Teaching Crew

Mickey Fortanasce and Natalia Rueda (USA, CAN/NL)

Mickey Fortanasce
He’s back to VBLE!
After a few years of watching Lindy Hop, Shag and Balboa at local swing clubs in Los Angeles, Mickey began his dance education in 1999. After moving to New York, Mickey began teaching local classes for the New York University Swing Dance Society. Traveling between New York City and Los Angeles during this period gave his dance education a unique perspective as he was able to meet and watch the old timers from both coasts on the dance floor.
With this education, Mickey gained the confidence and vision that brought him to his first competitions, choreographies and performances in 2001.
Mickey is a unique dancer and teacher for Balboa and Slow Balboa. Also, he’s a very talented graphic designer – check out his patreon!
​This year, Mickey will be teaching with Natalia Rueda:

Natalia Rueda
Natalia began teaching Lindy Hop in 2005, in Canada, at the Ottawa Swing Dance Society. Shortly after, she co-founded Ottawa’s first dedicated Swing school, Swing Dynamite, where she taught and mentored students and teachers for 8 years.
A Swing instructor of 17 years, Natalia has taught throughout North America, Central America, and Western Europe. Now, her home base is in Utrecht, Netherlands. She speaks English, Spanish, French, and basic Dutch.
Natalia specializes in teaching Lindy Hop, Balboa and solo Jazz. She also has expertise in a range of dance styles, including Blues, Collegiate Shag and West Coast Swing.
Welcome Natalia!

Lucía Galiana & Javi Zurdo (ES)

Lucía Galiana and Javi ZurdoMeet the New Kids In VBLE Town!

Lucía and Javi have been dancing and teaching Lindy Hop, Balboa and Slow Bal together since 2012, abroad and mostly across their motherland Spain.
Proud owners and directors of Black Bottom school in Valencia, with more than 500 students, they also organize the Valencia Balboa Festival.
Their fine technique, musicality and style made them win competitions in international festivals, such as European Balboa Anniversary (Strictly 2018).
In classes, they love to focus on partnership and creating an harmonious flow while dancing in couple playing and reacting with each other. They offer students the tools for both ‘leader’ and ‘follower’ to communicate and create together their own steps and variations.
For them, dancing Balboa is a continuous game with music and the fun of jazz dance in its purest form. Be ready for challenging and fun classes wth them!

Dan Guest & Nikki Durrant (UK)

Dan Guest and Nikki Durrant, VBLE 2023, C Balboa Baby, MaxWhat’s VBLE without Dan Guest? Dan is a fixed star in our VBLE universe.

In Balboa, Dan Guest was instrumental in the revival of the dance, having learned from many of the original “old timer” Balboa dancers.
In Laminu, Dan has been one of the main drivers to keep this dance alive and to investigate the source and history.
Dan’s teaching focuses on the techniques and body mechanics that make dancing feel natural and effortless at all tempos. Being a perfectionist, he emphasises lead and follow technique together with developing good basics. He has a relaxed and light-hearted teaching style with a knack for simplifying and explaining complex ideas. His teaching is based on recognised learning methodologies for the acquisition of motor skills. He explains how to put energy and life into all aspects of the dance and how to vary the dynamics to really make it swing!

Nikki Durrant lives in London, UK and has spent the past 16 years as a professional yoga dance demonstrator, performer, teacher, and choreographer. She was introduced to swing dancing in 2016 through Swing Patrol UK and quickly became a devote student of the Balboa style. She then naturally progressed to and fell in love with Laminu, of which she is a conscientious student striving to do and be her best.
While working with her mentor Dan Guest, Nikki is honoured and privileged to share the knowledge that she has acquired with others who share her passion for dance.

Axel Schwarz & Sandra Hartbach (AT)

Sandra Hartbach and Axel SchwarzAs founders and basically the heart and soul of the VBLE, Axel and Sandra will teach Laminu and the Balboa Rueda at VBLE.
Since 1998, Axel and Sandra have been dancing together, discovering, teaching and choreographing all forms of social dances.
Their deep passion for swing and jazz music ever growing, they finally started swing dancing in 2006, first focusing on Lindy Hop and Balboa.
Over the last years, they became even more curious and discovered other dances of this era, including rare dances like Laminu, Peabody, and others.
In 2009, they again started teaching Lindy Hop, Balboa, Charleston, Laminu – and also Ballroom classes, bringing together the experience and technique of their dancing and the joy and enthusiasm of swing dancing.

Their heart is burning for Balboa and Laminu – and for musicality. When teaching, they want to pass on their experience and love for dancing and music, trying to arouse this passion in their students who eventually will bring this to the social dancefloor.
In addition to teaching and organizing events, they LOVE to DJ for Swing Dancers on their original 78rpm/Shellac records!