Nina Gilkenson:

Lindy Hopper. Belly dancer. Hair-removal Laser Technician. The mysterious figure that is known only as “Nina” (and sometimes “Naomi”) has many titles from prestigious dance competitions. But that’s only a small part of her accomplishments. For instance, she can swivel in midair. She can simultaneously create vintage-style dresses and then destroy them while dancing. She can make 12-minute biscuits in 10 minutes. She writes upbeat musical theatre involving funeral homes. And last, but not least, she is a part of the award-winning Lindy Hop team the Silver Shadows, which sounds like it’s a group of super heroes. And that’s what she is. A Super Hero–one whose main super power is doing swivels in midair. And one day, they might save the world. Until then, she lives in Baltimore and falls down a lot.

Nina is a co-organizer of The International Lindy Hop Championships, one of the largest swing dance competitions in the world.



Michael ‘Falty’ Faltesek:

Falty brings to the dance floor an incredibly diverse social and performance dance talent that includes not only Lindy Hop but also Cakewalk, Black Bottom, Traditional Jazz, Tap, Charleston, Breakaway, Balboa, Big Apple, Blues and many other Authentic American Jazz dances.  So basically all of the swing dancing.

Falty has been dancing for well over 18 years, in that time he has traveled to instruct, compete, and perform all over the globe, from Harlem to Los Angeles, Canada to Korea, and all throughout Europe. Falty is well known for his charismatic personality, approach-ability and passion for the essence of authentic jazz dance and music.  He possesses an enthusiastic ability to convey ideas and movements explicitly, making him a popular instructor wherever he goes. He has taught hundreds of workshops here and abroad, each time leaving a lasting impression on his students. Falty’s main sources of inspiration are the greats of yesteryear. Dancers and performers like Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, the Nicholas Brothers, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, John Bubbles, Earl “Snakehips” Tucker, and the Berry Brothers. Falty’s main dance partner is considered the most trusted face in Lindy Hop, Casey Schneider.  However, he has the fortunate opportunity to teach with some of the world’s best instructors including the likes of Nina Gilkenson, Ramona Staffeld, Carla Heiney, Laura Glaess, and even the swing dance goddess herself, Sylvia Sykes. Falty also leads the band Falty and the Defects