Martynas & Abeth
Lithuania and Portugal
Martynas Stonys is an international Lindy Hop and Balboa instructor, founder and 1/4th of What a Jazz dance studio, 1/4th of Swing Paradise and organizer of multiple local swing dance events in Lithuania. He has been a leader of Lithuanian Swing dance scene for more than a decade, helping the community and many of Lithuanian Swing dance talents grow.
Recently Martynas has been working with a few partners teaching both Balboa and Lindy Hop. He can lead, follow, perform, create, but most importantly find the next idea that would help students improve.
Martynas’ goal is to help his students grow as dancers and as people. He’s raising, answering fundamental questions and is keen on interacting with students during classes.
While often Martynas looks like a serious person, go to him and strike a conversation about dancing, teaching or community. You’ll definitely leave that conversation with more questions (and jokes) than before.
Abeth Farag started dancing Lindy Hop around 2002 in San Francisco with Paul Overton and Sharon Ashe, creators of the well-known weekly dance venue “9:20 Special”. When she left California, she found herself in places where there was no swing dancing at the time – Morocco and Portugal. It was either give up dancing or start teaching!.
Beginning with a small group in Porto in 2003, she began to pass on this rhythmical joyful dance to the Portuguese. As the scene grew, she began teaching in Lisbon as well, going on to found Lindy Hop Portugal as the tie between both scenes. In 2012 she opened her own dance school and production company in both cities, Swing Station. Abeth selected some of her advanced students to undergo teacher training with her so the scene could grow even more!
Through Swing Station (now located just in Lisbon) Abeth and her team organize weekly classes and practice sessions in swing and blues dancing, monthly parties and workshops, shows around the country and two bi-annual festivals – Atlantic Swing Festival in Lisbon in June and Atlantic Blues in Porto in February.
Something Abeth believes in very strongly and tries to pass on to her students is that partner dancing is simply dancing, but with a partner. Focusing on solo body work is essential to being a better partner dancer. Learning other dances and ways of moving our bodies makes us better movers, which enriches our dance as a whole.
Abeth is a teacher with contagious energy, keen that her students learn important concepts to develop their own dancing and push themselves beyond their comfort zone, but with a good dose of fun and laughter in the middle.
Ali & Claudia
Germany and Spain
Clàudia Fonte explores and embraces all kinds of playful ways in her Lindy Hop and Authentic Jazz. She loves creating novel movements that are inspired from all dance forms and place them on a strong foundation of classic swing rhythms. This makes her dancing look authentic both in the sense of being Swing and being herself.
Her passion for the dance is very true to the Swing era, when it was all about pushing the boundaries of what is possible while being grounded and driven by the swinging music. This tasteful game between respecting but also transforming the roots gives her unique ways to interact and have a joyful dance with her partners.
Clàudia’s background in physiotherapy and her deep understanding of how to best use your anatomy will help you gain valuable insight into a higher body awareness and how to express yourself more freely.
Ali Taghavi says “I learned to dance better so that I can teach better”. His true passion is to find new ways of creating magic in the classroom. For him, nothing is as satisfying than to help dancers learn techniques and concepts that inspires them to create their own magic moments on the dance floor.
Throughout more than 12 years of dancing and teaching, he has both refined his own style as well as adopted and integrated many new trends and ideas. This experience has made him very versatile as a lindy hopper, with a strong focus on being able to connect to many different partners.
Today, his greatest joy in a social dance is to draw inspiration from his partner’s movements. Being quick to respond, adapt and reply to what was just presented to him by his partner and the music, he creates a fun, witty and playful interaction that is great to watch and even greater to feel and share!
In class, he’ll teach you how to use all your senses to create such moments in the dance for yourself!
Gustav & Laia
Gustav Jakobsson comes from a sports background and had his first contact with Lindy Hop in Herräng. He fell in love with the dance right away and since then, he has been dedicating a lot of time to learn more about this amazing dance.
Now a full time dancer and teacher based in Stockholm, his teaching is focused on rhythm and flow. Gustav is constantly working to improve his movement by practicing Solo Jazz movement as well as Lindy Hop. He likes to perform and compete and has been successful at events such as ILHC, ESDC, Lindy Shock and The Snowball. Together with Laia he won 1st place in the Advanced Strictly Division at ILHC 2016, and they were finalists in the All-Star Strictly at ILHC 2017 and 2018. They are both members of Brothers and Sisters in Rhythm who won the team competition at ILHC 2017 and 2018.
Laia Puig started dancing at the age of six and and for six years she practiced Ballet, Contemporary and Flamenco daily. When she was 12 years old she started practice and compete in Ballroom dances. At the age of 19 she didn’t want to continue with the ballroom dances and she agreed to go with her parents to a Lindy Hop dance. She loved what she saw at the dance and immediately starting to take Lindy Hop lessons, leaving the Ballroom dancing behind.
Now a full time dancer and teacher based in Stockholm, she is focusing her teaching on followers to have a strong rhythm and to actively take part in the dance. She constantly strives to improve her dancing and movement by working on her solo jazz dancing as much as her Lindy Hop. She tries to connect fun, rhythm and silliness in her dancing.
Laia likes to perform and compete both in Lindy Hop and solo dancing. She has competed successfully at The Snowball and with Gustav Jakobsson she won 1st place in the Advanced Strictly Division at ILHC 2016, and they were finalists in the All-Star Strictly at ILHC 2017 and 2018 and she won the All-Star Draw competition at ILHC 2018 with Nils Andrén. She is a proud member of Brothers and Sisters in Rhythm who won the team competition at ILHC 2017 and 2018.