West Coast Swing Dancers To Watch

In this article, we feature some of the top West Coast swing dancers in the world. Accordingly, these carefully selected video clips are from West Coast swing conventions and competitions.  In addition, most of these video clips are from the mid-twenty teens. Furthermore, we culled dozens of West Coast Swing videos to find these West Coast swing performers and competitors. Consequently, these dancers represent many different countries from around the world. For instance, there are dancers from Brazil, England, France, Canada, Australia, Russia and the United States (read about West Coast Swing here). 

Benji Schwimmer & Alyssa Glanville@Capital Swing 2017 Champions Strictly

Top West Coast Swing Dancers

Benji Schwimmer & Nicole Clonch

Benji Schwimmer is a 9-time US Open Swing dance champion, and winner of the season 2 of Fox channel show So you Think You Can Dance and the Feather Award. Additionally, his thoreography and artistic directing include American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, America’s Got Talent, MTV, HBO, and numerous other ventures. Also, his acting credits include Lifetime’s Holiday Spin, Leading Ladies, Love N’Dancing, and Full House. In this video, he competes and performs with his partner, Torri Smith. Benji is one of the all-time best of the West Coast swing dancers in several decades.

See Nicole Clonch’s Facebook here!

 @ The Open Swing Championships 2016
Benji Schwimmer on IMBd

Ben McHenry & Cameo Cross

Ben McHenry travels in the West Coast Swing circuit competing, performing and teaching worldwide with his partner, Cameo Cross. They are among the top dozen West Coast Swing competitors globally, and recently placed 3rd in the US Open Classic division.

Cameo Cross graduated from the University of Arizona with a BFA in Dance then joined the River North Dance Company in Chicago. Her parents are National Swing Champions and Cameo won the National  Junior Swing Championship in 1996. She has continued competing on the West Coast Swing circuit and is a recent US Open Swing Champion. She has trained in ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, tap, and swing dance. Currently, she is traveling in the swing circuit and competing with her partner, Ben McHenry. They are part of the more recent awesome partnerships among the national West Coast swing dancers.

@The Open Swing Championships 2016

Ben Morris & Victoria Henk

Ben Morris is both a Champion Lindy Hopper and a Champion West Coast Swing Dancer. He began swing dancing at the age of 12 and is now a 2 time World Swing Dance Champion, 3 time U.S. Open Swing Dance Champion, Spirit of Lindy Hop award winner, a California Swing Dance Hall of Fame award winner, and a featured dancer in the movie Love N’ Dancing and the LeAnn Rimes Music Video “Swingin.”

A graduate of UCLA, he currently lives in Orange County, California, running his weekly dance Swingin the Blues and regularly guest teaching at several local colleges during the week.  On the weekends, Ben travels all over the world both by himself and with his partner Jennifer Deluca, to teach, compete, judge, and perform. He is known for his fun dance style, infectious personality, and enjoyable workshops. Ben Morris is among those West Coast swing dancers that is also an incredible choreographer, promoter and teacher.

See Victoria Henk’s Facebook here!

 

@The Open Swing Championships 2016
Ben Morris Website

Clint Glasgow (Australia) & MacKenzie Goodmanson

Clint Glasgow is from the Gold Coast of Australia, where he is among the most successful Modern Jive Leaders and West Coast Swing competitors. He is the current Australian Open Champion in the Adv/Allstar J&J and Classic Divisions. He was a finalist with Mackenzie Goodmanson in the US Open and SwingDiego competitions 2012-2013, as well as 2013 Pro-Am division champion with Elysia Somerfield. Clint was the first Australian to finish in the top 20 male leaders in the National Association of Swing Dance Events (NASDE) rankings and achieved the highest placement (2nd place) for an Australian in the NASDE classic division.

In 2014, Clint placed in the top five in Allstar J&J at Seattle Easter Swing, Swing Diego Open Strictly & Adv/Allstar J&J, Classic at the SwingTime in the Rockies, Open Classic & Adv/Allstar J&J in the Australian Open and at the US Open Allstar J&J. In addition, he is the principal of Anarchy WCS on the Gold Coast. Also, he is the event director for the longest running WCS event in Australia, the Best of the Best WCS. Accordingly, he has won numerous awards in Modern Jive and traveled across the globe teaching, competing, judging, performing, and choreographing. It is great to see West Coast swing dancers from all the continents of the world like Australia!

