Margaret Batiuchok's hard work, critical eye, creative drive, and love for dancing has inspired many. Beginning modern dance at age twenty, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from California Institute of the Arts in 1978. She began dancing Swing in her early 30's while a pre-med student at New York University. She met George Lloyd, an African-American "Savoy Ballroom 400 Club" dancer (twice her age) and just six months later they won the 1983 Harvest Moon Ball at Madison Square Garden. Margaret then began teaching, performing, promoting, producing, and writing about Lindy for the Swing Community.
In 1988 Margaret received her Master's Degree from NYU. Her groundbreaking 104-page thesis, "The Lindy," and DVD's produced with her partners Frankie Manning, George Lloyd, Charlie Meade and her partner/student Tom Lewis, remain important historic contributions documenting Swing Dance. Margaret has also written many articles (award winning) for Dancing USA, The Ballroom Review, Jitterbug Magazine, and Dance Action.
She co-founded the New York Swing Dance Society, NYSDS, in 1985, when there was no organized Swing dancing in New York. The NYSDS became a mecca for all generations, races, and level of dancers, with the weekly dances consistently drawing 300-500 dancers. Margaret, a volunteer board member who has hired the bands for over 20 years, has also been president since 1996.
Margaret launched the Lincoln Center Midsummer Night Swing series with Frankie Manning, where she recommends bands, teaches, and performs each summer. On closing night 2005,
she helped conceive, produce, and danced in a tribute to Illinois Jacquet. Margaret has produced many large tribute events honoring great dancers, musicians, and in 2006, the Savoy Ballroom. She currently performs with Savoy legend, Harvest Moon champion Sonny Allen.
When West Coast Swing was almost unknown in the East, Margaret traveled to national events as New York's sole ambassador and brought the dance back home. She began teaching and held the first West Coast Swing Dance in New York, bringing West Coast Swing instructors to the NYSDS weekends. In 1986 and '87 Margaret went to Myrtle Beach's SOS to bring Carolina Shag to NYC. Now, venues for dancing Lindy, West Coast, and Shag are available in NYC every night of the week.
Teaching for over twenty years, Margaret ran weeklong Swing programs at Omega Institute, and has taught Jazz, Ballroom, and Swing at NYU. Currently teaching yoga-stretch and dance at Rockefeller University, teaching seniors elsewhere, dancing with children, and developing related arts workshops (poetry and art), she continues to run the annual Mohonk Swing Weekend, which she founded. She has judged and taught at a variety of events including the U.S. Open, NADC, Seattle Swing, Can't Top the Lindy Hop, and Lindy Hop Showdown. She has shared her love of dance with many students (including John Festa), who have made their own major contributions to the Swing World.
Currently working on a new film documentary on Swing, Margaret Batiuchok continues to surprise, delight, and inspire through her commitment to the art of dancing.
Sharlot Bott has been a champion dancer for over twenty years and continues today as one of the longest-running champion competitors on the circuit. She continues to achieve top awards and is the female other female dancers aspire to be. With her husband and dance partner, Wayne Bott, Sharlot maintains a full time dance business, (www.wayneandsharlot.com). They travel throughout the U. S., teaching, competing, judging, and choreographing dance.
Inspired by the movie "Saturday Night Fever", Sharlot studied and competed in the Hustle circuit in the late seventies. She began dancing Swing in 1982, when introduced to West Coast Swing by a co-worker. While maintaining a full-time career with Southern California Edison, Sharlot began training at Sundance Studios in Downey, California. She possessed a natural talent for body movement and musical interpretation, as well as an athletic ability. To refine her natural talent, she trained with top coaches, teachers, and mentors in dance and aerials, while studying Jazz and Ballet.
Sharlot thanks and recognizes her social dance partner Randy Albers (1984 to 1992), who gave her inspiration and allowed her to release her creativity to its maximum potential. Almost every summer night you would find them dancing along side, Jack and Annie, Hal and Marge, and Tony and Natalie at Disneyland's Carnation Pavilion, where they all inspired the public with their interpretive live performances to Big Band music.
