SwingStep Team

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Each class you take has been designed and tested by the whole SwingStep team. We continuously work together to find better ways to help you learn to dance with great success and fun.

SwingStep team is known for our “blueprint” approach to teaching, explaining you step-by-step the fundamental to advanced technique of leading and following, dancing your own body, stretch, turns, balance and many more concepts of Lindy Hop. This way, you can guide your body and your understanding of the dance to adopt new “habits” of good technique.

Team-photo

Full-time members:

Each team member is involved in continuously developing the class schedules, contents, techniques and teaching system. When someone has an idea for a class or a method of teaching, we test and review it together until the good ideas are polished into a gem!

All teachers have their individual “superpowers” that help improve your experience from a different angle.

Click on the names below to read about each person’s superpowers and their short bio!

  • Ali Taghavi

    Ali

    How did you discover Lindy Hop?
    I was working as a Chemist in Paris and one of my colleagues was Patrick. You know, from Patrick and Natasha who upload those awesome youtube videos. I had taken Salsa classes for 3 months back in Sweden, but when I moved to Paris I did not feel invited to the Salsa community. So I wanted to show my colleagues the few steps I learned so we could dance together. Patrick joined on one condition: I’ll take your Salsa class if you come and join one of my Lindy Hop classes, and after that we can see which one to do… the rest as they say is history!

    What’s your favorite thing about the dance?
    It gets me into my flow-zone very fast! The combination of happy music, the social aspect of the dance and the physical activity gets me there quickly. I love it!

    What is your favorite moment in class?
    That moment when all the students go Ahhh at the same time. I just love it when we manage to set everything up for that moment and it’s amazing when the last key information is shared and everybody has that instant understanding!

    What’s your strongest skill?
    I think perhaps connecting the dots between different ideas to make things clearer. Well, skill or not, at least that’s what I enjoy doing.

    Vintage or Modern?
    Casually Fancy! I like vintage pants… they hide my belly a bit better than low-cut jeans :p So, I like fancy vintage pants, with modern “cool” T-shirts.

    What do you do besides being a dance teacher or what did you do before you became a dance teacher? And (how) does this influence your teaching?
    Besides teaching dance I’m trying to make it possible for others to become full-time dance teachers. I started off as a Chemist, I think that training was extremely valuable also for what I’m doing today. When I don’t know something, I just do what I learned as a Chemist: research!

    What’s your secret superpower?
    I think I can handle a looooot of uncertainty and still make decisions. As there are not many people who built a similar business, there are not many people to copy. We’ll, actually, I copy a lot but it’s bits and pieces from all different sources. Some of it works really good for us, other things turn out to be complete flops. But this is how research works.

    Who do you teach with and what’s your partner(s) secret superpower?
    My main partner is Katja Uckermann. Her superpowers? Where to start…

    • Quality control: We use the term “is it Katja-approved?” in the team. If it’s not… we know there’s a big chance it’ll fail.
    • Creative power: When Katja suggests a move, I’m sometimes sceptical, but then when we try it out it turns out to be super cool.
    • Ali Control: Making sure I don’t step out of line and go all mad scientist on the students and the business.

    I also teach with Kris Blindert. Her superpowers? Where to start? (I’m blessed with super-women in my life!)

    • Concrete-ness power: I don’t think this is a word – Kris hates when I make up words – but she has this amazing ability to challenge ideas until they are fully concrete.
    • Humanity power: Kris has an amazing ability to see people as human beings. Sometimes when you get tired and a person comes to you with a complaint, it’s easy to get snappy. Not Kris! She remains patient and respectful all the time.
    • Ali Control: Helping me with clarifying ideas, filtering out weird stuff and often the first person I turn to when working on a text.
  • Anna Clausnitzer

    Anna

    How did you discover Lindy Hop?
    Birgit wanted me to work at the bar for her new dance school – Jeder ist tanzbar – which became the first swing dance school in Berlin. It was so joyful. There was no turning back.

    What’s your favorite thing about the dance?
    The lust for life.

    What is your favorite moment in class?
    When students‘ self-confidence in the dancing is visibly making progress.

    What’s your strongest skill?
    Patience.

    Vintage or Modern?
    Authentic.

