Instructors

Class Series Instructors


Guy Caridi

Guy Caridi has been dancing since 1988, performing and choreographing since 1991, and teaching since 1993. He has taught and performed internationally and is well known for his respectful, sensitive, and humorous teaching style. Guy is a founding member of Seattle’s Savoy Swing Club> He and his frequent dance partner, Nancy Fry, were the first couple from the Pacific Northwest to teach Lindy Hop and Balboa. He continues as the artistic director of the Savoy Swing Club Performance Troupe. In 1999, Guy and Nancy took home trophies in the Lindy Hop and Team divisions at the U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships in southern California. In total, four of five routines choreographed by Guy were place-winners.

Guy has produced many noteworthy dance events and shows in Seattle, including What Is This Thing Called Swing? with The Rhythm Hot Shots from Sweden; Swingin’ Then, Swingin’ Now! with the legendary Norma Miller; and the annual Pacific Northwest Lindy Hop Championships (1999-2006). 

Guy’s choreography credits for local theaters and schools include Oklahoma!; Wizard of Oz; The Music Man; Oliver!; Peter PanBeauty and the Beast; Seussical, the Musical; The Sound of Music; Godspell; Into the Woods; Fiddler on the Roof; Mary Poppins; and Newsies! He also choreographed and was a featured dancer in the 2012 film Camilla Dickinson.

Nancy Fry

Nancy Fry discovered her passion for dance in 1981 and has been dancing ever since! She finds great joy in connecting and co-creating with her dance partners on the dance floor and believes that this special connection is where the magic in partner dancing is found. Over the years, Nancy has enjoyed dancing and teaching a large variety of partner dances. She and her dance partner, Guy Caridi, competed at the 1999 US Open Swing Dance Championships, where they placed in both events in which they competed. One of these awards was for the team competition in which she performed with the Savoy Swing Club Performance Troupe.

Nancy began teaching Lindy Hop, Balboa, and jazz-related Swing movement classes with Guy in 1994, with the Seattle Savoy Swing Club, which she helped found.  She started teaching with NW Dance Network in 2004, where she teaches Swing, Nightclub 2-Step,  and many other dance styles. Her teaching focuses on developing that special connection between partners, helping her students to develop the ability to lead and follow, and to communicate through movement while having fun doing it!

Ari Levitt

Ari is well-known for his fun, energetic, and delightful classes where he inspires students with his love and passion for dance. He has been teaching and performing nationally and internationally for over 25 years, and is the co-founder and director of Waltz Week in Vienna; Snowflake Blues (also in Vienna); Mexico Dance Week; New Zealand Dance Adventure; Harrison Hot Springs Dance & Spa Retreat; and Waltz Fest NW. 

Ari is one of this country’s leading innovators and instructors in the areas of Nightclub 2-Step; Cross-Step Waltz; Connection and the Art of Effortless Movement and Flow; as well as in “fusion” Blues, Waltz, Swing, and Latin.

When not dancing, Ari is a physician on faculty at Singularity University’s prestigious “Exponential Medicine” track and is a pioneer in the burgeoning field of “Experiential Wellness” which, among other things, uses dance movement, technique, and connection as a modality for diagnosing and treating patients.

Mele Varga

Mele Varga is a dance enthusiast who was born and raised in Transylvania, and who moved to the US in 2011. She started dancing during her graduate school days when she joined the university’s ballroom dancing club; she participated in local competitions and placed in the Top 6 several times. 

Mele connected with her roots a few years later when she started learning Transylvanian Folk Dancing. She participated in several folk-dance camps after that and is a member of the Forgatós Folk Dancing group in Seattle. Throughout the years she learned to dance various other social dances, including Swing, West Coast Swing, Blues, Nightclub 2–Step. (won’t She get lost on a Salsa or Bachata dance floor, either!)

At the moment, Mele lives in Seattle and works as a data scientist, who loves to do crocheting and hiking, in addition to dancing. 

Guest Instructors


Michelle Badion

Michelle is one of Seattle’s most experienced dance teachers, having taught full time in Seattle for over thirty years. She was Seattle’s first Salsa teacher and third Argentine Tango Teacher. She was also part of Seattle’s second wave of good West Coast Swing teachers, and taught ballroom dance at the Washington Dance Club.

Michelle loves to dance and totally believes that social dancing enhances every person’s life. What truly sets her apart and makes her one of the most sought–after teachers in Seattle are some of the following characteristics:

  1. Michelle’s lessons and classes are fun and skillfully taught with enthusiasm and humor. 
  2. She keeps up on local trends and keep her dancing skills sharp. 
  3. She keeps abreast of the worldwide trends in the dances. 
  4. Michelle performs publicly, showcasing her skill and grace, while at the same time encouraging new and aspiring dancers.

 

Sean Donovan

Sean Donovan loves to dance, and it shows with the passion, joy, and excitement he brings to teaching. Positive and playful, Sean is a creative and effective communicator who focuses on the power of dance to delight and transform us. 

Dancing and teaching since 1999, both nationally and locally, Sean has been on staff with NW Dance Network since 2004. He revels in teaching a variety of dances, from Swing (his first love) and Zydeco (a passion that prompted numerous learning expeditions to Louisiana and Texas), to Blues, Waltz, Whiskey River Jitterbug, Country Two-Step, and more. 

Sean is also an accomplished DJ, both on-air with KBCS 91.3FM for over a dozen years, and in dance halls and clubs all over Seattle, mixing grooves from various genres in ways that keep the mood high and the dancers on the floor. More information on Sean at Gator Boy Productions.

Mark Kihara

Mark has been teaching, performing, and promoting African-American jazz dances since the late 1990s.   His primary focus is lindy hop, the original swing dance.  Dance has taken him all over the world, most notably as a featured instructor at Sweden’s Herräng Dance Camp.  He has won or placed at a variety of competitions including the Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown and the American Lindy Hop Championships.  His instruction always shows great respect to swing dance’s originators. Inspired and tireless, Mark makes believers out of anyone who ever wondered if they could swing dance.  Learn more about Mark at www.swingitseattle.com

Scot McKay

Scot began dancing on the country circuit in 2004, and fast became one of the most sought-after leads on the dance floor. He began dancing West Coast Swing in 2008 and started sharing his love of the dance through teaching in 2014.  As a past president of the Seattle Swing Dance Club and current VP, he continues to grow the West Coast Swing community with outreach programs geared toward new dancers.

Wren Newman

Wren’s extensive training began early with a childhood of competitive gymnastics. After gymnastics, she devoted herself to various forms of dance before falling in love with West Coast Swing. She dances, teaches, competes, and judges at local, national, and international locations. As a member and former officer of the Seattle Swing Dance Club, she helps to foster the local WCS community through social dancing spreading her passion for West Coast Swing to a growing community of dancers.