Mike and Mary began dancing in 1999 and quickly discovered their true love was the original swing dances of the 1930’s and 40’s swing-era: Lindy Hop and Balboa. How did we get started in swing dancing? First for Mike, he wanted to fulfill a promise to Mary (and a lifelong personal desire) to learn to dance. And secondly, Mike wanted to dance to the great music he had heard growing up.
As a youngster, Mike often listened to “oldies” radio stations, which in those days consisted of a fair amount of big band and jump blues genres of music. Mike is especially partial to the music of the Big Band/WWII Swing-era (as evidenced by his collection of over 10,000 swing-era songs!) and sees the Hepcats promotion of Lindy Hop and Balboa as another way to honor veterans from that era.
Mary’s musical theatre background and love of swing-era music, movies, fashion and clothes is the catalyst for her creativity, not only as an instructor and on the social dance floor, but as a choreographer for the Rhythm Cats Lindy Hop performance group, and the “Razz Ma Tazz”, a 1920’s Charleston “Flapper Girls” performance group.
Back to 1999. Unable to find any instruction in Lindy Hop or Balboa in the Lexington area, Mike & Mary began to teach themselves, view vintage films and movies, and attend regional and national level workshops and competitions. By attending Lindy Hop and Balboa events all over the U.S., they have taken lessons and learned from many of the best instructors (and some of the original swing dancers!) in the Lindy Hop / Balboa swing dance community. They also offer a unique perspective for newer/beginner swing dancers as they have witnessed the development and growth of the “modern” era of swing dancing, at the local, regional and national level.
Mike & Mary have been instrumental in establishing and developing the Lindy Hop and Balboa swing dance scene in Lexington and central Kentucky, and 2021 marks the 20th year they’ve been promoting Lindy Hop and Balboa. They consider it a privilege and an honor to contribute to the great tradition of the dances and music of the swing-era.
Lindy Hop and Balboa have a rich history and culture and Mike & Mary believe that an understanding and appreciation for that history and culture is important for Lindy Hoppers and Balboa swing dancers. As the saying goes “If you don’t care where you’re going, any road will get you there.” So they strive to not only teach and promote Lindy Hop and Balboa, but also educate and preserve the great dances of the swing-era.
Why Take Lessons From Us?
Mike & Mary have taught swing dancing for over 20 years and are the most knowledgeable and experienced swing dance instructors in the Lexington/central Kentucky area. Not only have they taught literally thousands of people to dance, they’ve taught at numerous local and regional swing dance workshops and events. Their teaching style is based on learning, laughter and fun!
They believe that solid fundamentals in movement, connection and technique are key in partnered swing dancing. They break down individual steps and patterns in an easy, step-by-step manner that allows each student to not only learn the move, but also understand how it works.
If you’re a beginner, Mike & Mary’s teaching style will provide you that initial solid foundation and self-confidence so you can shine on the dance floor! You’ll also develop the skills necessary to continue to learn more intermediate and advanced steps and patterns. For swing dancers with more experience, Mike & Mary can help you take your dancing to the next level, to include learning more complicated material, developing musicality in your dancing, and even preparing for competitions.
It’s a journey, not a destination!
Mike & Mary don’t just “dabble” in swing dancing: they love the dances and they study the dances. They believe that learning to swing dance is a journey, not a destination. They often travel to out of town swing dance workshop events such as the All Balboa Weekend (ABW), Camp Hollywood, Lindy Focus and the International Lindy Hop Championships to take classes, private lessons and compete to further hone their skills. They also encourage Lindy Hoppers and Balboa swing dancers to participate in competition activities as a way to they improve their skill level.
As far as competitions, Mike & Mary believe that competition type activities (of course, friendly and fun competitions) are beneficial to helping improve any Lindy Hop/Balboa swing dancer. One of the best ways for an individual to take their swing dancing to the next level is to participate in a performance group, in jam circles, in a couples or jack & jill contest, etc. These activities get the competitive juices flowing and are often the catalyst for individual improvement. We also believe that competition type activities, especially performance group activities, are one of the signs of a healthy and growing swing dance scene.
Mike & Mary have competed in more competitions then they can remember! And they’ve been fortunate to have placed and even won their fair share of competitions. Some of the more memorable competitions include the All Balboa Weekend, Cleveland, OH; Camp Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA; the All Balboa Camp Detroit; SwingIn, Indianapolis, IN; the American Lindy Hop Championships, Chicago, IL; the Dayton Swing Smackdown; and of course lots and lots of competitions at local and regional events.
Mike & Mary are passionate about sharing all the great things about swing dancing, and swing music! Check out our web site for information on classes, private lessons and dance events. Don’t hesitate to contact us at 859-420-2426, or email, firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or need any information. And don’t forget to sign up for the Hepcats Newsletter to stay Hep to the Jive!