    What do you do besides being a dance teacher or what did you do before you became a dance teacher? And (how) does this influence your teaching?
    Wow, that is tough…
    – I did China Studies in school. Besides that, I worked in a German-Chinese kindergarden and in a house for the handicapped, at both places exploring the world of music and dance.
    – I have a partner-dancing background: I used to dance Ballroom/Latin and a lot of Argentine Tango.
    – I have kind of a musical understanding not just because I love music so so soooo much, but I DJed Ballroom/Latin/Argentine Tango for 6 years and played saxophone for about 6 years too.

    What’s your secret superpower?
    I can predict the future ;)

    Who do you teach with and what’s your partner(s) secret superpower?
    Slava: he can transform into pure music + he can make people step across their boundaries
    Oli: super-duper-humor

  • Annegret Beck

    Annegret

    How did you discover Lindy Hop?
    Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire are the ones to blame. Hooked on old-time musicals and dance movies already as a child, I started tap dancing at the age of 13 and had a hard time explaining why I was listening to „grandpa-music“ as a teen… Imagine my delight when I moved to the U.S. in 1997/98 and discovered that a lot of people actually danced to that music I loved… and I was no longer the (only) weirdo.
    After a 10 year dry-spell I restarted Lindy Hop in Leipzig and Toulouse, adding Balboa and Blues to the mix.

    What’s your favorite thing about the dance?
    Balboa! (no, just kidding)
    The moments when you have no idea what just happened, with the only explanation being: „The music made me/us do it“.
    The fact that a singular social dance is not replicable, but a „once-in-a-lifetime-moment“. In a time where we can save and replay almost everything, this still fascinates me. Even if you get the same partner and the same song – it’ll never be the same.

    What is your favorite moment in class?
    When we put on music and students forget they’re actually in a class: having fun, nailing the new concepts and exploring stuff beyond it – all at the same time! For some reason this often happens to the whole class at once… magic!

    What’s your strongest skill?
    Contagious enthusiasm.

    What do you do besides being a dance teacher?
    Since I only teach as a hobby, I’ve got some time left for running some of SwingStep’s back office tasks ;) …organizing workshops, registrations, answering student’s mails etc.

    What’s your secret superpower?
    As a DJ: Make people stay at a party although they were planning to leave hours ago…

  • Areski Stichweh

    Areski

    How did you discover Lindy Hop?
    It was Unisport. Unisport Berlin, long time ago, but that didn’t work out for me: I went once. But then I moved to Heidelberg and took a look at the Unisport there… and it was awesome! I just wanted to dance all the time! Which I was doing. Suddenly I was having three classes of Lindy Hop & Charleston per week and talking about nothing else than that. Great times!

    What’s your favorite thing about the dance?
    Wow, that’s a tough question. If I would have to pick one, it would probably be the improvisation. The improvisation and the freedom. The freedom of improvising? Everything! Seriously, it’s such a great dance full of facets, it’s hard to pick one. Let me put it like that: when I’m dancing, I’m enjoying the communicating with my partner the most. Improvising together, having some kind of conversation, making jokes, hitting accents to the music together, being goofy, serious (even though that one doesn’t happen that often), being free in the way we interact together. So yeah, freedom, improvisation, communication. That one thing.

    What is your favorite moment in class?
    One great moment is when you show something new and the students have this impressed look, like “I’m going to dance thaaat? Reeaally?” You bet you are. But even more than this moment of amazement, the moment just after, when they start to try and are so concentrated. So focused and so determined — sometimes without noticing it! It’s a great feeling to get the students in this mode, it’s a great energy to feel in class.
    And when we all make jokes and laugh. Or, more than that, when I say something inappropriate without noticing it and I lose all credibility — at least until the next move…

    What’s your strongest skill?
    Switching. I.e. from serious to not and back again! Getting a good emotional flow with my students — so the social aspect. I also feel very flexible: I like to lead a class, to assist a class, to co-teach a class, to do all the structure (music, timing, messages to the group) and to do no structure at all, to give personal feedback… This flexibility makes me able to give the students what they need — hopefully.

    Vintage or Modern?
    Depends on if I did laundry the past days or not.

    What do you do besides being a dance teacher? And (how) does this influence your teaching?
    Haha, I’m doing dance studies! Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Hip Hop, everything is on the program. But that’s thanks to Lindy Hop, before that I was a sailing teacher, I did some translating, studied Philosophy, Economics, Geography… But stopped all that. So beside being a dance teacher, I’m a dancer. ;) But this various experiences helped me a lot: I feel comfortable teaching in a lot of different environments, a lot of different contents, to a lot of different people. And all these detours make me really know what I want. Also from my students!

