Jacob Wigger (CA)

Jacob started swing dancing in 2003 and has been hooked ever since.

Jacob began his dance journey with Smooth/LA Style Lindy Hop which has the core of the his own unique style he uses today. Using the Smooth Lindy style as a base, he has created his own way of dancing to Soul music and is excited to share it with you.

Jacob’s first love is social dancing, but he also enjoys competing as a way to set goals and push himself. As a teacher, he enjoys using a mix of humorous analogies and serious instruction to create a fun and exciting learning environment.

Jacob has been teaching at national and international events for the last 15 years. He has honed his ability to break down and analyze the dance to make complex and dynamic movement happen with ease and comfort. He is known for his continuous flow and effortless way of floating across the dance floor, while maintaining a highly rhythmic feel.

Jacob’s primary goal in all his partnerships has been to connect in a way that works for both him and his partner to find what they can create together. This has resulted in numerous placements and wins at all levels of competition, but more importantly, having ever-evolving social dances.

Olivia Hales (CA)

Olivia has had a passion for all things swing dance since the first time she saw the Lindy Hop at the Carnation Plaza inside Disneyland in 2005. From that moment, she dived head long into the scene. She met Justin Zillman, Steve Sayer, and many other LA based long time friends and dancers who have inspired her love for the dance and soul music. She incorporates her unique style into her Soul Lindy, Lindy Hop, and Balboa. 

She’s traveled internationally for dance events and has competed periodically throughout her dance career. She’s always loved dancing Swing to any and all music types - different music brings new inspiration! She is very much looking forward to bringing some knowledge, technique, and hopefully some Soul dance principals and creativity that will help you grow as a dancer, inspire new ideas, and expand your view of what swing dancing can mean for you. 

Grayson Free (SC)

Grayson Free hails from Charleston, South Carolina and first learned Carolina Shag when he was 7 years old. He competed as a junior for over 6 years, and has continued dancing competitively into his adult years. 

He loves this dance because of the people and music that they appreciate and celebrate. He considers the people he's met through Shag as family, and he is incredibly grateful to be a part of such an amazing community, including his father (left) and grandmother (center), who have also been a part of the Shag community for several decades.

He looks forward to spreading the Shag, meeting new people, and dancing to some jump blues! 

Check out Grayson's interview with Garden and Gun in 2023: 

Jada Bannen (SC)

Julie Roman (AZ)

Julie Roman is a Phoenix-based artist. As a classically trained concert pianist/vocalist (with a career as a certified music educator and private vocal coach), she is passionate about pursuing excellence and spreading a love for the arts. 

She enjoys collaborating with vintage swing dancers from around the world to compete, teach, choreograph, and perform. While she studies and competes with as many jazz dances as she can, Julie is madly in love with collegiate shag (and flying air steps). She has taught at, judged, made finals, placed in, or won contests at shag events such as the Warsaw Shag Festival, the Barcelona Shag Festival, Camp Hollywood, Shag and Drag, the LA Shag Festival, and Hot Rhythm Holiday. 

Julie is also the artistic director for and a founding member of the Phoenix Swing Project (an arts coop dedicated to growing and enriching the swing dance experiences available to people in Phoenix through collaborations and team training). The program is especially focused on creating contest teams, advocating for junior swing dance opportunities, and mentoring young dancers as they start competing and social dancing. 

Julie has performed with or directed several Phoenix-based teams including the Rain and Shine Shufflers (balboa), The Phoenix Bomb Squad (lindyhop), The Phoenix Fleahoppers (shag), The Phoenix Firecrackers (junior Lindyhop), the Salty Dogs (solo jazz), and the Gypsy Jitterbugs (solo jazz). 

Jacob Spinney (AZ)

Known by his friends as "Spinney," Jacob Spinney has been obsessed with swing dancing for well over a decade. Achieving titles such as National Jitterbug Champion, Arizona Swing Dance Champion, Arizona Balboa Champion, and California Balboa Classic Champion, Spinney’s love for swing dancing has helped him create a unique style focused on creativity and expressiveness. 

