Marie N’diaye and Stephen Atemie
Dr. Marie N’diaye (PhD) is a Jazz Dance choreographer, performer and educator as well as a dance researcher. She specialises in Jazz Dance (African American Vernacular Jazz) and its partnered form (Lindy Hop), focusing on the legacy of Harlem dancers from the Savoy Ballroom as well as the chorus line tradition from night clubs and theatres (such as the Apollo Theater, the Cotton Club, Connie’s Inn…) and has applied her scientific method and dance education to conduct an embodied practice-based research of Jazz dance through the study of original video clips, and collaborations with elders and other established dancers.
Marie is the founder of the non-profit organisation “Collective Voices for Change” aiming to promote cultural appreciation and respect to African American Jazz Dances, she is also a board member of the “Black Lindy Hoppers Fund” whose mission is to support and promote Black artists in their practice, performance and transmission of Jazz Dances especially Lindy Hop.
She is currently completing her Masters in Anthropology of Dance & Ethnochoreology as part of the international ERASMUS program: “Choreomundus” involved in the safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH).
Stephen is a fresh young talent emerging from the new generation of Lindy Hoppers. Balancing successfully a career as a Mechanical Engineer with his artistic pursuits this UCL alumnus is equally at home tutoring STEM subjects as he is dancing in front of the camera shooting tv commercials. He is also a Parkour and Wing Chun Kung Fu practitioner.
In 2017, Stephen traveled to South Africa to spend a month working with the charity Sing Inchanga. There he shared skills with local children & young people across their own dance styles and lindy hop. Following three years representing Swing Patrol as a core teacher, Stephen began his apprenticeship with Angela in 2018 to delve deeper into the roots of jazz dance, and further lindy hop education from Ron Leslie. Stephen’s performance/competition credits include 10 Downing Street, Harrods, Savoy Cup (France), ILHC (USA), Rock That Swing (Germany).
Aurélien Darbellay and María Ferrer
María and Aurélien think about their dance as a space of three-sided dialogue, where collective dynamics combine with individual expression and musical inspiration. They emphasize rhythmical playfulness, and different ways of interacting with the music and each other. They like to pay attention both to the moments when individuality smoothly fits into the collective flow, and to the moments when tension arises and resolves.
They embrace with curiosity, doubts and joy the responsibility of sharing an artform that was born in the African-American community, in a social and cultural context very different from their own.
Sometimes you are up for a chill conversation, sometimes you want to go deeper. Their classes are a mix of both.
Cat is currently London based, teaching African American Vernacular Jazz and Lindy Hop across the UK and Europe. An actor and theatre maker, Cat is working with ‘Swing Sister Swing’ on brand new narrative Swing Dance shows, and through solo show ‘The Wallflower’, uses partnered swing dance as a storytelling tool to address social exclusion. Cat’s improv comedy experience and theatre background bring extra life to Cat’s teaching and performing.
Known for an infectiously fun style, Cat is open, honest and authentic and strives to support the individuality, positivity and expression of her fellow dancers.
Maria Mallan and Clàudia Fonte
Maria and Clàudia’s work is focused on developing their own context for couple dancing. While having learnt from the classics, from Lindy Hop and Authentic Jazz roots, showing admiration and gratitude, they also look for expressing their own interpretation and voice, always adjusting their individual moves to each other.
Although working on the dynamics from both roles, they believe in initiating the movement from the body as a whole; as one unit. Body awareness is one of the foundations that enable them to develop and work on a continuous flow of movements, adding rhythmical contrasts. Their objective is to find different ways to understand movement and rhythm changes in order to apply it to Swing music and give way to playful interpretations. What they believe is that the more open we are to learn and explore, the more freedom we can feel to fill the dance with personal characteristics united with the partner and enjoy the swing songs together.
Areski discovered Lindy Hop, Solo Jazz and Tap in 2014 and dropped everything else they were doing: they never felt as free as when dancing jazz. Areski quickly became a full-time instructor and dancer.
In their dancing, Areski is looking for rhythm, stability, and focusing on the silence between the notes. Having a solid base allows them to underline the floating movement and play with contrasts, giving a way to express themself freely through movement.
Areski’s aim is to honour the culture of jazz dancing and music in each and every class. Taking inspiration from the different elements of their learning, they try to bring a rich experience based on historical, cultural and musical elements, having social dance and play as a focus for the students’ dancing.
Elze Visnevskyte and Peter Kertzner
Elze comes from Lithuania, while Peter comes from Los Angeles and together, they have this Euro-American style all about fun and connectedness. Their musicality, playfulness, and creativity are not just parts of their light-hearted personalities as dancers, but also as instructors. For them, Lindy Hop is much more than only leading and following. It’s dancing, trying to feel your partner, and in the meantime having a freaking great time!
Their energy is contagious and their class material is stimulating. Be prepared for loud laughs, fun, and exciting new moves!
