For CalBal Live, we’ve committed to hiring a core team of world-class instructors. Our goal is to give these instructors as close to a “normal” instruction rate for the weekend as possible under current conditions.
When you register for CalBal Live, you’ll get a great learning experience while also helping our instructors stay afloat financially.
An internationally recognized authority on several different forms of swing dance, Sylvia Sykes has lectured and taught dance workshops all over the world since 1985. She has competed in numerous dance competitions, appeared on television, been featured with orchestras such as Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, and Count Basie, as well as being voted into the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame as well as the National Swing Dance Hall of Fame.
Sylvia studied Balboa with Maxie Dorf and spent years learning from the greatest Southern California Balboa dancers. She was also privileged to study Lindy Hop with Dean Collins, and was a member of his last dance troupe. Together with her original partner Jonathan Bixby, Sylvia was a six-time U.S. Open Finalist and two-time Southern California Balboa Champion.
Sylvia is the driving force behind Balboa all over the world and has been for many years.
Shani hails from sunny southern California. She is best known for her fast, syncopated Balboa footwork, tight swing style and her soft connection – which has been said to feel like a ‘warm hug’. As an instructor, she strives to make dancing simple and effortless with a strong emphasis on combining foundational basics with the soft skills of connection and personal body awareness to develop one’s own smooth flow and style.
For 20 years, Shani has dedicated herself to learning, preserving and sharing her love for Balboa and other social dances. She began swing dancing 1998 before moving to Orange County where she discovered a vibrant vintage swing community well connected to their local original dancers. She was immediately attracted to the fast footwork of Balboa and began frequenting the dance floors of first-generation dancers.
Shani is honored to have honed her social dance skills and footwork under the guidance of legendary dancers Willie Desatoff, Hal and Marge Takier, Bart Bartolo, Jack Carey and many others. And although she has competed, placed and won several major competitions, she mainly enjoys social dancing and inspiring others to love balboa and swing.
Laura is the founder of California Balboa Classic. Since 2006, she and Jeremy Otth 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 Keat 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.
Since 2006, Jeremy Otth and Laura Keat 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.
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 around the world from Southern California to Asia and Europe.
Nick has embodied the passion and spirit of swing dancing ever since his first lesson in 1998. The depth of his understanding of Lindy Hop, Balboa, and Collegiate Shag stems from studying with the original dancers. Nick’s desire for authenticity, combined with his passion for dance evolution, leads to a style known for precision, lightness, musicality and dynamic energy. His successes include World Lindy Hop Champion, US Open Swing Dance Champion, American Lindy Hop Champion, National Jitterbug Champion, International Lindy Hop Champion, Ultimate Lindy Hop Champion, American Classic Balboa Champion and California Balboa/Swing Champion. Nick was recognized by the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame. He is also an accomplished choreographer and has choreographed for the hit television show So You Think You Can Dance. As an instructor, he is known for his ability to break down movements and technique to create a fun and light-hearted learning environment. His true love of music and dancing will forever inspire him to learn, teach, and grow.
CalBal Live has no limits on attendance, and we have every intention of hiring additional instructors as class tracks fill up. The more people register, the more instructors we can hire.
You can help: encourage your friends to register and share our event on social media.