Main Track: Blues Solo
Arja is a Blues and Swing dance enthusiast who fell in love with Blues at first try in 2013. Since 2015 she has been teaching blues dancing regularly and is running her own performance troupe since 2019 at Jazz Factory, Helsinki. As a blues dancer Arja values musicality and connection above all. She challenges her students to actively listen to the music, to practice controlled movements, and try to be expressive and creative whilst respecting the roots and the aesthetics of Blues dancing. Additionally, trying to create a safe and enjoyable learning environment is important to her.
Katharina Matkevich & Johannes Varkki
Main Track: Collegiate Shag
Short Track: Lindy Hop Improvers
To both be inspired and inspire others, Johannes (started dancing in 2012 and teaching in 2014) and Katharina (started dancing swing in 2014) have travelled together and participated in many festivals internationally. Being passionate and tireless dancers, they have won several endurance competitions and also placed in both ‘Mix and Match’ and Strictly competitions.
In 2017, Katharina and Johannes began teaching together at Tallinn Swing Dance Society. Back in their home city they teach regular Lindy Hop and Collegiate Shag classes, as well as classes in Solo and St. Louis Shag. To spread the joy of Collegiate Shag specifically, they have made many trips to Finland and have given classes to dancers over the Baltic sea. Putting a strong emphasis on musicality, their style of dancing is smooth and precise, and a mix of different Swing dances.
In their classes, Johannes and Katharina like to combine details and technicality with the euphoric and free mood of swing dancing. Creativity and swing music itself are key aspects to their whole dance path.
Main Track: Body Music – Rhythm, Voice & Movement
Venla is a body musician, tap dancer, drama instructor and improviser, who has during many years taught classes, workshops and intensives in different parts of Finland. She has also been teaching in São Paulo (Brazil) as part of the Circle Music Retreat. In her everyday life Venla teaches body music, theatre improvisation, interaction and performing skills. She also performs as a rhythm artist and as an improviser.
In her own performing she combines foot percussion, body rhythms and often singing. She has performed at Kaustinen Folk Music Festival together with the vocal hop group Tuuletar and at Body Rhythm Hamburg Festival as well as at the International Body Music Festival with the body music ensemble Octopus Inc., to name a few.
As a teacher Venla feels that it's important that everybody has the opportunity to express themselves freely - that each person can relax and be completely themselves. A strong emphasis is also put on listening: you learn to listen to yourself, the other, as well as the resonance of the whole group. ”When there is a mutual relaxedness and trust within the group, it’s much easier for everyone to start expressing themselves both bodily, vocally and musically. To achieve these goals, humor and playfulness are extremely important tools to have in your pocket!”
Tanja Wingerter & Kay Werndli
Main Track: Jazz Roots Duo
Tanja’s swing dance path started in Ljubljana in 2014 and continued during Erasmus exchanges in Montpellier and Madrid taking classes and social dancing almost every day. On her return, she started inviting teachers to Finland and soon to teach herself and finally co-founding the dance school Black Pepper Swing in 2017. Nowadays her days fill up with classes, event organizing and training different dance styles. She travels eagerly to become a better dancer and teacher. Her style is described as elegant and playful. As a teacher, she tries to help every student find their own challenge and way of learning. In Lindy hop, she particularly enjoys diving deep into partner connection and music.
Kay was first introduced to Lindy Hop in Bern, Switzerland. Soon after, he moved to Stockholm, which is where he truly discovered his passion for this dance. Taking as many classes as possible, and social dancing as often as he could, Kay developed his own style of Lindy Hop, influenced by the vibrant Swedish Lindy spirit. Now residing in Utrecht, Netherlands, he has been an instructor for Swing in Utrecht and Lindy What! Nijmegen for the past couple of years. In his teaching, Kay tries to take the best of these different Swing scenes that he has been part of and tries to pass this knowledge on to his students. In his dancing, he always strives to find a balance between being a supportive partner, creating and developing ideas together, and expressing his own individual style. Kay can be easily spotted on the dance floor because of his athletic dance style and his happy demeanour.
