Alba Mengual (Spain) started swing dancing because the swing people were exactly the crowd she was looking for in a new city, with the time the dancing on the dance floor led her to ecstasy, and she was really hooked when the jazz music found a big space in her heart. There was no way back then!. She loves all the different dance styles of the swing era: Lindy Hop, Blues, Balboa and Authentic Jazz, all of which she trains in and teaches regularly.
She started teaching locally in leeds since 2008 and in London for swing patrol in 2010. The dancing grew on her and she held the dream to have enough time to train and develop her dancing at the level she wished, to become a full time teacher and an organizer in her hometown Madrid. In November 2012 she decided to have the guts to fulfill her dream, quitted her job and moved back to Madrid, where she opened a swing school (Big Mama Swing), bringing international top leads to help her with her mission (Kenny Nelson, Shorty George and finally Gastón Fernández, her actual dance partner). This new step in her life is leading her to being asked to teach internationally with increasing frequency at different international events: Uppsala (Sweden), Stockholm, Barcelona, Paris, Toulouse, La Guiole, Valencia, Lisbon, Porto, New York (USA, Nocturne Blues), Melbourne (Australia) and lately she had the pleasure to teach lindy at Herrang Dance Camp 2014. She is eager to share with everybody her passion for dance that has taken over her life.
Gastón “Gas” Fernández (Argentina) is a professional dancer and dance instructor, based in Madird, Spain. He specializes in vintage dance styles including Lindy Hop, Charleston, authentic jazz, Balboa, Blues and Tango. As a former gymnast he is known in the swing dance community for his powerful acrobatics and aerials, while his background in Tango gives his blues style drama and strength, grounded in a sensitive connection with his partner. Gastón’s passion for swing has taken him around the world, teaching in New york to Melbourne, he has taught in some of the best swing and blues camps in the world, like Herran, Snowball, MSF, Lindy shock, Smokey feet, Berlin Blues Explotion, Noctourne Blues, and many more.
Gastón is devoted to promoting and fostering swing dance and culture in Argentina, Latin America and Spain. He has directed two stage productions featuring live jazz and vintage dance in Buenos Aires: Swing Argentino with the Cuerdas del Sur band, and La Batalla: Swing en el Konex with the Antigua Jazz Band. He also runs South America’s first and largest annual swing dance festival, LHAIF (Lindy Hop Argentina International Festival) each year in Buenos Aires and the first Blues event in South America, “Careless weekend”
He has also been a major proponent of Blues dance in Buenos Aires and is now is teaching Blues internationally.
With intense partner connection, Gas fuses Blues with Tango technique, though always striving to stay grounded in the essence of the Blues.
Gastón is also an avid jazz music collector and a popular DJ. He has DJ’d for swing and blues dancers around the world.
Denis Lutsko (Ukraine) has been dancing social dances for over seven years, including teaching locally and internationally. He started with Lindy Hop and then tasted every swing dance like Boogie, Balboa or Shag. But only Blues gave him as much pleasure as Lindy. For more than five years Denis has been exploring the Blues dance, trying to find the best reflection to music using the richest Lindy Hop technique. He brought Blues to Lithuania and Belarus, where the dance became very popular among social dancers.
Alena Huminskaya (Belarus) Since the age of 10, Alena’s life has been connected with dance. By putting all her time into studying dance and passing auditions at the age of 17, she became a professional dancer with “Horoshki”, Belarus’ national dancing ensemble. In 2011, she became acquainted with Lindy Hop and it changed her life. Her high-level dancing skills allowed her to get good results in a short time. As a result, she became a teacher at a local dance studio and later co-created a new dance studio in Minsk.
Alena, as well as her students, is a frequent winner of different kinds of dancing competitions. She has taught Blues in Minsk, Vitebsk, Vilinius and Lviv.
Alina Sokulska (Ukraine) Originally from Kyiv Ukraine, based both in Kyiv and St. Petersburg (Russia). Dances since she remembers herself, from the very early age. Having a rigorous training in a professional show-ballet “A6” (Kyiv) since 8, Alina has been experimenting on and learning all possible dances. She met social dance at 17 and since then swing, jazz, blues, be-bop, tap, salsa, African dance, UK Jazz were the issues that excited her most. Her formation as a literary critic helps Alina to comprehend Jazz Dance, her major passion, as a historical and anthropological phenomenon. This helps her as a dancer to find new profound approaches to choreography, social dance, improvisation, musicality and a unique dancing style. Moreover, she has successfully shared her experience teaching, giving lectures, making shows and choreographies as well as setting up dance weekends, workshops and festivals for the last three years, in Ukraine, Russia a s well as around the world.
Personalities who have struck and inspired her most were are Al Minns, Leon James, Teddy Brown, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Brothers-in-Jazz and Irven Lewis, Gary Nurse, Chester Whitmore, Gordon Neil, many others and of course… Music!
In her art she always tries to follow the quotation by Hope Boykin, Ailey dancer: “Everything should be done with purpose, passion and style. Everything.”
Natalia Davydova (Russia) came to swing dancing in 2005. She started with lindy hop and then took classes in all kinds of swing dancing that were taught in Moscow (lindy hop, boogie-woogie, balboa, shag, blues, tap and even West coast swing). Natalia experienced blues in 2007 and then took classes whenever and wherever it was possible: in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sweden, Hungary. She considers West African dances are a great help in mastering blues – and she took classes at first in Moscow (for several months) and then in Sweden (a very intensive week in Herrang). Since 2012 blues dance occupied a dominant role in her life and a series of blues workshops and camps followed this change: Natalia visited different events in Israel, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden (more than 15 so far!).
Together with her dancing partner Nick Litvinov Natalia teaches locally since 2013, and in April 2015 she was invited to teach in Istanbul for Hadi Blues Workshop (together with Shorty George). Also she gave classes in Minsk (Belarus) in 2014- 2016, Nizhniy Novgorod (Russia) in 2015, at Chrismas Swing Dance Camp (Moscow) 2015-2016 (additional classes).
Frequent winner and finalist of European and Russian competitions (in categories Jack-n-Jill, Solo, Showcase).
“What is the blues dance? – It is the dance of your feelings and emotions! It is the best way to express your feelings through the music and with your body :)”
Grew up in Italy with a background in artistic gymnastics, modern dance and hiphop from the age of 6, Ilaria moved to London in 2012 and started soon after her blues dancing journey. Regularly mentored by the illustrious Adamo and Vicci, for the past years she has been an outstanding contributor to the life and energy of the London blues scene. Front and centre of the Swing Patrol’s very own blues troupe The Down & Outs, Ilaria loves to share her passion for blues and travel all across Europe to constantly learn, perform and compete.
Based in London, Ilaria and her partner Nick are the hot new blues couple capturing people’s attention locally and internationally – they began their teaching experience in 2014 in occasion of the 1st Blues dancing workshop in Milan and they now run and teach at Sin City Blues, the Tuesday blues night in central London!