2016 Camp Swing Teachers
Camp Swing 2017 have not yet been confirmed, but below are the teachers from 2016 to give you an idea of the amazing types of teachers who join us.
At camp: 2016, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997
Micah Jacobson has been an ambassador of the San Francisco swing scene from the beginning. He began teaching at the historic Hi-Ball in 1995, voted the best swing club in the country during its peak years. Micah can be seen in music video, advertisements, and movies like the Sony Tri-Star film “The Thirteenth Floor.” He has taught swing to the CEO of The Gap one day and hundreds of high school kids on another. Micah has a true gift for teaching the dance and making it FUN! Micah is an original member of the swing group “Bay City Boogie,” who have performed at numerous events and in front of thousands at the Sacramento Kings half time show. He has trained, taught, and competed all over the world including Monsters of Swing, “Blast from the Past,” the National Lindy Hop Championships and the SF Swing Jam where he placed first.
John Ratto & Charissa Ratto
At camp: 2016, 2014, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009
John and Charissa are the 2007 San Francisco Shag Jam Champions. Traveling with a professional dance troupe, they have given instruction and been a part of performances all over the state. They entered the competitive dance world 2 years ago and have continued to develop into advanced dancers. Some of their other accomplishments include: 3rd at the 2007 National Jitterbug Champions in the Pro Collegiate Shag Division, as well as winning several local competitions. In their passion for dancing, John and Charissa hope to help everyone learn and enjoy this historic dance and keep swing alive. Their focus for students is to become comfortable quickly and enjoy themselves on a social dance floor.
At camp: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000
A long time camp organizer and instructor, Colleen has an extensive background in performance and she has been dancing for over 20 years. Especially passionate about swing, she has studied many dance styles including jazz, salsa, hip-hop, tap, Afro-Haitian, Irish & English country dance, ballroom and most recently fallen in love with contemporary dance. Colleen has performed with Bay City Boogie and the Swing Cats Rhythm Review, as well as being featured in industry and music videos way back in the day. She has choreographed shows and taught various dance styles at American Conservatory Theater, Santa Rosa Junior College, Las Positas College and The Willows Theatre Company, as well as teaching and performing at private events and parties throughout the bay area.
At camp: 2016, 2015, 2014
Damon Donnelly is professional dancer and has been performing and teaching for over 17 years. Damon’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 choreographing and dancing for the Swing Kings, Touring the world with Will Smith for Millennium, Performing with Brian Setzer Orchestra and The LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. He has won countless local and international competitions since 1996. Damon is a proud member of ‘The Hollywood Hotshots’ dance team, who are specialist in preservation and education of both Historical and Contemporary Urban American Street Dance. He has made his mark on Film/TV and Music Video including the Original Brian Setzer “Jump Jive and Wail and recently Fergie “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody” His love for music and dancing will forever inspire him to progress, learn, teach, and share his passion.
At camp: 2016, 2015
Hep Jen is well-known to both long-time and new Lindy Hop dancers alike. She started teaching free lessons at Lindy in the Park in 2004, which over the years has introduced thousands of people in the Bay Area to swing dancing, and eventually Lindy Hop. Currently, Hep Jen runs the Lindy Hop classes at Tuesday Night Jump at the Verdi Club. Prior to teaching in San Francisco, Jen started teaching Lindy Hop in Seattle in 1997. As a DJ, Hep Jen has fired up the crowds at many national events such as Camp Hollywood, Swing Camp Catalina, the Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown, and countless Lindy Exchanges. Check out her current teaching and DJ schedule on her website at www.hepjen.com.
At camp: 2016, 2015
Nathan is an award-winning swing dance instructor, performer and DJ in San Francisco specializing in Lindy Hop, Charleston & Jazz. Dancing since 1997, Nathan learned his chops on the social and competitive dance floor, at national and international dance camps, and as a performer with the SF Bounce and 3 Minute Maniacs swing dance troupes. Nathan started teaching dance in 2005 and is the regular dance instructor at and organizes Cat’s Corner, the Wednesday night swing dance at Balancoire Night Club in SF. He also teaches weekly group classes at the SF Women’s Building in the Mission District. Over the years, Nathan has taught and contributed at numerous SF swing venues including: the 9:20 Special, Lindy in the Park, Tuesday Night Jump, SF Doghouse, Rent Party and Ashkenaz. He’s been featured at workshops big and small, both in the SF Bay Area & California region, as well as internationally in Switzerland and Spain. As a teacher he is known for his attention to detail, emphasis on connection and strong fundamentals, and clear breakdown of movement while conveying the rich history, jazz rhythms, athleticism and playful joy of Lindy Hop!