Co-Captain, Choreographer, Talent Developer, and Skills Coach for the Phoenix Swing Project which encompasses national award winning teams, Phoenix Bomb Squad, Phoenix Firecrackers, as well as the Sunny Side Stompers, Spinney enjoys sharing his love for swing dancing, doing slides, and being a goofball. He drinks a Roy Rogers, easy on the ice, extra cherries. 

Photo by: Miguel Gonzalez

Jackie Walling (AZ)

Jacklyn “Jackie” Walling’s Collegiate Shag journey all started on the top of a parking garage—in the middle of a Flagstaff, Arizona winter, NAU campus, no money for a studio, and needing something to break up the work of graduate school. Inspired by Live Collegiate Shag and Steve and Chanzie’s classic 2013 routine, she broke down moves of this energetic, vintage dance.

In 2021, she moved to Phoenix, where she began digging into the fine details of technique and connection for both Collegiate Shag and Lindy Hop. A casual hobby soon morphed to obsession and the joy of competing. She has had individual successes in Collegiate Shag competitions in the U.S. and abroad, most recently Hot Rhythm Holiday and Barcelona Shag Festival.  She's also a team member of the award winning 2023 team: Phoenix Bomb Squad.

While she enjoys all vintage swing dances, she really only knows one word. SHAG. She enjoys the fast pace of the dance, its spirited nature, and finding synergy with a dance partner at warp speed. Are feet worth having if the don’t go fast? 

Photo by: Miguel Gonzalez

Carlos Quinio (AZ)

Carlos Quinio (he/him) is a Music Educator, instrumentalist, and dancer. He received his Bachelor’s in Music Education at Arizona State University and has been actively teaching for 6 years in the Chandler Unified School District. 

Carlos has served as one of the coaches and choreographers for the Phoenix Swing Project (specializing in aerials) since 2023. Aside from projects and performances with the team, he has experience organizing events and collaborating with other performing groups such as the Arizona Wind Symphony, The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, Swing du Soleil, and 1-2-3 Andrés.

Carlos is passionate about creating experiences that will spark the joy of learning in his students while providing access points for anyone interested in exploring the arts. 

Photo by Paul Quay

Chiadikaobi Njoku (AZ)

Chiadikaobi "Chiadi" Njoku is from Arochukwu Local Government, Abia State, Nigeria, and is part of the Igbo tribe.

He started dancing as a kid with Anglican Children ministry, performing at his local Church and school in Gombe. He grew up learning tribal dance from various instructors that helped create the passion he has for dance. Every time he hears an Igbo song, he is so excited to express the joy he feels through movement. 

After discovering Lindy Hop in college, he began learning the similarities between Jazz and Igbo music, and embodying different rhythms. 

Lindy hop as become such a huge part of his life and, as of 2023, he started traveling and competing in the US and overseas. 

Chiadi recently won the 2023 Lindy Focus Mix and Match competition and made finals in the Solo Jazz competition at All Lithuanian Weekend 2023. When he is not dancing, he likes reading and collecting antique books. 

“Dance enables you to find yourself and lose yourself at the same time" - unknown 

John Erik Vanston (AZ) 🏃

John Erik was born in Austin, TX, and started swing dancing when he moved to Phoenix in 2022. After being introduced to lindy hop by Jonathan Lindsey, he fell in love with collegiate shag when he took an introductory class at SWINGdepenDANCE of that year. He learned most of what he knows about shag from Julie Roman, and has competed at Camp Hollywood, the Barcelona Shag Festival, Hot Rhythm Holiday, and SWINGdepenDANCE.

 John Erik tries to do cool things when the music tells him to, and also when it doesn’t. He especially loves dancing to rock 'n roll and fast swing.