TopCity Swing Instructors

Heather cropped.jpg
Heather Ballew
(Intermediate Lindy Hop, Balboa)

Heather Ballew hails from the lovely city of Denver. As a participant of the 1990's swing renaissance, Heather swears she learned everything the wrong way first and has had to relearn and refine every bit of her dancing multiple times over the years. In the classroom, she strives to help her students gain confidence and realize their full potential on the social or competition floor but her biggest goal is to open up new avenues for creativity and communication within the partnership. She loves dancing with people of all levels and she is known for her connection, footwork and playfulness. She can be found teaching around the United States and abroad, talking passionately about scene-building, and starting zany and sometimes thoughtful Facebook discussions.

Krister Shalm
(Intermediate Lindy Hop, Balboa)

Krister was born in a snow storm, but raised in a desert. Things finally improved when he discovered Lindy Hop in graduate school. The instrument that best matches his personality is a tuba. Briefly, in 2004, he became infatuated with neo-swing music. Krister regrets deeply those three weeks. Given the choice of sharing lunch with any swing-era musicians, he would opt for Slim and Slam. To him, swing dancing is a moving portrait of momentum and rhythm. He believes Balboa is a dance that is more about the journey than the destination. This is fortunate because the steps are so small it is hard reach any destination. He likes his swing outs and toss outs like he likes his underwear–stretchy. Krister believes that everyone is a dancer, they just might not know it yet. As a dance teacher, sometimes his mouth runs ahead of his brain to both the horror and delight of his students. Krister currently lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife, Heather, and together they run a swing dance school, but occasionally he gets distracted by his day job as an experimental quantum physicist.

Krister cropped.jpg
Amanda Bernice cropped.jpg
Miss Ruby (Amanda Bernice)
(Beginner Lindy Hop)

Miss Ruby grew up involved in a number of dance genres. In 2009, she began her training in Jazz Era Dances. Surrounded by live jazz being produced and performed in her hometown of Kansas City, it was hard to get away from the sounds of the 1930s & 1940s jazz rhythm. Amanda quickly found her way into the swing dance community and began to further explore this vintage dance form.

Discovering she loved the competitive side of the dance, she began competing and earned a number of titles. She won titles at Heartland Swing Championships, Boston Tea Party, and Cowtown Jamborama. Early on, Amanda also began volunteering at a number of these events and eventually began organizing her own events in Kansas City.

Amanda specializes in Lindy Hop and vintage vernacular jazz dance. She also teaches Charleston and Balboa. She bases her teaching style on full body movement and frame matching, while emphasizing individual style. Amanda is known for her bubbly and fun personality inside the classroom and out.

With her love of the “Swing Era,” Amanda has founded 627 Stomp and The Kansas City Canaries. Both companies specialize in “Swing Era” dances.

Ben Todd
(Beginner Lindy Hop)

It’s hard to explain how an EDM-loving, basketball-playing enthusiast found himself in the swing dance community. Ben was introduced to Lindy Hop back in 2013 while attending college in Texas. It wasn’t until a year later when he went to his first swing dance weekend that he was truly hooked. Today, he’s all about building and preserving the aspects of the dance community that won him over all those years ago: Great friends, great dances, and fantastic jazz music.

Ben Todd cropped.jpg
Taba Kheradmand
(Collegiate Shag)

Taba delved into the national swing dancing scene seven years ago. Hailing from Chicago, Taba's swing style is recognized as delicate and elegant, while commanding the awe of her audience with her crisp originality. An avid traveler, Taba may be spotted at workshops and clinics all over the country. As a local Kansas City resident, Taba is relentless in her effort to spread the joy of swing dancing in the community by teaching Lindy Hop, Balboa and Shag. 

Benjamin Bailey
(Collegiate Shag)

An enthusiastic fan of Collegiate Shag, Benjamin has traveled to national workshops and dedicated himself to spreading the love of this energetic and spirited form of swing dance around Kansas City and Northeast Kansas. Most Friday nights you'll find him dancing nonstop at the Chesterfield, where he loves to share his talent and passion for swing with dancers of all ability levels.

Samantha Copeland
(St. Louis Shag)

Samantha has been an avid jazz dancer for just over 2 years. It all started when she was living in Portland Oregon. There she learned the fundamentals of Lindy hop, Solo jazz, Charleston and Collegiate shag. Soon after moving to Kansas City she discovered her love of St. Louis Shag. Sam has traveled to learn from some of the best St Louis shag instructors in order to better her dancing. Samantha is a spit fire in and out of the classroom and loves to make her class laugh all while bringing them valuable insight on improving their dance.

Ryan Yake
(St. Louis Shag)

Ryan began his swing dance journey in Kansas City. Starting just over 2 years ago, he set out to learn as much as he could of St. Louis Shag, Charleston, Balboa and Solo Jazz amongst others. Having traveled to many workshops and other dance events, Ryan found his spark (Samantha Copeland!) in St. Louis Shag and Lindy Hop. His teaching style largely focuses on maximizing your expression while spending as little energy as possible.