At camp: 2016
Philippe Wilson is all about listening to the music and his partner, and interpreting both with exquisite flair. He combines precise leads with musical integrity, creating a dynamic dance that feels great in all the right ways. Although Philippe has rocked some competitions, his first and true love is social dancing. He loves questions and is always seeking better understanding of what makes dancing great.
Philippe learned to dance and teach in Austin, TX, where you can dance to live music nearly 8 nights a week. He now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where he’s designing very cool things for very cool mobile devices.
Bromley and Jean
At camp: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008
Jean Ma and Bromley Palamountain who first teamed up in August 2004, are award-winning swing dance instructors, choreographers, and performers specializing in vernacular movement through the dance patterns of Lindy Hop, Balboa, and Charleston. Jean is also well-versed in hip-hop having danced in the professional hip-hop troupe Culture Shock, while Bromley’s expertise lies in his gymnastics foundation. He trained under Olympic gold medalist Tim Daggett and was able to pave his way through college as a competitive gymnast.
They live in Berkeley, California but teach across the San Francisco/ East Bay Area and have even been stretching their wings out with some national and international appearances. Jean and Bromley also run a weekly venue in Berkeley, CA called The Dancers’ Den (www.berkeleydancersden.com) every Tuesday night.
Together they are known for their explosive aerials, high energy, and passion for the dance. Jean and Bromley love to showcase their talents in competitions, jam circles, and on the social dance floor. They ardently spread the coolness of Lindy Hop wherever they go, enjoying teaching and the many friends they have met within the dance community.
At camp: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997
Camp Swing Co-Director Jenna Chalmers has been teaching and performing dance since 1993. She has appeared in music videos, advertisements, and commercials. You may have seen her flying through the air on the Washington Mutual posters or in the Sony Tri-Star film “The Thirteenth Floor.” She has performed on-stage with The Brian Setzer Orchestra and The Manhattan Transfer, and worked with GAP, Hewlett-Packard, Macys, and Pixar Animation Studios, to name a few. Jenna has been a member and choreographer for the performance groups “Bay City Boogie,” “Retro Cabaret,” “Le CanCan Bijou,” and “The Decobelles.” She is an accomplished irish ceili dancer and travels the world to learn new forms of dance. She has appeared on TV and National Public Radio as an expert in the field of swing dance. Jenna has trained, taught, competed, and judged internationally, including “Monsters of Swing,” the National Lindy Hop Championships, Swing For Choice, “Blast From the Past”, and the “World Swing Championships” in London.
At camp: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001
Heidi has been dancing jazz, ballet and tap her entire life and she was so excited when partner dancing found her over 16 years ago in her favorite city – San Francisco. She quickly became a serious competitor, winning national and international titles. From there, Heidi was swept away into the whirlwind of International dance teaching, and she has traveled the country and the globe teaching swing to thousands of students. She also teaches classes in the homes of countless students with her Instructional swing dance DVDs. Heidi has even flashed on the screen of Dancing with the Stars and was honored to be inducted into the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame in 2005.
You name a dance and Heidi will dance it with her own personal style, flare and grace. Her repertoire includes Lindy Hop, Balboa, Shag, Charleston and even some big air. Her latest favorite is West Coast swing and when she’s not swing dancing, chances are she’s out Salsa or Bachata dancing or playing with her 10 year old girl Juliette whose first Camp Swing experience was when she was only five months old.
Heidi’s years of dance training and instruction allow her to teach technical dance proficiency while still engaging her students in the fun and joy of the dance. She encourages everyone to make the dance their own and always brings smiles and laughter into her classes. She provides the leads what they need to be the follower’s favorite and encourages the followers to hone in on their special skills and to not shy away from their femininity.
