Kelly Arsenault, from Knoxville, TN, has been dancing as long as she can remember. As a child she took ballet and jazz, but she was especially drawn to modern dance. At age 11, Kelly joined the Tennessee Children’s Dance Ensemble. She was with the modern dance company for 6 years, performing around the globe including Taiwan, Singapore, and Indonesia.
Kelly attended the University of Tennessee from 1997-2001, during which time she was a member of the UT Dance Company. She was also a dancer and choreographer for Circle Modern Dance Company. In 2003, Kelly moved to New York City where she continued her modern dance career performing with Von Ussar Danceworks and MAD About Dance. When she moved to NYC in 2003, she also discovered her love for Balboa and Lindy Hop.
Kelly has been dancing and competing in Balboa and Lindy since 2005, with titles at various events including Balboa Rendezvous, ILHC, ESDC, All Balboa Weekend, and the Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown. She's taught extensively in the US, Canada, Europe, Korea, and Australia, and is very excited to be a part of the Rhythm is Our Business crew!
Photo by Wandering and Pondering - J.S. Almonte.
Jon Tigert is an internationally recognized professional Dancer, Choreographer, and Instructor in the Swing Dance community. As an instructor, Jon specializes in Lindy Hop, Charleston, Balboa, Blues, Jazz and Tap.
Jon has performed and taught all over the world, including in Montreal, Chicago, New York, Santiago, Budapest, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Rome, London and more, as well as with the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestras as a featured artist.
In his spare time, Jon can be found in Baltimore, where he leads the Corner Pocket Jazz Band and is often found swinging out at the Mobtown Ballroom.
Gaby Cook is a national-award winning dancer who is praised for her dynamic style and choreographic ingenuity. In her 10 years+ of professional experience, she has appeared on stages around the world, and has garnered various film and television credits. In addition, she is also lead choreographer for Gatsby Entertainment NYC, a entertainment production house, specializing in Great Gatsby theme.
With a solid foundation of studio dance training, she has developed a unique style in Lindy Hop. She blends the raw, athletic power of Lindy Hop with the grace and refinement of the movie musical-era. She brings great care to lines, shapes and balance in her personal performance as well as her choreographic work.
In New York, she is a cast member. In the classroom, she shares her knowledge of the dance with a cheerful disposition, and clear straight-forward instruction. She is passionate about Lindy Hop traditions and works to share the joy of swing with new audiences.
Rafal Pustelny is a vibrant young dancer and instructor who is passionate about traditional dances from all around the world! Rafal moved to NYC in 2010 and there studied American Jazz dance forms, including Lindy Hop, Charleston, and Balboa. He quickly established himself as one of the top dancers in NYC, and has since earned acclaim in the international swing dance community. His wide knowledge and skill in various styles has helped him win top placements in international competitions and has created opportunities for him to teach around the world.
Rafal’s expertise and passion for dance shine in the classroom; he uses his technical prowess, upbeat sense of humor, and innate ability to connect with people to distill high-level content into accessible pieces that elevate multiple aspects of his students’ dancing. Rafal continues his own dance education by studying Tap, Clogging, Hungarian folk dances, and Polish folk dances.
As a performer, he works with several regional groups, including “Polish American Folk Dance Company”, “The Vanaver Caravan”, “Project Connect” and “Wild Rhythm”, as well as community events and corporate parties. A Frankie Manning Foundation Ambassador, he teaches and performs locally with “You Should Be Dancing” studios and The Harlem Swing Dance Society. You can also find him at international events where he works with dance communities across the globe.
Guest Instructor: Afro-Caribbean
Patrick Pride Jr. is an expressive, ambitious, and passionate Virginian native who discovered his love for dance at the ripe age of 16, upon which he became involved in high school and community theatre projects. Throughout college, he explored the dance styles of ballet, modern, jazz, improvisation, and contemporary while both performing and being dance captain for many musicals. Patrick holds the honor of being the first among his fellow APSU colleagues by having a duet he choreographed, Boundaries, to be chosen for the adjudication showcase of the 2017 South Region American College Dance Association.
Pride is a graduate from Austin Peay State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. Since graduating, he has been involved with many dance projects, musicals, and was recently a company member of Found Movement Group, a contemporary dance theatre company in Nashville. Currently, Patrick teaches a variety of dance classes at Centerstage Performing Arts Academy.
Pride always believes that in three important principles: “Staying young at heart”, “When there’s an opportunity, take it”, and “You’re not working hard enough until you’re drowned in sweat”. Due to these principles, Pride is deemed as a talented young leader and professional with a moderate amount of sass and elegance, who will always gets the job done and performs it well!
Kerry Kapaku comes from a long history of training, performing, and teaching ballet and contemporary dance professionally. She has been dancing since she was just four years old, and holds a BFA in Dance Performance and Education from The Ohio State University. Kerry was introduced to Lindy Hop and vintage jazz dancing during her time at OSU, and has been hooked ever since!
Kerry strives to cultivate a fun and encouraging environment for all of her students, while emphasizing the importance of efficient muscular engagement and anatomical alignment. In addition to Lindy Hop, Kerry also specializes in St. Louis Shag, and is considered to be one of the strongest shag dancers in the Midwest. Kerry loves to compete, and has placed at events such a Midwest Lindy Fest, Nevermore Jazz Ball, and Camp Hollywood.
When she’s not out traveling the country for dancing, Kerry serves as Head Instructor for Naptown Stomp Lindy Hop Society, Indianapolis’s only organization dedicated to teaching, preserving, and promoting vintage dancing. In her “real life,” Kerry has teaching ballet to children of all levels and ages for the past 9 years, and has had students advance to the final round of the Youth American Grand Prix ballet competition in NYC.
Viktor Lilliard is an avid and enthusiastic up-and-coming instructor hailing from Columbus, OH. He shares his rhythmic and flowing style of swing on the social floor and stage alike, competing and placing in improvised and choreographed competitions at events such as Midwest Lindyfest, International Lindy Hop Championships, and Lindy Focus.
Viktor has been teaching locally and regionally for several years in a variety of settings. In the classroom he seeks to share his solid understanding of both leading and following technique. He uses his musical knowledge and his creative outlook to help students both become comfortable in their basics and expand their boundaries. Above all, he encourages all swing dancers to feel the music and have fun!