANADA)
It’s crazy to think that Jamin has only been swing dancing since 2010, but when you take a look at his dance resume, it is no wonder that he excelled so quickly at Lindy Hop. He has choreographed, performed and instructed for over two decades in a variety of dance forms, including Hip Hop, Musical Theater, and Jazz. Annie’s list of accolades goes back to the early 2000s. She is a co-founder and co-owner of Studio 88-SWING in Montreal (Canada) where she has taught swing since 2001.
Christian Frommelt and Jenny Shirar (St. Louis, MO)
These two cats are the newest on the scene but have risen to the top like a rocket. They have traveled the world spreading their love of Lindy Hop and St. Louis Shag. They are two of the world’s foremost aficionados of St. Louis Shag, which they learned from original St. Louis Shag dancers John Bedrosian, the late Tommy Russo, and Lorraine Byrne. They are the undefeated Showdown Battle Champions having won battles at the Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown in 2014 and 2015.
Mikey Brafford and Dee Daniels Locke (Twin Cities, MN)
Mikey and Dee have both been dancing since the late 1990s when Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Brian Setzer and Squirrel Nut Zippers were all the rage. Kudos to you if you remember who those bands are. Mikey and Dee started their partnership in 2009 and have enjoyed teaching, traveling and competing with each other for the past seven years. The duo love introducing new dancers to Lindy Hop and feel fortunate to work under Master Instructors Peter Strom and Naomi Uyama at Uptown Swing in Minneapolis, MN.
There you have it folks! The 2016 Heartland Swing Festival instructors. Spread the word and remember to register on November 4th.