    What’s your secret superpower?
    I can eat music! “Areski frisst Musik.” That’s my — not so secret — superpower. I think. Maybe. Or maybe laughing.

    Who do you teach with and what’s your partner(s) secret superpower?
    I teach with Kris very regularly. Her superpower is to see through people. Or at least through their dancing: she always knows what to say, how to help the students improve… Plus we’re both super goofy and at the same time serious enough to have a good flow. So her superpower is also adaptability. And back-leading!

    Bonus: your question
    A question that I ask myself often is: if I would to open a Lindy Hop school for full time studies (i.e. “Bachelor of Arts: Lindy Hop”), how many people would sign up except me?

  • Jean Bartolome

    Jean

    How did you discover Lindy Hop?
    A friend celebrated her birthday at a social dance.

    What’s your favorite thing about the dance?
    Fun – highly social – athletic – creative. I am not dependent on one dance partner, I can go easily alone to a social dance in almost every big city in the world, and for sure meet some old/new lindy-friends.

    What is your favorite moment in class?
    When students say they are not dance-able, but after a few rounds they get it. Personal thank-yous from students after class.

    What’s your strongest skill?
    Observing, connecting people with different skills, wanting to leave a social dance early but staying mostly until the end ;-)

    Vintage or Modern?
    In-between.

    What do you do besides being a dance teacher or what did you do before you became a dance teacher? And (how) does this influence your teaching?
    My profession before was research and development in high ceramic / materials, and environmental technician.  Other work includes:

    • member in tamed e.V – Organisation for dance-medicine.
    • completed the ZAM certification (http://www.tamed.eu/ausbilden/zam-zertifikat/) in November 2014.
    • Music and Dance Project “zeitlust”: Electro – afro groove – breakbeat – shadow visuals. My part in this band is shadow visual dancing, percussion
    • I’ve been intensively dancing hip hop, jazz, and afro dance since 1998.

    What’s your secret superpower?
    watching dance clips for eternity without eating and drinking.

    Who do you teach with and what’s your partner(s) secret superpower?
    Slava – very precise in showing movements, just by watching I could/can learn the leader’s part even if he would explain it in Russian or some other language.
    Oli – very structured and high-processing in thinking and finding solutions, great humor.

  • Katja Uckermann

    Katja

    How did you discover Lindy Hop?

    My tap dance teacher Jürgen invited me to a taster workshop for Lindy hop at a local dance school… I got hooked, but there were not many occasions to actually go out and dance. For a while, I delved deep into the vintage fashion culture, with just a little dancing on the side. Some time later, I connected to some avid dancers and started spending more time on dancing. When I met Ali on a dance floor in Paris, I was an intermediate dancer, and throughout the 7 months we spend there, Patrick Szmidt took the time to teach us every day, and we were practicing, learning and dancing as much as we could.

    What’s your favorite thing about the dance?

    The power, the raw energy, the music, the precision of communication between the leader and the follower.

    What is your favorite moment in class?

    I have to say that one of my favorite moments is actually after class or in a break: I love it when people practice and I always go and give them the little extra tip or teach them the other cool things they can do with the move.  And when people, once they got the techniques we taught them, start creating their own variations.

    What’s your strongest skill?

    Being able to pin-point the small thing that needs changing to make it work. Creating „treasure“ moves – those fun variations that make learning the technique so attractive.

    Vintage or Modern?

    I went from super-vintage to modern, back to to vintage and have now arrived at casually fancy: modern comfort with a vintage touch.

    What do you do besides being a dance teacher or what did you do before you became a dance teacher? And (how) does this influence your teaching?

    I used to be many things, but the previous profession that has the most influence on my life as a dance teacher is that of translator. I get to communicate in many different languages all the time, and I get to use that proofreading skill when I „proofread“ people’s movements or footwork.

    What’s your secret superpower?

    I’m making my own clothes… and I can make dolphin sounds ;)

    Who do you teach with and what’s your partner(s) secret superpower?

    I teach with Ali and his superpower is creating the structures of the class, where to start, what comes next, how far we want to take the class.

  • Kris Blindert

    How did you discover Lindy Hop?
    A colleague from work brought a bunch of friends along to a drop-in class and I was immediately hooked! In fact, funny thing – Ali&Katja were teaching that beginner’s class: you could say that I got to know my favourite hobby, my new inspiring career, two great friends, and even my boss, all in that one class!