She won the U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships Showcase division with Jim Fisk in 1985; and she competed and performed with Lance Shermoen from 1986 to 1991, winning the U.S. Open Swing Dance Championship in Showcase Division in 1986 and 1990. (They were in the "top-four" finalists in the Showcase Division from 1986 thru 1991.) Their exciting athletic routines with aerials and fast dancing at Swing events, county clubs, corporate parties, studios, retirement communities, charity events, the "Feather Awards", in parades and on cruise ships helped to promote the art of Swing Dancing.
Sharlot studied the elements of teaching with Skippy Blair and received her certification through the Golden State Dance Teachers Association, GSDTA in 1992. That same year, she and Wayne Bott began their dance career as partners. Competing with Wayne and individually, Sharlot won numerous National Dance Championships in Classic, Strictly Swing, and Champion Jack and Jill categories from the early 90's thru today. In 1993, as one of the first to travel to New York, they took West Coast Swing to the East Coast Swing community. Also, adding Atlanta to their travels, they continued to contribute to the merging of East Coast Swing, Shag, and West Coast Swing styles.
During this decade, Wayne and Sharlot have trained, mentored, coached, and influenced the stars of today. Many of them continue to perform and teach Wayne and Sharlot's creative patterns and unique Swing "Stylings". In 2000, Wayne and Sharlot became investors in the U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships. Sharlot has served on the Board of Directors since that time, helping to run this prestigious event and serving to uphold its proud integrity and tradition during a challenging five-year transition period.
Michelle (Mayers) Kinkaid began her dance career in 1975, teaching classes in East Coast Swing and Jitterbug, which lead to her first series of undefeated championship titles (1977-1980) in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her first exposure to West Coast Swing was in 1979 at the "Avenue Ballroom" in San Francisco. This dance style quickly captured her attention and her heart and lead her to many other local West Coast Swing dance venues, including the "Jolly Friar's" (California Swing Dance Club); "Bay Swinger's" Swing Dance Club; and the "Top of Beardsley's", where she later met and competed with co-owner, Phil Trau. Together, they won three U.S. Open Championships (as well as many other competitions.)
When Michelle's dance teaching and choreography work began in 1975 she was coaching a performing dance group at San Francisco City College. In addition to Ballroom, Folk, and Swing dancing, this group's primary focus was Clogging. Michelle later added Hustle, Night Club Two Step, Ballroom, and Latin dance forms to her teaching expertise, teaching weekly Swing and Latin classes at the South San Francisco Park and Recreation Department, as well as guest teaching at various San Francisco city schools.
In 1983 Michelle began studying International Ballroom and Latin dancing with champion Rex Lewis from the "Imperial Dance Club". She later did Pro/Am competitions with her students, as well as Pro/Pro routines with Rex. In the mid 1980's Michelle became involved with County Western dancing and began attending and working at those events as well. In 1991 she pioneered the first "Swing Joins Country" event in the Bay area, which bridged West Coast Swing and Country Western dancing.
Included in her extensive list of accomplishments are Michelle's three-time undefeated U.S. Open Swing Dance Championship record and four-time undefeated Jitterbug Championship record. Michelle has also successfully competed in Ballroom and Latin dancing and in Country Western Jack & Jills, winning the Fresno Country Classic for two consecutive years (1993 & 1994). Michelle has also performed in film, television, and theater and is credited with numerous awards and championships (see below).
Michelle continues to personally oversee and run all aspects of her varied dance offerings: her monthly Swing dance events, workshops, group classes, "Mountain Magic" Dance Convention, "Sea Magic" Dance Cruise, and the "Train Magic" Fun Train Adventure Event. She often works as the D.J. and continues to teach private lessons. Michelle travels all over the United States, Canada, and Europe to teach, judge and promote dance.