At camp: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002, 1999, 1998, 1997
In 1997, Sara was a brand new dancer in San Francisco. Camp Swing was the first dance event she ever attended. The incredible experience of the dance, music and community opened her eyes to a new world, and was instrumental in her pursuing a life of dance. Camp Swing was a pioneer in creating events and our scene as we know it today. Sara is passionate about passing on the joy of Lindy Hop, and growing this community that has given her everything.
Currently living in Los Angeles, Sara has been teaching, performing, and competing around the country since 1998. She is currently the resident teacher at El Cid in Los Angeles and performs in the Supper Club Show there. She blends her prior experience in figure skating with extensive training in several forms of swing, including Lindy Hop, Charleston, Balboa, Collegiate & St. Louis Shag. Her enthusiasm for the dance and the music shine through in her teaching. Her classes are fun, lively, and always entertaining. Her mix of humor, great musicality, and her knack for breaking it down ensures that everyone has a good time learning how to dance.
Most recently, she was thrilled to place with Stephen Sayer in the Pro Classic Lindy Hop Competition at last month’s National Jitterbug Championships/Camp Hollywood.
At camp: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2008
Jeff Kroll has been swing dancing since 1996, and teaching and competing nationally since 2004. He has danced on TV and for the big screen, and has performed, taught, and DJed at countless public and private events.
While Jeff enjoys all styles of swing dancing, he has a particular fondness for Balboa-Swing, dancing and teaching it almost every chance he gets. His love for dancing and his desire to share it is reflected in the enthusiasm and positive energy he brings to his classes. Jeff infuses everything with fun and creativity, even the most technical of details, and he is known for the relaxed, patient individual attention and encouraging guidance he gives.
At camp: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013
Calvin Hamilton has been dancing since he was 5 years old. To him it is an expression of his soul. He has an insatiable, eclectic passion for dance, which has been channeled through various forms and styles. In his years of dancing hip hop, he performed with the group “Rare Form”, and was featured in Christian Crawford’s Hip Hop instructional video. He started partner dancing in 1997 with salsa and was featured in Carmen Milagra’s dance video, “Milagra”. He performed in several Bay Area salsa competitions and the San Francisco Carnival parade.
In 1999 he discovered Lindy Hop, and 6 months later he was being asked to teach. In addition to private lessons, he taught with Belinda Ratcliff at the Allegro Ballroom in Emeryville, CA and several weekend workshops in Mendocino, CA. He also taught at Frankie Manning’s 96th Birthday weekend. He was featured in the documentary “The Lindy Life”. Other notable dance experiences included performing traditional Vietnamese dances with the Nguyen Dance Company.
His energetic classes often utilize a “call and response” format, dissecting and specifying the form required in each part of a dance move, so the students are actively engaged in the learning and the entire class grows as a unit. The steps are broken down so a basic dancer can learn, but advanced dancers can find places to embellish and grow their personal style and flare. In addition to solid technique, he encourages improvisation using music as a guide, but not feeling restricted by what style the music dictates. The traditional form of the dance provides the foundation on which to build unique and new steps through improvisation and fusion. “Mistakes” are simply spice for the gumbo and chances to create new moves tailored to the students in his class.
At camp: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997
Cari Siess-Bartholomew is in her 25th year coaching Womens’ Artistic gymnastics and is currently a Director at the most successful gymnastics club in Southern California, JAG GYM. On the swing scene, she has been teaching and performing since 1995 and has gained numerous professional credits and awards, including appearances in videos for Brian Setzer, Cherry Poppin Daddies, John Lee Hooker, Santana, and she graces the cover of the subculture book “Swing The New Retro Renaissance”. As an early pioneer in bringing Lindy Hop into the nightclub scene, Cari, with long- time partner Johnny Swing, taught hundreds of people to dance with their easygoing and entertaining style. Cari was the co-creator of the wildly successful “San Francisco Swing Jam” in the 90’s and was a guest instructor and performer for multiple years at the famous Monsters of Swing in Ventura. More recently, Cari performed on stage with The Brian Setzer Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl to sold out audiences. You may have seen her son, Levi, running around Camp Swing, who also recently made an appearance on stage as a mini Setzer with a blue flaming guitar and a pompadour to boot! Cari’s latest music video appearance can be seen in the “King of Jive,” by the Jive Aces out of London. Now, in it’s 18th year, Cari continues to be the original inspiration for our favorite little camp in the woods, Camp Swing.