    What’s your favorite thing about the dance?
    I love the combination of freedom and structure that matches jazz music so well. As a kid I was amazed by singers like Ella Fitzgerald, how they could take standard songs and riffs, and improvise to render them so playful and make them feel new every time. That is what Lindy Hop does for me.

    What is your favorite moment in class?
    The moment students have just taken in new information, that you gave them or that they got from each other, and you can see the dots connecting and the ‘ah-ha’ look in their faces. That look is priceless.

    What’s your strongest skill?
    I’m very analytical and direct, so I’m very good at creating structure. What movements match with which concepts and ideas, how to break things down so they’re as easy as possible to learn and understand. I’m the engineer and drill sergeant, that’s my jam :)

    Vintage or Modern?
    Modern!

    What do you do besides being a dance teacher or what did you do before you became a dance teacher? And (how) does this influence your teaching?
    I used to be an astronomer. As part of that work, I was often in charge of “public outreach”: communicating academic work to the public. So I gained a lot of experience taking really complex and difficult things (like galaxy dynamics, or the big bang theory) and breaking them down in a way that everybody can understand. I use this all the time in my teaching nowadays too – only now it’s fewer galaxies and more triple steps ;)

    What’s your secret superpower?
    Silliness! I think because I can be so focused and technical, it helps people to relax if they see that I’m not serious all the time.

    Who do you teach with and what’s your partner(s) secret superpower?
    My secret is… I teach with nearly everyone! Seriously though, one of the partners I’ve been teaching with for a long time in our classes in Heidelberg is Timo. And he has a very cool superpower: he makes his students feel cared for all the time; they really feel how he cares about them and their learning and enjoyment of the dance. Fortunately he doesn’t keep his superpower a secret at all :)

    Bonus: your question
    What kind of dancer do you want to be? Answer this question for yourself and keep it in mind, and your experience in Lindy Hop can be amazing. Do you want to have fun and enjoy the social aspects of the dance scene? Do you want to dig deep into body mechanics and improve your movement quality? Are you inspired to dance just like in the famous vintage clips and throw crazy aerials? Find what connects you most to the dance and make decisions around that – which events to go to, which teachers to follow, heck even which clothes to wear. The great thing about Lindy Hop is that we get to shape it for ourselves :)

  • Oliver Fuhrmann

    Oli

    How did you discover Lindy Hop?
    I saw people partner dancing “freestyle rock n roll” at a birthday party, so I thought I need to learn that stuff. And then I discovered that swing music is much cooler than rock n roll music :)

    What’s your favorite thing about the dance?
    Hm there’s not a favorite single thing, I guess it’s the combination of it all: Get physically active (always had a hard time to motivate me), meet people (especially girls, well now that’s fixed ;) … but I’ve always been shy), having control over my body (finally, at least a little), loving the music and the style of the dance (swing is just made for dancing)… I have to say that Lindy Hop is the only lifestyle I have been able to keep for more than 2 years, and still keepin’ it (real)!

    What is your favorite moment in class?
    Seeing people having fun AND nailing the moves/techniques that we teach + the applause in the end that indicates that it was a great class.

    What’s your strongest skill?
    Keeping a good flow and structure in the class… most of the time ;)

    Vintage or Modern?
    Vintage all the way.

    What do you do besides being a dance teacher or what did you do before you became a dance teacher? And (how) does this influence your teaching?
    I studied media informatics, and worked as a web developer – I guess it’s my analytical brain.

    What’s your secret superpower?
    Embracing mistakes and awkward situations with humor.

    Who do you teach with and what’s your partner(s) secret superpower?
    Jean – She has an extra fun gene
    Anna – She has so much empathy that even her body empathizes while dancing

  • Slava Bogatov

    Slava

    How did you discover Lindy Hop?
    It was a spontaneous decision. An Internet friend of mine wrote a post on her page, that she was looking for a partner to go to Lindy Hop classes. “Why not give it a try?” was my thought and I responded to her. In several days we met for the first and yet the last time: both of us liked it a lot, but sadly with her work she had no time to continue taking classes. Before I made that decision I had never thought that I would ever like dancing. After I made it – I have never regretted it.

    What’s your favorite thing about the dance?
    Being a Swing dance, Lindy Hop is very connected to Jazz music. And as a dancer you may decide what instrument you want to dance to.