Laura Halttunen & Pasi Ojala
Main Track: Lindy Hop Advanced
Laura is a performing dance teacher, choreographer/director and event organiser, and runs her own dance school the Jazz Factory and its performance groups the Midnight Follies&Swingin’ Bootleggers. Laura has more than 12 years of experience in the field, specializing in Jazz roots, Lindy hop & Blues, training dancers, performers, competitors and dance teachers alike. Laura is an energetic and lively teacher who caresses you with humour and whips you with technique. As one of the leading teachers in Helsinki, Laura has received thanks especially for the clarity of her teaching and her ability to break down the material into bits easily digested, and for her skills in deepening one’s awareness, control and expression of the body. Laura is not only a top teacher and dancer but also has an unparalleled ability as choreographer to conjure up stunning performances that make the audience mesmerised, their knees soft and laughter muscles sore.
Pasi is a familiar face in the Finnish lindy hop scene. In addition to Helsinki he's been teaching lindy, boogie woogie and blues in Turku and Vaasa lately. You would also have spotted him in competitions and shows over the past several years. All the dance styles mentioned above are close to his heart, and he uses them creatively in his teaching. In his classes you'll be both inspired and enlightened!
Main Track: Tap Dance – Big Band Tap Rhythms
A unique blend of a singing, music style tap dancer and luminary stage performer, Jussi , is passionate about combining tap and percussive dance to live music. Jussi has collaborated with many high level jazz and world musicians, including awarded French jazz singer Cyrille Aimée, Greek percussionist Petros Kourtis and music style tap greats like Heather Cornell and Max Pollak.
Besides music he has also a secret hidden swing dance past and love towards classic american entertainment like big band music and dance numbers in classical musical movies. Jussi has been fortunate to be influenced by many masters and generations of the art of American vernacular and rhythm dancing including names like Chester Whitmore, Heather Cornell and Brenda Bufalino among many other. Jussi is a fun, warm and patient pedagogue and he is excited to be swinging his steps towards Helsinki Swing Week this year.
Essi Tikanoja & Karri Rasinmäki
Short Track: Lindy Hop Beginner
Essi is a passionate lindy hop dancer, who has during her life attended numerous swing and tap dance festivals and camps around Europe. She started dancing at a young age, including to her repertoire many styles modern dance and tap dance. On tap dance camps Essi got bit of a taste of lindy hop but it took a while before the tinder burst into flames. Now she enjoys spreading the joy of lindy hop also by teaching, in which she applies the skills she has gained while studying for a Master’s degree in pedagogy. She is a sunshiny teacher who has the ability to make all her students feel relaxed and comfortable.
Karri is a locally grown swing dancer from Helsinki, Finland. He entered into the world of dance through Boogie Woogie. Shortly after, other swing dances came along from which Lindy Hop and Blues / Slow Swing made the biggest impact so far. His passion for swing dancing and teaching has led Karri to become a founding member of the dance school Black Pepper Swing with Tanja Wingerter.
Currently, Karri is dedicated to explore one’s natural movement and adapting it to dance and partnership. According to him dance has given him the ability to explore an abstract world and connecting with people in a unique way. Karri’s classes are engaging and inspiring, with the focus being in maximum dance and practise time. He is bound to challenge you technically as well as to give you the freedom to find your individual expression.
Adam Brozowski & Máté Csike
Side Track: Lindy Hop Role Switching
Side Track: Balboa
An immediately recognizable name in the lindy hop world, Adam has been dancing since 11 years old. Known for his accomplishments across several genres of swing dance as both a lead and a follow, Adam has worked to break boundaries for non-traditional dance partnerships alongside his Hungarian partner Máté. Adam is also well known for his relationship to the late great Queen of Swing, Norma Miller for whom Adam assisted for many years and personally studied under. Adam recently honored Norma by creating and organizing the "Global Trickeration Project" which brought together 165 groups of dancers from 35 countries all around the world. Adam's style is smooth, playful, rhythmic and always looking to bring the best out of the moment, the music and his partner. Whether in the classroom or on the floor, great lindy hop happens.
An exuberant force of nature on the dance floor, Máté has become an almost immediate icon for his following which is equally inspired by Los Angeles lindy legend Jewel McGowan, as well as the fierce Harlem ladies like Norma Miller. Máté's presence brings the party to the classroom, dance floor, of whatever the hell he's doing! Also an accomplished vogue dancer, Máté brings this influence into his style and movement on the floor in a way like no one else. Always passionate about sharing what he knows and inspiring people to be themselves on the dance floor, Máté teamed up with Adam in 2017 for the first time and the pair have been virtually unstoppable Queer force of nature since!
Helsinki Swing Week