Mackenzie Goodmanson started dancing at a young age, growing up in the world of gymnastics. Her parents were both gymnastics coaches. Mackenzie was drawn by rhythmic gymnastics, which includes dance training. In college, she studied many forms of dance including ballet, jazz, modern, contemporary, and eventually West Coast Swing; training with Arjay Centeno. In recent years, she has partnered with Clint Glasgow and competed in various West Coast swing competitions worldwide.  She also started a Teen Swing for juniors in West Coast Swing training class to encourage young people to get involved in West Coast Swing. She hope to establish a junior performance team to compete at various West Coast Swing events and one day the US Open.

@The Open Swing Championships 2016
Clint Glasgow website & Mackenzie Goodmanson website

Diego Borges & Jessica Pacheco (Brazil)

 Diego Borges lives in Fortaleza, Brazil. He graduated from the Federal University of Ceara, earning a degree in Physical Education, and received a Masters in Teaching Dance from Faculdade Nordeste. Also, Diego was the first Brazilian to win an official WCS competition (at Swing Diego). In addition, he is the only Brazilian WCS lead to compete at the Champion level. Along with his dance partner, Jessica Pacheco, he promotes the Brazilian Open Swing competition. Consequently, he travels globally, teaching, performing and competing in West Coast Swing.

Jessica Pacheco lives in Fortaleza, Brazil, and has studied Accounting at the Federal University of Ceara. She is one of the best known West Coast Swing dancers from Brazil that competes globally. Additionally, she has placed or won in numerous WCS competitions around the world. Currently, she is an Allstar West Coast Swing competitor, and won the US Open Allstar J&J in 2013 with her partner Diego Borges. Accordingly, they travel worldwide, teaching, performing and competing in West Coast Swing, Zouk, and other Brazilian dance genres. Diego and Jessica inspire West Coast swing dancers everywhere with they passion for the dance.

@The Open Swing Championships 2016
Diego Borges & Jessica Pacheco website 

Gary McIntyre & Susan Kirklin

Gary McIntyre is a UCWDC World Champion, and toured with the original Broadway show, Swing, as dance captain. He was a choreographer for the film Brokeback Mountain, a dance double to the lead actor in Love ‘n Dancing, and also appeared as a dancer in the movie Shall We Dance.

Susan Kirklin is a U.S. Open Swing and Cabaret Champion, and has won many awards in Country Western, Ballroom dance, and West Coast Swing. Thereby, she is respected and admired world wide by West Coast swing dancers.

Together they compete, perform, and teach in three different dance arenas: Country Western, Ballroom, and West Coast Swing. Also, they have been finalists in World Professional Smooth dance, UCWDC Classic Masters World Champions, and West Coast Swing Classic and Show division champions. Additionally, they travel in the West Coast Swing circuit and have won too many awards to list them all here. But here are a few, in 2013, America’s Classic Champions, US Open Swing Dance Cabaret Champions, US Open Swing Dance Team Division Champions and many more awards going back to 2008 and beyond. Consequently, Gary & Susan are among the best of West Coast swing dancers, choreographers and performers in the world!

@US Open 2016 Classic 2nd Place

Gary McIntyre & Susan Kirklin website

 Jordan Frisbee & Tatiana Mollmann

Jordan Frisbee & Tatiana Mollmann have been a successful partnership for nine years. They are 11-Time US Open Champions, 6-time NASDE Champions, and Multi-Grand National Champions, as well as dominating the Classic Division throughout the past 6 years. At the UCWDC World’s event they were given the Star Award for the Couple with the Most Impact on Swing, and Jordan won Best Swing Choreographer. They have won Swing Couple of the Year for 5 years straight.

Also, Jordan & Tatiana won Fox TV’s, 30 Seconds to Fame, appeared twice on CBS TV’s Star Search, danced in the motion picture The Polar Express, won America’s Best Dance Couple on ABC TV’s Good Morning America. Additionally, they had speaking roles and danced in the movie Love N’ Dancing.

