Class Series Core Instructors
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 and with his dance partner Nancy Fry, 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 dance events and shows in Seattle, including What Is This Thing Called Swing? with The Rhythm Hot Shots from Sweden, 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 Pan, Beauty and the Beast, Suessical 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 2011 movie Camilla Dickinson.
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 in Seattle, Sean has been on staff with NW Dance Network since 2004. Sean 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
first dance class (Samba) and a large dance family. Along the way she has learned social dance skills in Country, Swing, Latin and Ballroom.
One of Cathy’s first instructors, Doug Henry of InStep Dance in Tacoma, WA, invited her to partner with him and was instrumental in her introduction to teaching. The rest they say is history. Over the last 11 years she has had the pleasure of teaching in the Tacoma, Tukwila, Auburn and Seattle areas. “I am excited to be back on staff with the team at Northwest Dance. We’re gonna have some fun!”
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, and 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, of which she was one of the founding members. Nancy started teaching with NW Dance Network in 2004, where she teaches Swing 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!
Lilli Ann Carey
Lilli Ann Carey began partner dancing with Living Traditions in the 1990s and then went on to teach for them for several years before leaving to start her own company, Dance for Joy! Lilli Ann loves to dance almost anything, but focuses her teaching on waltz, West and East Coast swing, zydeco, foxtrot, one-step, blues, fusion, and a few vintage dance forms. Lilli Ann promotes dance through classes, workshops, and events through her company, Dance for Joy! and is excited to return to Northwest Dance this fall! She is known for producing larger scale events including the An Evening in Vienna Viennese Ball and also coordinates the highly successful Dancing ’til Dusk program for Seattle Parks and Recreation. Lilli Ann has taught in Vancouver BC, Juneau, Alaska, D.C., Baltimore, Atlanta, in the Bay area, and in Portland. Her creativity, love of the connected and playful dance, and innovation has brought her national recognition and an ongoing and excited student base. You’ll often find her teaching with her daughter Claire.
Daniela Gallardo’s love for music and dance also started at an early age. She created her first choreography at age 15 and has been dancing Salsa for over 10 years. The mission of La Clave Cubana is to share the transforming energy of dance through the real essence of Cuban Salsa. “We believe dance should be for everyone who is looking to improve their mental, physical or even social lives and that is why we devote ourselves to pass along the joy of Salsa to anyone, no matter what age you are or what experience you may have.” Agua!”
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
Igor was born in Russia and started dancing International Ballroom and Latin dances in 1987. He was always interested in the technical aspects of dancing and took many workshops and private lessons from the leading experts including Russian, European and World champions. He also enjoyed sharing his knowledge by teaching children. Igor discovered social dancing during his first visit to Seattle in 2008. Since then he has explored different styles. Some of his favorites are Waltz, Country and West Coast Swing.
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’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.
Reinier (Rey) Valdes
Reinier (Rey) Valdes is the founder of La Clave Cubana and along with Daniela Gallardo, are the Co-Directors of their studio located in Seattle. Rey was born in Habana, Cuba, and Daniela, from Mexico. Both have discovered a passion for dancing at an early age. Rey started dancing at the young age of 13 and was immediately recruited and showcase throughout Cuba. At 18, he graduated from the Cuban School of Dance as a dance instructor specializing in popular dances like Salsa, Son, Cha Cha, Mambo, and Rumba. His dancing talents led him to Brazil where he started his own performance group called “Influencia Latina.”