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.

Shannon Varner

Shannon Varner discovered Lindy Hop while living in New York City and has been fortunate to live in Lindy Hop-centric cities ever since.  Whether Washington DC, Chicago, or Columbus, OH, they all have provided rich opportunities to hone her dance skills, and influence her dance styles.  She enjoys sharing her passion for these dances with others and truly believes dancing is for everyone.

 Shannon has won numerous awards, placing in such competitions as the American Lindy Hop Championships, Beantown Dance Camp, Nevermore Jazz Ball, SwingIN, Southern Swing Challenge, and Midsummer Night Swing in NYC. 

 Shannon also co-founded the award-winning competitive dance team SwingColumbus and served as co-choreographer from 2008 – 2017.

Favorite Dance Event: Nevermore Jazz Ball

Lindsay Kelly (Instructor Chair)

Lindsay has been dancing as long as she’s been walking, maybe longer. While she originally studied ballet, tap, hip hop, and modern, she stumbled upon the world of swing dancing in high school, and it was love at first rock-step. Since then, she has regularly traveled across the country to learn, compete, and most importantly, social dance. In dancing, she adores the playful exchange of ideas and ability to collaborate to create something together, and she tries to share that passion with everyone she dances with and teaches. As an instructor, she focuses on using comfortable body mechanics to connect and communicate across partnerships, and the importance of listening to and understanding the music that inspires it all. 

Favorite Dance Event: Lindy Focus (but Camp Hollywood is a close 2nd)


Mark Calkins

Mark Calkins is one of the long-standing dancers in the Ohio lindy hop community and is known for his methodological approach to partner dancing. He co-founded the award-winning competitive dance troupe Team SwingColumbus with Shannon. He served as a core choreographer for group from 2008 – 2017. As a competitor, Mark holds various contest awards from dance events like Beantown Dance Camp, Nevermore Jazz Ball, and Lindy Focus. In 2009 he 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.

Favorite Dance Event: Rocktober Intensive Lindy Hop Weekend

Ben Doane

Ben stumbled his way into dancing at Ball State University in 2009, and has kept at it ever since. Ben enjoys introducing the freedom and expression that comes with swing dancing, all through the tenants of ‘posture, pulse, and fun’. Ever the extrovert, the connections made and friendships built through the joy of dance, both on and off the dance floor, keep him coming back for more.

Favorite Dance Event: Swim Out Costa Brava

Tyedric Hill


Tyedric Hill has been dancing Lindy Hop for 2 years. His love for the dance and pursuits in learning and competing have taken him all over the world. In class, he loves to facilitate the same warm learning environments he experiences as a traveling student. 


Favorite Dance Event:  Uptown Swingout


Arleigh Wiler-Martin

Arleigh has loved swing music her whole life, and was overjoyed to find that people express this musicality through movement—two of her very favorite things.  Arleigh focuses on the physics of good partner communication and musical moments, and loves how Lindy Hop fosters the self-expression of both dance partners.  Of the endless benefits of dancing Lindy Hop, some of Arleigh’s favorites are the laughter, the continuous exposure to new ideas and challenges, and of course, the friendships made at home and across the world.

Favorite Dance Event: Rocktober Intensive  Lindy Hop Weekend