Accordingly, they travel 47 weekends per year, competing and teaching packed workshops all across the United States and Internationally. Moreover, they are Certified Teachers in the Golden State Dance Teacher’s Association.

Finally, a special note about the recent retirement of this long time, incredible dance partnership. Jordan & Tatiana will long be remembered as the ultimate champions among the West Coast swing dancers internationally.

@The Open Swing Championships 2015 (Final US Open Together)
Jordan Frisbee & Tatiana Mollman website

Kris Swearingen & Rebecca Ludwick

Kris Swearingen’s passion for performing started at a young age. At 14, he began acting at the Kansas City Renaissance festival. Meanwhile, he continued acting through high school and as a senior he had a role in a West Side Story production. During this period he was introduced to West Coast Swing dancing. Additionally, Kris also earned a degree from Emporia State University for teaching High School and Middle School English. Kris uses his expertise in the world of education and his extensive training from the world’s greatest West Coast Swing dancers in his teaching. He attended his first West Coast event in March  of 2007. Consequently, he has taught, competed and performed in competitions nationally. Some awards include: NASDE JnJ Tour Champion 2013, SwingDiego Open Strictly and Adv/Allstar JnJ Champion, Grand Nationals Adv/Allstar JnJ Champion, and Swingtime in the Rockies Allstar JnJ Champion.

Rebecca Ludwick started dancing at the age of two, training formally in ballet, jazz, and modern dance. In addition, she has taught and performed professionally for the last ten years with the Washington National Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera and most recently with the Kanye West tour. Eventually, she was introduced to the West Coast Swing and now performs, teaches, and competes across the United States in the Champion/All Star division and in Classic with her partner, Kris Swearingen. Accoringly, they have won numerous awards including the Golden Ticket Tour Finals Champion, and Swingdiego Adv/Allstar JnJ Champion.

@MADjam 2016 Classic
Kris Swearingen & Rebecca Ludwick 

Kyle Redd & Sarah Vann Drake

Kyle Redd and Sarah Vann Drake are 5 time NASDE Champions, hold 11 US Open Titles and are 8 time Grand National Champions. As a partnership, they have been teaching, competing, performing, judging, and choreographing all over the world for 12 years. In addition, they are the only couple to hold a US Open Swing Dance Championship title in both the “Showcase” and “Classic” divisions. Kyle Redd and Sarah Vann Drake have dedicated their lives to promoting the art of West Coast Swing. Also, their energetic and enthusiastic teaching style has been entertaining audiences since 1997. Lastly, Kyle and Sarah have brought a unique and light-hearted style to this ever-changing dance.

@SwingCouver 2015 Pro Freestyle Show
Kyle Redd & Sarah Vann Drake website

Lee Easton & Fabienne Henshall (England)

Lee Easton & Fabienne Henshall live and work together in Enfield, N. London. They have been dancing together for 6 years. Additionally, both Lee and Fab started dancing at a young age and have a wide background in many different styles of dance. Thereby, they feel that West Coast Swing is the best fit for all of their dance knowledge and skills. Also, Lee and Fabienne have won 15 World Championship titles and more recently were finalists at the US Open Swing Dance Championships in 2010 through 2014. Furthermore, they teach, perform, judge, choreograph, coach, emcee, deejay, and have been instrumental in developing West Coast Swing worldwide.

@US Open Swing Championships 2016
Lee Easton & Fabienne Henshall website (England)

Maxence Martin & Virginie Grondin (France)

Maxence Martin Perso lives in Paris, France. He studied  banking at the Groupe Sup de Co Montpellier Business School.  However, he spends much of his time traveling the world competing in the West Coast Swing circuit as an Allstar/Champion. Accordingly, he has won many awards at various competitions worldwide.

Virginie Grondin lives in Lyon, France. She studied at Saint Exupery, Universite Lyon. Meanwhile, she travels globally competing and performing in the West Coast Swing circuit in the Allstar Champion division.

