Your Fearless Leaders
Get to know your instructors!
Nick Williams, Kate Hedin, Matt Mitchell, Jennifer Barnett, Javier Johnson, and Nelle Cherry!
Nick Williams 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 Showdown Champion, American Classic Balboa Champion and California Balboa/Swing Champion.
He is also an accomplished choreographer and has been featured on 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. In 2004 and 2010, Nick was honored to be recognized by the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame.
Following in the path of her great ancestor, Swedish explorer Sven Hedin, Kate has traveled to the greatest unknown regions of following and footwork. Aside from a love of classically inspired Lindy Hop, she is most known for her unique and elegant style of Balboa.
The result is an impressive resume. Kate holds championship titles in almost every major competition, including the American Classic Balboa Championships, the International Lindy Hop Championships, the Euro Balboa Cup, and more. She is also a highly sought-after competition judge. In 2012, she released two highly praised DVDs specifically for Balboa followers on technique and aesthetics. As a teacher, Kate is known and loved for her logic-based language, her unique methods of teaching technique, and, overall, never leaving student followers disappointed.
She is proud to have held, along with her friends at Get Hep Swing in Cleveland, the Guinness World Record for longest dance party ever (52 hours, 3 minutes). Her fashion is admired by many, her lines desired as far as the Orient. She also does trapeze.
Known for bringing a little math and science into the ballroom (don’t worry, just a little), Jen began tap dancing in pre-school and continued dancing and later teaching through high school. After putting aside dance to focus on chemistry in college, Jen was happy to return to dance during graduate school–-this time the partnered swing dances of Lindy Hop and Balboa. During that time, Jen began teaching and promoting, co-running beloved Philly events such as the Saturday Night Fish Fry, Philly Bal Night, and Bal Jam ’08. She now calls New York City home, and enjoys teaching locally at You Should Be Dancing!, and dancing at White Heat and Pegu among other favorites.
Jen teaches and competes in Balboa on the international stage, having won the All Balboa Weekend J&J four times. She has also won or placed in various strictly competitions at events such as the California Balboa Classic and the Canadian Balboa Championships. In addition to competing, Jen also enjoys performing. (What can you say? She’s an only child.) She can be seen in NYC’s own AmazeBals, and Jen’s favorite performance was smack dab in the middle of the Museum of Natural History, right under the giant blue whale.
As a teacher, Jen tries to balance her straight-forward manner and high expectations with lots of love, humor, and support for her students. Never forgetting to address both follows and leads, Jen blends a clear, technical presentation with the musicality and spirit that make swing dancing so enjoyable.
Javier Johnson is a rocket scientist by trade and he brings a powerful analytical sense which joins the mechanics of dance and the soul of expression. He is well versed in all the swing dances, but specializes in Balboa and soul. As an international swing dance instructor, he’s traveled around the world sharing his joy of teaching and his passion for jazz dances.
Nelle has been a dancer her entire life with professional training in ballet, tap and jazz. But it wasn’t until she was introduced to social dancing, particularly balboa, in the spring of ’06 that dancing truly became a passion. Since ’06, she’s travelled throughout the balboa communities, learning from a wide array of styles! Competitively she has won, placed and made finals in competitions around the world in both strictlys and mix and match competitions, helping keep the classic aesthetics of the dance alive. Teaching allows her to share this passion and experience with other likeminded dancers, as she strives to continually be inspired and inspire others through social and competitive dancing and travel!!
She currently resides in Northeastern Massachusetts where she works as an In Home Therapist when she isn’t dancing!!