    What is your favorite moment in class?
    I love it when the class is over and students are still trying out things they’ve just learnt, make mistakes, laugh, try again and finally succeed.

    What’s your strongest skill?
    I can see what little things can be improved and can explain how to do it.

    Vintage or Modern?
    Comfortable.

    What do you do besides being a dance teacher or what did you do before you became a dance teacher? And (how) does this influence your teaching?
    My university diploma says that I am a translator, and I hope this knowledge helps me in making my explanations clear when I teach lindy hop :) I am also interested in photo- and videography, so you can often see me with a camera in hands.

    What’s your secret superpower?
    I can give nice massages :)

    Who do you teach with and what’s your partner(s) secret superpower?
    I teach with Anna and Jean and with their attention and approach to students they give very efficient personal feedback.

Supporting members:

SwingStep is blessed with an awesome team of supporting teachers! In their spare time, they contribute tremendously to your swing dance experience.

Click on the names below to read about each person’s super powers and short bio!

  • Ananda Lopez

    Ananda-smallHow did you discover Lindy Hop?
    I always liked swing music, and I’ve seen people dancing to this music in movies, but only after a friend told me about weekly lessons I realised that it was actually possible for me to learn how to dance to swing.

    What’s your favorite thing about the dance?
    I guess it’s a combination of many things: the music, the friendly atmosphere, the social aspect, the dialogue between leader and follower. I love dancing!

    What is your favorite moment in class?
    When the students are really concentrated working together with their partner, trying to figure out a new move and they succeed. At this precise sweet moment I enjoy seeing that big smile on their faces.

    What’s your strongest skill?
    Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. This means that I am a fast learner when it comes to movement and dance.

    Vintage or Modern?
    Indescribable.

    What do you do besides being a dance teacher? And (how) does this influence your teaching?
    Being a Pilates instructor provided me with a wider comprehension of the body and its movement.

    I am also a mother of two lovely kids, who for the past years have challenged my patience and taught me to allow and respect different tempos in learning processes.

    What’s your secret superpower?
    I can fly.

    Who do you teach with and what’s your partners(‘) secret superpower?
    I teach with Oli. He is able to keep the rhythm of the class, the attention of the students, the whole stucture of the lesson in his head, everything under control. But his actual superpower is that he can mess it all up and still be the coolest guy in the room.

  • Ana Rita da Silva

    How did you discover Lindy Hop?AnaRita
    I was looking for something different to do as a hobby. I had briefly tried other dances but I had never found exactly “the dance”. Then I came across a poster advert for Swing Dance classes at my institute. I read it and I thought to myself “Why not give some old time grooves a try?” I went to a taster class and after the music and all the joy of the dance I was hooked! After more than two years, it amuses me just as much!

    What’s your favorite thing about the dance?
    What I like the most about Lindy Hop is the fact that it is such a playful and relaxed dance. If you are having a rough day and you go to the social dance, you find yourself in the middle of so many happy and smiling faces. That certainly makes your day!

    What is your favorite moment in class?
    I love when you give the students a challenge and they completely nail it and even start doing some variations they come up with themselves. It is the most rewarding feeling.

    What’s your strongest skill?
    I would say that my strongest skill is to easily understand the changes my leader indicates while dancing.

    Vintage or Modern?
    Vintage.

    What do you do besides being a dance teacher? And (how) does this influence your teaching?
    I am a PhD student in molecular biology. My training as a scientist has made me objective and practical and I think these skills have definitely translated to my teaching. In class, I always try to be as succinct as possible while at the same time giving all the information my students need.

    What’s your secret superpower?
    That is a tough one. Humm…maybe my superpower is to be always in a good mood.

    Who do you teach with and what’s your partner(s) secret superpower?
    I teach with Timo and for sure his superpower is the attention he gives to students which makes them progress quite fast and be motivated to learn more.

  • Birgit Pfalz

    Birgit

    How did you discover Lindy Hop?
    A bunch of colleagues who were already lindy hopping organized a workshop at my institute and as I always enjoyed dancing I signed up immediately. Although I had done different kinds of dancing before I was never so thrilled about anything so instantly (well done Kris & Eiki!).

