2017 INSTRUCTORS

Dan Repsch

Jenny Sowden

Dan is immersed in the music and the movement. He constantly travels to continue learning, happily sharing his ideas along the way. In his teaching, Dan’s enthusiastic approach brings a focus on innovation, connection, and attention to your partner. Dan is also a veteran DJ, spinning for events across the continent and locally on a weekly basis, and has dabbled in organizing for events and local dances. In the end, Dan is most excited to push his dancing and to see his students break through their boundaries.

Jenny Sowden is an award winning, full-time, international dance instructor based in New York City, where she is the managing director of Brooklyn Swings and nycBABBLE.com. Jenny has been training in dance for 25 years and teaching for 20 years, with a BA in Dance and Theater from San Diego State University. She has studied 34 different styles of movement, including Ballet, Tap, Hip Hop, West African, Capoeira, Aikido, Tango, Salsa, Lindy hop, Balboa, and Blues. Her background influences her teaching and general style through musicality, variety, expression and an understanding of body mechanics. Jenny believes the dance floor is a ‘World of Yes,’ where by constantly accepting and being inspired by what happens, creates an amazing place to be. We then take classes in a ‘World of Intention’ to expand our ‘World of Yes.’ Find out more at www.JennySowden.com

Michael Jagger

Evita Arce

Armed with a connection-focused approach to dancing, a pocket thesaurus and a dry sense of humor, Michael has been spreading the joy of swing for 15 years.  His teaching style tends to appeal to the wordsmiths of the Lindy community because of his ability to clearly articulate dance concepts, often using big works superfluously and finding metaphors to everyday experiences. As a lead, Michael understands a student’s propensity toward step collecting, but he aims to extoll the gospel of compassionate partnering, where the focus is more about how well we connect on the dance floor, regardless of experience or “level disparities.” He draws inspiration from various dancers and movement styles, and he considers Ryan Francois and Jenny Thomas his mentors and biggest influence in how we relate to each other in Lindy Hop.

Performing and entertaining has always been a passion of Michael’s, and he and his regular dance partner, Evita, Arce, have traveled the globe for 10 years performing swing.  Michael’s stage credits include two consecutive appearances at Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Festival with his dance company, Syncopated City, which he co-directs with Evita.  They were featured dancers for Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in Let Freedom Swing, a celebration of jazz for Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Kennedy Center and again with the J @ LCO for a tribute to Benny Goodman at the Rose Theater in NYC.  As a principle dancer with Evita, he starred as the Lindy Hop specialist in several productions of the Broadway musical Swing!, including regional productions at Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, the California Music Circus in Sacramento and the 2008 Japanese tour.

Evita Arce is a Swing dance phenom, known internationally for her endless energy, inspiring performances, and elegant, feminine movement. Whether on stage or leading a class, her vibrant persona inspires onlookers to dance and live in the moment. With 15 years of experience, she has taught all over the world at Lindy Hop events spanning the US to the UK, Japan to Australia, Canada to Europe.  Evita is the Executive Director of Syncopated City Dance Company and a founding partner of Syncopated City Dance School.

As a teacher, Evita’s patience and bright, friendly classroom manor belies the extraordinary depth of her technical knowledge. She is adamant about understanding anatomy and efficiency of movement. Her open, enthusiastic connection with people lends to her entertaining communication in the classroom.

As a performer, her most noted accomplishments are So You Think You Can Dance, SWING! the Broadway show, the Kennedy Center, celebrating MLK and President Obama’s inauguration, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Jacob’s Pillow, The Edinburgh Jazz Festival and numerous 1st place wins in Solo Blues, Solo Charleston, Slow Dance and Cabaret Showcases within the Lindy Hop circuit.

As a choreographer, collaborations include work with Jazz at Lincoln Center, Sleigh Bells Swing, with George Gee’s Orchestra at the Edison Ballroom, Glenn Crytzer and the Savoy Seven and Evita is exceptionally proud of her annual project directing the New Years Eve show at Lindy Focus.

Chester Whitmore

Sara Deckard

Dancing since 1974, Chester Whitmore originally studied to be a cinematographer. An encounter with famed tap dancer Fayard Nicholas changed his life. Eventually, Mr. Nicholas became his teacher and mentor.  Mr. Whitmore has been jumping ever since. Lately, he has been traveling around the world on tour as a dancer, teacher, choreographer, director and entertainer. He has performed with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, the Duke Ellington Orchestra under the direction of Mercer Ellington, the Count Basie Orchestra under the direction of Frank Foster, and the great Mile Davis.  Chester Whitmore’s choreography can be seen in music videos by Weird Al Yankovic, Teena Marie, Boys II Men, and Sugar Ray. The NAACP Image Awards (1989-1994), Soul of American Music, and Stellar Awards (Gospel Music Awards) show Mr. Whitmore’s versatility in choreographing for diverse groups, such as the Nicholas Brothers with Savion Glover, M.C. Hammer, Levert, BeBe and CeCe Winans, Vickie Winans, and in dance tribute to Dick Clark and The Artist (formerly known as Prince).

Sara Deckard, though never classically trained, has been dancing since her mother taught her how to “mash potatoes” as a little girl.  In 2004, she fell in love with Lindy Hop and all dances of the Jazz Age such as Charleston, Balboa, Shag, Drag Blues and others.  She began competing and performing in 2005 and has since won titles in Lindy Hop, authentic jazz, and blues dance at events around the world.  As much as she loves to show off, Sara is a true street dancer and is happiest on the social dance floor, or connecting with students in a relaxed workshop setting.

As a teacher, Sara is spirited and encouraging.  She emphasizes staying true to the spirit of Swing and creating authentic, organic movement while maintaining one’s own creative voice and, of course, having as much fun as possible.  She strives to give her students the confidence to get out and let their spirit move, experiment with new steps and celebrate happy accidents.  Sara has taught at many workshops around the world, including the acclaimed Herräng Dance Camp in Sweden.  Sara is also an instructor for cmDance’s school outreach program, which fosters the next generation of jazz babies in Denver, CO.


     As a performer, Sara is inspired by the ladies of the Jazz Age, such as Josephine Baker and Mable Lee, but also by the go-go girls and shake dancers of the 60s and 70s.  She has performed in cabaret-style shows at various dance festivals in the United States and Europe, and was featured in the music video for Caravan Palace’s song “Dramophone”.

From early 2011 to the end of 2012, Sara has choreographed, coached and performed with Denver’s premier all-girl dance troupe, The Diamond Dolls.  Their repertoire covers everything from classic 1920s Charleston, chorus lines and fan dancing, to go-go, disco and even synchronized swimming (on skateboards!)  The troupe is headed by Becky Vigil, and performs at dance and music festivals, as well as corporate events all over the US.