Carlos Machava and Samito Tembe
A professional dancer from Mozambique, Carlos Machava has danced with the National Ballet of Mozambique, the Companhia Nacional de Dança e Canto, and with the Hodi Maputo Afro-Swing Company. He currently dances and teaches traditional Mozambican dances and swing and afro-swing dances in Geneva, in Europe and in international festivals.
The traditional dances of Mozambique are very rhythmic and powerful, and were used as a form of cultural resistance during Portuguese colonialism. When Carlos discovered swing dances, he immediately loved these Afro-American dances that blend African and European origins to express the richness of jazz music. He likes to bring jazz roots back to his roots, mixing it with traditional Mozambican dances. For Carlos, dance is the expression of music and its rhythms in movement and it is all this energy that he transmits on stage and in his classes.
Virtuoso percussionist Samito Tembe was born in Maputo, Mozambique. His career on the world stage comprises solo performances and participation in musical directing with the Mozambican traditional dances, where he was trained first as a dancer, and rapidly, given his talent and inclination, trained and recruited as a musician. On arriving in Maputo/Mozambique music scene in 2000, Samito Tembe discovered new types of traditional and occidental percussions. It was then that he offered the world a different, very personal, voice, developing a profoundly original rhythmic vocabulary of his own. Tembe creates stunning coherence resorting to a wealth of instruments.
Malou Meyenhofer is a professional dancer, choreographer and teacher, specializing in African American Vernacular Jazz Dances. She graduated from Zurich Dance Theater School with a diploma in stage dances and postgraduate degree in choreography. Her professional education includes contemporary, modern, jazz and ballet. She has studied African American Vernacular Jazz Dances under various jazz dance legends such as Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, Dawn Hampton and Chester A. Whitmore.
Malou works with AAJVD in various settings: She teaches workshops within the Lindy scene, choreographs for live shows and film and leads her own dance troupe focused on jazz roots and the Chorus Girls tradition. Malou believes that there is great value in knowing about the African American roots system, which influenced so many other styles. Thus she also holds workshops in dance academies focused on urban and contemporary dance.
Her teaching aims at achieving the creative power to express jazz through acquiring a strong foundation of dance technique, rhythm and improvisation. “Jazz is a lot about freedom and the joy of being alive. It’s exhilarating!” – and her classes reflect just that.
Heiko and Larissa Heckendorn
Larissa and Heiko have been dancing and teaching together for more than a decade. They love to spread the joy of swing dancing in their local dance school Basel Jitterbugs and all around Europe. Both dance various swing dance styles, like Lindy Hop, Shag and Balboa and mix them based on the tempo and energy of the music. In class they share their immense passion for swing dancing to help you grow as a swing dancer and develop your own voice on the dance floor.
Nadine Sieber is a physically multilingual dancer, choreographer, dance teacher, Pilates teacher, mother and coffee drinker.
She is trained in various dance styles and focuses on interdisciplinary work. After 20 years on stage, the mother of two, who lives in Zurich, is now a passionate festival organiser and teacher.
Over the past twenty years, the sought-after artist has worked internationally as a choreographer and performer for stage, dance films, music videos and commercials, and to this day she is committed with heart and energy as a dance teacher at various dance schools and universities. Her teaching is a fusion of her life experiences, vibrant, alive and powerful.
Nadine received her training mainly in Paris, Los Angeles and Zurich at various renowned studios. She also received a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours Degree in Urban and Contemporary Dance from the University of West London in 2022. Her dance career has taken her around the globe, dancing and choreographing for theatre, TV and large live events.
Ever since he was a child, Robin danced and moved a lot. When he was only 5 years old, he started taking regular dance classes and never lost his passion for dance ever since.
Music also played a big role all his life, so in addition to dance lessons, he took piano, flute and singing lessons and taught himself how to play the guitar.
Since 2015, Robin has been part of the HipHop Dance Crew „LaFam“ with whom he has been performing in various theaters and stages all around Europe. In 2020 the group founded a support program for young talented dancers, the “LaFam Academy“.
Robin completed an apprenticeship as a retail specialist in consumer electronics EFZ and then attended the vocational school for design and art.
Since the summer of 2020, he has been studying for his Bachelor of Arts urban and contemporary dance at Tanzwerk 101 in Zurich and regularly teaches Hip Hop and House Dance in Zurich.
Bianca has been dancing for more than fifteen years and tried out many dance styles, from modern jazz and ballet to hip hop, salsa and bachata. As a teenager, she was already performing regularly with her dance group at multiple events around Italy. In 2016 she then discovered a new passion for swing and shortly thereafter fell in love with blues dancing. Since then, she has travelled to so many international festivals that she has lost count.
Before moving to Zurich, she regularly taught lindy hop, solo and blues dancing classes in Torino. Now she teaches weekly blues classes and occasionally performs and teaches at international dance festivals.
When it comes to blues, she believes in the importance of understanding the roots and history of the dance. She loves exploring new ways of making movements feel good and fun in your body and, above all, she believes that in dancing there are no mistakes – just variations.