    What’s your favorite thing about the dance?
    The JOY. This dance means pure joy to me, the music is cheerful and it is such a social dance! In your very first class you will have to communicate with your partner right away, and yes you will fail sometimes, so what do you do: you laugh it off together – I hardly ever experienced that much giggling with people I don’t know in one hour.

    What is your favorite moment in class?
    As a teacher: seeing my students experiencing the ‘aha’ moment.
    As a student: experiencing the ‘aha’ moment.

    What’s your strongest skill?
    Ok, let’s reveal the secret: I’m just a copycat with good memory. I remember many things from classes I took as a student: metaphors my teachers used, questions other students asked, breakdowns that were used to explain a move – so basically whatever led to me having the ‘aha’ moment. So I simply try to pass them on to my own students.

    Vintage or Modern?
    Hmmm, I don’t like favouring things over one another ;)

    What do you do besides being a dance teacher? And (how) does this influence your teaching?
    I’m a PhD student in biology at an international research institute. It certainly nurtures my love for nerdy details and clarity, but first and foremost it taught me how to adapt my (teaching) plan on the spot when things don’t work out. Over and over and over.

    What’s your secret superpower?
    I smile and I mean it and you know that I mean it :)

    Who do you teach with and what’s your partner(s) secret superpower?
    I’ve been teaching with Philipp and his superpower is clarity in communication. It makes class prep, teaching and chatting about all the big and small things a delight :)

  • Friedrich Hildebrand

    Friedrich
    How did you discover Lindy Hop?
    2009 at a Christmas party at Clärchens Ballhaus.

    What’s your favorite thing about the dance?
    It’s a dynamic, sporty, multi-faceted dance. I like the music and the good mood that dancers have.

    What is your favorite moment in class?
    When I see that my students are sticking with something, even if it didn’t work so great at the start. Everyone learns at their own tempo; the best classes for me are the ones in which everybody learns something new and has fun, and I can see that “aha” feeling on their faces when they get it.

    What’s your strongest skill?
    Maybe patience. I have no problem showing and explaining things again (and again), if it helps my student.

    Vintage or Modern?
    Sporty – modern!

    What do you do besides being a dance teacher? And (how) does this influence your teaching?
    I’m a web developer.

    I love technique – both in dance and in programming. I think that in the dance I benefit from a technical understanding and my way of rationally approaching things.

    Part of the basis for a well-functioning system is a good structure; functions have to be carefully integrated so that one doesn’t lose an overview of the complex system or constantly fix problems. That’s true also for dancing – good fundamental techniques are the best basis for any “fancy moves”.

    What’s your secret superpower?
    That’s secret. That’s why it’s called „secret“ superpower.

    Who do you teach with and what’s your partner(s) secret superpower?
    I teach with Maria – the queen of bounce and of role-switching.

  • Laura Stahl

    How did you discover Lindy Hop?Laura

    A friend dragged me along to classes at the university years ago. OK, it didn’t take much to convince me, ‚cause – it’s dance! I mean who wouldn’t want to try out a new dance, right?

    What’s your favorite thing about the dance?
    You can be as creative as you want, develop something new, get inspired by or inspire your partner while dancing, which can get you into a real (dance) conversation with your partner. I also enjoy the relaxed and easy-going mentality of the swing community a lot. And, most importantly, the music just makes me want to dance.

    What is your favorite moment in class?
    The moment people realize how much fun it is playing around with the new concept/move/idea they got in class. And the moment people get confident to switch off their „analyzing brain“ and see that whatever they were working on works just fine.

    What’s your strongest skill?
    As a dancer: being an intuitive follower (or leader). The music literally makes me dance.
    As a teacher: having an eye for the needs of individual students as well as the group to make the class a great experience.

    Vintage or Modern?
    Why choose? I like both. Though it’s tough to find old recordings with good sound quality…

    What do you do besides being a dance teacher? And (how) does this influence your teaching?
    A lot of stuff. Organizing blues dance events, caterings, working in a hospital. My work with physiotherapists made me realize how important having the right posture is and which muscles to strengthen for which movement in order to keep your joints safe. That’s why in class I focus more and more on bringing awareness to those aspects of the dance.

    What’s your secret superpower?
    Personal feedback. Motivating people.

