Our designated instructors are SwingColumbus members who teach a full monthly series course for the Swingology School. With their guidance, you will hone your skills from the foundation up, helping you jump from beginner to intermediate faster than you can rock step! We also have an auxiliary instructor team for the Swingin’ Tuesdays beginner lessons.

2017 SwingColumbus Instructors // Photo by Siriomi Joy Photography

SwingColumbus is in the process of revising criteria to help our regular dancers transition into instructors. Please speak with our instructor chair for more information.

Mark Calkins

Mark Calkins is one of the most influential members in the Columbus lindy hop community. With dance partner Shannon Varner (together they are known as the Lindyroos), he regularly teaches lessons and is the co-founder of the award-winning competitive dance troupe Team SwingColumbus. Mark’s individual competition achievements include Beantown Dance Camp, Swing-In, Rocktober, SparX, Hawkeye Swing Festival and Lindy Focus. He also competed in the “World’s Largest Jack and Jill” and advanced into the semi-final round at Frankie Manning’s 95th Birthday celebration in New York City. www.lindyroos.com

Shannon Varner

Shannon discovered Lindy Hop while living in New York City in 1997. She has won numerous awards, placing in such competitions as the American Lindy Hop Championships, Virginia State Open, and the Jack & Jill Contest at Midsummer Night Swing in NYC. She has performed in New York and Chicago with some of her credits including: PBS’ “Swingin with the Duke” with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, The Today Show, and Chicago’s month long dance program, Dance Chicago. Shannon rounds out her dance experience with a background in arts administration at The Martha Graham Dance Co and the prestigious Juilliard School. www.lindyroos.com

Gail Clendenin

Gail ClendeninGail Clendenin began swing dancing in 2004 at Ohio University, where she did not miss a single Jitterbug Club lesson or event all of her first quarter at school. She stayed with the OU Jitterbug Club all through undergrad, eventually organizing club events, teaching lessons, and marrying another obsessed club member.

When they moved to Columbus in 2009, Gail and her husband, Daniel, joined the SwingColumbus performance team and were pulled deeper into the scene.

Daniel Hoy (Instructor Chair)

Daniel HoyDaniel Hoy caucuses with the technology party of the swing dance congress. While he does occasionally contemplate the correct basis for representing SwingColumbus’ finances, Daniel promises not to add undue creativity into the accounting process.

Before joining the SwingColumbus board, Daniel taught for the Ohio University Jitterbug Club and SwingColumbus and competed with the SwingColumbus performance team.

Binaebi Akah Calkins

Binaebi began swing dancing during the “Gap Commercial Era” in the early 2000’s in an after-school swing dance club, but left the dance for seven years. She picked it up again in grad school as a method to regain strength after a back injury. The lindy bug caught her in 2009, and she’s been lindy hopping ever since!

Her dance interests include Lindy Hop, Balboa, Charleston, Collegiate Shag, St. Louis Shag, and Carolina Shag. She is all about empowering personality within the dance and encouraging dancers to stretch those muscles so they can swing out through the night.

Eric Kern

Eric KernEric discovered swing dancing in 2001 at the Ohio State University and has been loving it ever since. Eric hopes to give back to the swing community what he’s received from it, a passion for dancing. His enjoyment comes from meeting and dancing with new people from all over, as well as being able to just have fun. Eric is eager to DJ and teach for various clubs and organizations and has done so for several, including the Ohio State University’s Swing Dance Club, Otterbein University’s Swing Dance Club, Ohio University’s Jitterbug Club, and of course, SwingColumbus. He’s taught East Coast, Charleston, Lindy Hop, and Balboa. Although Lindy Hop is his first love, Balboa is his current passion.

Anna Young

Anna fell in love with Lindy Hop in 2000 in Arizona. She has since had an affair with Balboa, and flirts with Charleston and Vernacular jazz. During college she was president of the 200 member club Arizona Swingcats, taught for Tucson Lindy Hop Society, and later the Arizona Lindy Hop Society in Phoenix. While in grad school, Anna taught, choreographed, and performed for the troupe Dancers Unlimited, and served as their secretary and community service chair. She also instructed for Dance Alive, a grant-supported after school program for low income school districts in New Mexico. Fairly new to Columbus, snow, and grass, she is excited to be a part of SwingColumbus and share her passion for dance with Ohio.

Lisa Maccharoni

Caitlin Brown

exec_caitlinCaitlin began her SwingColumbus journey in late January of 2013 at a Swingin’ Wednesdays event. Despite going into it thinking “this is going to be a funny story later”, she instantly fell in love swing dancing and was hooked! There was only one solution: dive in head first! She began taking the SwingColumbus lessons series month after month, and has yet to miss a weekly dance (Wednesday is the best night of the week, didn’t you know?!). But is that really enough dancing? Never! Caitlin has been thoroughly enjoying traveling out of state to dance her socks off, take workshops, and meet other avid swing dancers from across the country. Just take a look at how she budgets: Weekly dance… $5. Lesson series… $40. Being a part of this community… PRICELESS!

Lee Conley

leeConleyLee discovered swing dancing in June of 2011, after a friend spoke about SwingColumbus’ weekly dances, and it was love at first rock step. Since that first venture into the dance world alone, Lee has been hooked, travelling as often as possible and dancing no less than once a week. The philosophy is simple: be silly, play around, dance a lot, and have fun.

Ali Lodico

Ali LodicoAs a dance instructor, Ali combines her two passions in life: swing dancing and teaching. She discovered swing in 2007 in her first year at the University of Dayton, and her feet haven’t stopped moving since. Ali has experience teaching many types of swing dance, and specializes in Lindy Hop, Charleston, and East Coast Swing. In Columbus, she teaches frequently for SwingColumbus and OSU Swing Club, as well as teaching private lessons. She has competed in team and individual competitions all over the country and choreographed an award-winning team routine in 2011 for the University of Dayton Swing Dance Club. She has placed in many regional Jack and Jill and strictly competitions, including a first place win at the Nevermore Jazz Ball in St. Louis, MO. Ali is inspired by the music she dances to, and encourages her students to use dance as a form of self-expression. In classes, she teaches her students to find their own unique style of swing while learning the necessary fundamental skills. Prepare yourself for classes full of energy, enthusiasm, and joy!


Auxiliary Instructors

Auxiliary instructors are SwingColumbus members who teach the beginner lessons for Swingin’ Wednesdays, but have not taught a full monthly series for the Swingology School. We use their enthusiasm and encouragement for beginner dancers to help our scene continue to grow!

Kristine Coplin | Tony Deng | Angela Michel

Former Instructors

Stanley Steers | Hew Keller | Rachel Keller | Neil Coplin | Aleksander Daskalov | David Martin | Mandy Agler | Rebecca Daskalova | Erwin Amauro