@US Open Swing Championships 2015
Maxence Martin Facebook & Virginie Grondin Facebook (France)

Myles Munroe & Tessa Cunningham Munroe (Canada)

Myles Munroe and Tessa Cunningham Munroe are Canada’s West Coast Swing Champions. Additionally, they are the highest ranked international dancers on the NASDE circuit. Accordingly, they place 1st or 2nd in the Showcase division and placed 2nd at the US Open from 2011-2013. Myles 26 years of diverse dance training includes 6 UCWDC World Championship titles. Meanwhile, Tessa brings a professional coaching career to the partnership, with university degrees in both Kinesiology and Education.  In addition, as performers, they are known for their cutting-edge, artistic choreography, innovative and high-risk acrobatics, and enviable musical expression. Also, they are ambassadors for modern, authentic West Coast Swing. They spend their time teaching, judging, performing and competing 40+ weekends a year, all over the world.

@US Open Swing Championships 2015
Myles Munroe & Tessa Cunningham Munroe (Canada)

 Additional West Coast swing performances

John Kirkconnell & Alyssa Glanville @Classic The Open 2015

Christopher Dumond & Tara Trafzer Classic The Open 2015

Other Notable West Coast swing dancers

Jennifer DeLuca began dancing at the age of 5, studying under the Royal Academy of Ballet until the age of 13. After a complicated foot operation that forced her to give up Ballet, she followed a new path to ballroom dancing. Soon after transitioning to partner dancing, she was introduced to West Coast Swing and never looked back. She has gone on to share her love of swing dance with fans across the globe, inspiring dancers around the world with her funky yet graceful style. Jennifer is now a Champion West Coast Swing Dancer, having won several Classic division titles and having taken 2nd place in the 2007 NASDE Tour. She travels globally, teaching, judging, competing and performing alongside her partner, Ben Morris, as well as conducting her own line of ladies’ styling and movement intensives.  Although abroad most weekends for work, Jennifer enjoys her weekdays at home in Orlando, FL with her husband, taking a special interest in end of life care and currently volunteering for a local Hospice Care Organization when the time allows.

Kellese Key is an energy consultant for National 1 Energy and President of Swank: The Ultimate Partner Dance Workout program. Meanwhile, she lives in Frisco, Texas and competes, performs and teaches West Coast Swing. In addition, Kellese travels globally, spreading her passion for West Coast Swing. Accordingly, she has partnered with many amazing leads like Benji Schwimmer.

Torri Smith has been dancing since she was 3 years old with concentrations in ballet, jazz and tap. She was introduced to West Coast swing as a child and began competing at the age of  seven. Additionally, her early awards include Young American Division and Young Adult divisions. Also, she competed in International Latin, winning the Junior II division in 2005. Meanwhile, Torri partnered with Brennar Goree to win titles in the US Open Young Adult division and won the National Shag Dance Championships’ as Best Overall Juniors. Consequently, she has won 1st place in the US Open Swing Championships showcase division with her partner Benji Schwimmer numerous times. In addition, she won in the 2010 Classic division with Brennar Goree.

What factors influenced this list of West Coast Swing Dancers?

West Coast Swing dancers Benji Schwimmer & Nicole Clonch

Generally, the West Coast Swing dancers here competed or performed at well-known West Coast Swing festivals across the globe. Hence, we had to be able to find a dance video on YouTube and some information online to be included on this list. Additionally, we probably left out some that could have included. Perhaps, we included some that others might question. Nonetheless, this is just a sample of amazing West Coast Swing dancers who compete and perform around the world.

(Jordan Frisbee & Tatiana Mollmann, US Open 2016)

DanceTime’s Article “A Quick Guide to WCS Technique” features some great West Coast swing videos. For instance, clips on rolling count, contra body movement, one-track walking and action-reaction. Also, included is a video on recognizing downbeats & upbeats!

Read more West Coast swing articles here!

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2017-08-19T03:05:18+00:00By |Categories: Dance|Tags: , |

About the Author:

Currently, Pattie produces article and video blogs for her world dance website, DanceTime.com and blogs for her new writing resource website at PattieWells.com. She is also working on completing a linked stories novel and translating a book of Italian poetry by Eugenio Montale. Pattie writes web content for a limited number of clients and still teaches a few private dance lessons exclusively in San Diego, California where she currently resides.

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