    Who do you teach with and what’s your partner(s) secret superpower?
    Currently I teach with Kris and Timo. Kris‘ strength is how easily she breaks down and explains even complicated concepts and moves while always keeping an ear open to any question about the dance or the music her students might have. She enjoys spending nearly every free minute of her day thinking about and working on teaching, music, her own dancing, the students, the school and how to improve…everything, and she brings this joy and enthusiasm about the dance to her students.
    Timo’s superpower is his dedication to giving individual help to students and explaining class material both in class and at the party or wherever else you find him. He’ll make everyone feel welcome and included because he genuinely cares that every single person walking in is having a good time.

  • Maite Wilke Berenguer

    How did you discover Lindy Hop?Maite-small
    Funny thing: I don’t know. A few years ago one of my university students – Erik – convinced me to dance with him and we did ballroom dances for a year, but ended up rather frustrated by the lack of structure and progress. So we decided to focus on one dance only. But neither of us remembers how Lindy came up, or for that matter, that we ever discussed it. We just found ourselves looking for classes and started dancing – and that’s how Erik became one of my best friends and Lindy my new source of happiness.

    What’s your favorite thing about the dance?
    It is a true social dance. You go to a party anywhere and can dance with different people to the music. In every dance you interact with your partner and the aim is simply to have fun! Enjoy the great music, the company and yourself through the dance. And in Lindy you can start doing this right from the beginning as complicated figures are not a prerequisite – the simplest passes with some footwork variations hitting the music can make the best dance of the night!

    What is your favorite moment in class?
    Ah, I think anybody who has ever taught anything knows this warm feeling of happiness and excitement when you see the ‚klick‘ in your students‘ eyes the moment they suddenly feel your explanations make sense. But of course this happens on a very individual level – and some times not in class, but at the training time or a party :) So for my favourite moment in class I will go with ‚the last 15minutes‘, when, after they have worked hard on techniques and ‚basics‘, you can show them a small, more flashy variation or trick to easyly ‚pimp‘ their dance – and then you see them having fun trying this or coming up with their own versions.

    What’s your strongest skill?
    Put myself in somebody else’s shoes. See ‚patterns‘. And combining both for teaching.

    Vintage or Modern?
    Depends on the mood and time. I love the vintage look, like adding details to my daily style and enjoy dressing up, but some components are too time consuming (the hair-do’s?!) and I prefer to have a few more dances.

    What do you do besides being a dance teacher? And (how) does this influence your teaching?
    I am a PhD student in math and work as a teaching assistant. All in all I have about 8 years of experience teaching math at the university. I also just love teaching people what they always deemed too hard or complicated for them thus breaking prejudices. So my talks and classes are always focused on making things understandable for the respective audience which I hope is also reflected in my dance classes. Not surprisingly I have a love for clarity and structure, which I make the base of my teaching – both math and dance. If I cannot explain it in one sentence, I’m not being precise enough yet.

    What’s your secret superpower?
    If I tell you, it won’t be a secret anymore…let’s hope it still works after this: I think I can make people just feel comfortable around me.

    Who do you teach with and what’s your partner(s) secret superpower?
    So far I have taught mostly with Oli and Slava both of which have a wast range of talents and skills, but as for a ’secret super power‘ I will go with these:
    Oli has some mad solo-skills that he will casually throw in once in a while, teaching the students the moves and the playfulness of the dance without them even noticing.
    Slava’s body-movement is so precise, he doesn’t actually need words to explain concepts or exercises and he will keep a class challenging enough to motivate without frustrating.

  • Maria Wassermann

    How did you discover Lindy Hop?
    A very good friend of mine suddenly disappeared in the Lindy Hop World and I followed her onto the dance floor. I took my first classes in January 2011 at Tanzbar.

    What’s your favorite thing about the dance?
    Swing dancing for me is a creative, open-minded and joyful way to interact with other people and great music. It keeps me healthy and happy.

    What is your favorite moment in class?
    …When curiosity and the enthusiasm of the students outplay the fear of “doing something wrong”
    …When leading and following transform into “dancing together”
    …When students say “wooooooow” when we first show a move and just minutes later they do it themselves.

    What’s your strongest skill?
    Regarding dancing, probably …Slow Lindy/Blues.
    Regarding teaching, probably …translating my feelings while dancing into sounds and pictures.

    Vintage or Modern?
    Natural and authentic.

    What do you do besides being a dance teacher? And (how) does this influence your teaching?
    I’m doing a PhD in work psychology. My focus is on occupational health and positive psychology. Ideas about flow, communication and motivation I got from there are very useful for my teaching and easy to apply to dancing. I also teach lectures and seminars at university and thereby have some experiences with working with groups.

