Annie became obsessed with lindy hop in 2001 as a teenager in Asheville, and it quickly took over her life. She attended countless dance exchanges and workshops around the world, learning as much as she could from as many dancers as possible. She founded the ‘Fancy Feet’ dance organization in Greensboro and has taught lindy hop around the Southeast as well as Ireland, Sweden & Italy. Annie’s classes are generally focused on connection, dancing musically, and on body awareness (i.e. which muscles do what). When Annie’s not dancing, you can usually find her on the bandstand playing guitar.
Melissa and Franklin are former contra dancers turned Swing and Jazz lovers. They bring their passion for dancing and teaching to Swing Asheville, teaching Balboa first and foremost. They love the intricacies of this complex dance and the fact that they can dance Balboa all over town to the fastest tempos in the smallest spaces. Their teaching philosophy is to meet students where they are at and give them the tools to be successful on the social dance dance floor. Our motto is “We just want more people to be dancing Balboa!”.
Ben Lieb has been dancing since 1995. In addition to dances under the swing umbrella such as Lindy Hop, Balboa, Charleston, Ben has explored a wide variety of dance genres. He has invested many years studying and practicing Argentine Tango, and has also studied Latin dances as Salsa (On 1, On 2, Cuban Salsa, Rueda de Casino) bachata, and cumbia. He has studied a number of percussive dance forms such as tap, hoofing, flatfooting, Appalachian clogging, performing for 10 years with the Hoorah Cloggers, and Performed and toured with the ecclective percussive dance ensemble Footworks. He has been an avid contra dancer for decades, and loves to waltz, two-step, zydeco, cha-cha, floss, and even once attempted to twerk although that memory is graciously fuzzy.
Ben taught the intermediate swing dances for Swing Asheville for 4 years until about 2012 with his then dance partner Eva Millwood. After a stint away from Asheville, he's moved back, is now chairing the board of Swing Asheville, and is dedicated to building back the dance and music community after Covid.
Ben is also a musician and was a founding member of the local favorite Low Down Sires, in which he played trombone. He loves to play traditional jazz music on the cornet, trumpet, clarinet, trombone and tuba. He also loves to play Oldtime, French-Canadian, and Contra Dance fiddle. He has recently taken to bringing a snare drum and brushes anywhere a jam might happen.
Michael and Jaya are best known to the world as principal organizers of Lindy Focus, and currently live and work out of Asheville, NC. In addition to Lindy Focus, they have been organizing, teaching, competing, judging, dj-ing, performing, and generally being swing dance people for well over ten years.
In the classroom, they focus on (1) developing the technique on which all other skills are built (2) sharing the classic repertoire that has defined the dance for generations, and (3) leading variety- and individuality- inducing improvisation and variation exercises designed to guide you towards a more personalized style.
Josie began dancing in Asheville in 2012. Though she was obsessed with traveling to events right away and going hard on that even into 2015, she has now chosen to shift her energy to focus on building the local scene and growing a real community feel and feeding passion in other enthusiastic up-and-coming dancers. She is passionate about lindy hop and solo jazz, though dabbles in other swing and jazz dances. Qualities she hopes to build in dancers are playfulness, confidence, improvisation, creativity, listening, and a relaxed connection. She believes everyone has the same capability to learn and anyone who works hard can kill it. She is a giant nerd who could talk about dancing forever, so don’t hesitate to approach and introduce yourself with any swing dance related sentence.