    What’s your secret superpower?
    “Making suggestions”, without the leader noticing.

    Who do you teach with and what’s your partner(s) secret superpower?
    Friedrich – one of his superpowers is his precision. He always finds an elaborate technical explanation for my “It feels like Uuuuuuuuuuuuaaaaaaaah!!!!” moments.

  • Maxi

    How did you discover Lindy Hop?Maxi-small
    I was browsing some electroswing songs on Youtube when I stumbled across the Hellzapoppin‘ dance scene with Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers. Well, since then I’m dancing Lindy Hop.

    What’s your favorite thing about the dance?
    The fact that Lindy Hop combines upbeat music, creativity, sociability, individuality and athleticism into a single dance!

    What is your favorite moment in class?
    When I can help a student master a move or technique he struggled with before.

    What’s your strongest skill?
    I try to give much individual feedback – I don’t know if that’s my strongest skill, but I sure like doing it.

    Vintage or Modern?
    Mostly Modern.

    What do you do besides being a dance teacher? And (how) does this influence your teaching?
    I study Philosophy and Economics. I don’t know how or if it does influence my teaching directly but it fits my desire for understanding the framework of the dance and which principles it is guided by.

    What’s your secret superpower?
    I was called Clark Kent once…

    Who do you teach with and what’s your partner(s) secret superpower?
    Jean: Damn that girl can dance.
    Anna: She seems to have the right answer to every student’s question.

  • Romy Greiner

    Romy

    How did you discover Lindy Hop?
    I walked past a poster advertising, amongst other dance classes, a “swing dance” workshop. Immediately, the ever so joyful swing music played in my mind and I wondered what kind of dance people would dance to that music. When I came home, I checked a couple videos on YouTube and, all excited, showed them to my husband. We were hooked right away and attended that super intensive two-day workshop. Afterwards, we knew we had finally found the hobby we had been looking to share.

    What’s your favorite thing about the dance?
    That it takes my mind off of everything else. The music, the movements, the creativity, all replace any other thoughts and worries simply with joy!

    What is your favorite moment in class?
    Witnessing the transition from ‘mental understanding’ to ‘physical understanding’: after listening to the teacher explaining something, the students ‘get the concept’, but will often still frown or have a doubtful look on their faces. But once they’ve tried it out, they feel what the teacher was talking about, and their body understands. I love how then their frown turns into a smile!

    What’s your strongest skill?
    Good question! Maybe feeling the dance? As a follower, I tend to be able to perceive lots of “leading nuances”, and respond to them quickly. As a teacher, I very much enjoy explaining what I feel in a certain move or what something is supposed to feel like using images and metaphors.

    What do you do besides being a dance teacher? And (how) does this influence your teaching?
    In my “former” (i.e. pre-world trip) life I used to be a biology PhD student trying to uncover the redox mechanisms behind the sulfhydration of the tumor suppressor PTEN… After that world trip I decided to leave academia and became a medical editor. I guess the analytical and structured approach to science I practiced for so long also helps me devise a swing class. But standing in front of a class, dealing with a group of people, and motivating them over a long period of time I learned back when I used to teach Hip-Hop for many years.

    What’s your secret superpower?
    I wish I had one! And if I could choose, I’d love to be able to prolong time – who wants that amazing dance or class to end anyway? ;-)

  • Timo Winterwerber

    Timo

    How did you discover Lindy Hop?
    I did ballroom dancing and decided to try the Unisport Swing course with Ali & Katja, ca. 5 years ago :)

    What’s your favorite thing about the dance?
    About the dance itself: its versatility and playfulness.
    About dancing: the people.

    What is your favorite moment in class?
    Practicing with the group, seeing the class develop the ability to do something, and the personal achievements of individual students.

    What’s your strongest skill?
    Personal feedback and troubleshooting.

    Vintage or Modern?
    The best of both.

    What do you do besides being a dance teacher? And (how) does this influence your teaching?
    I study English & Cultural Anthropology.  I dance Argentine Tango & Blues, and I’ve done Ballroom.
    – Hmm, being good at English :), maybe a general openness to different kinds of folks?
    – Some background knowledge in other dances comes in handy

    What’s your secret superpower?
    Personal attention, bringing everyone along.

    Who do you teach with and what’s your partner(s) secret superpower?
    Mostly with Kris – who is super-structured :)

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