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Dance Festival to celebrate Lindy Hop & Jazz

Learn from fantastic instructors. Dance to incredible music.
Come dance with us.
Frankie Manning
Ambassador of Lindy Hop

About the Event

© Art by Ryan Calloway

Swingin’ at the Savoy is an event to celebrate Lindy Hop & Jazz, the joy of the dance and the music, their heritage and history. It takes place every year in February to follow on in the foot steps of the tradition established by the Northern California Lindy Society (NCLS) with the Frankie Manning weekends.

The event is open to dancers of all ages and promotes Lindy Hop & Jazz dance and music education, open-mindedness, playfulness, and creativity. Its goal is to help build and strengthen the Lindy Hop community.

At A Glance

Three Evening Dances

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Lake Merritt Dance with live music.

Two Late Night Dances

Friday and Saturday with DJ music until the wee hours.

2 Full Days of Classes

Saturday and Sunday workshop classes with our world renowned instructors.

Meet & Greet VIPs

Come and meet our VIPs. Listen to their stories and ask them your questions.

Schedule Highlights

Live Swing Music & Dancing

Friday / Saturday / Sunday
9:00 - 11:45pm
@ Lake Merritt Dance

Sean Krazit's Juniper Jazz Band
The Hot Baked Goods
Clint Baker's Golden Gate Swing Band

VIP Meet & Greet

8:00 - 9pm
@ Lake Merritt Dance

This event is free

Legends of African American vernacular dance:
Sugar Sullivan & Barbara Billups

Solo Jazz & VIP Classes

Saturday / Sunday
10:30am - 12noon
@ Lake Merritt Dance

For all levels and style of dancer wishing to explore solo movement and/or take classes from our VIPs.

Special Guests

Sugar Sullivan

Harvest Moon Ball winner 1955

Barbara Billups

Harvest Moon Ball 3rd place 1958

Learn from the elders

We are immensely lucky bring to you for the first time Sugar Sullivan & Barbara Billups, two living legends of the dance and both participants at New York’s famous Harvest Moon Ball competition.

Barbara Billups

Barbara Billups won 3rd place in the Lindy Hop in New York’s Harvest Moon Ball in 1958 in Madison Square Garden. Along with Sugar Sullivan she went on to tour the United States and Canada for over a decade as two of the four young ladies of “Sonny Allen and The Rockets”, a song and dance revue, grew out of the dancing at New York’s Savoy Ballroom.

Barbara Billups left the entertainment world for other ventures in the 70s. She rejoined with Sugar in 2006. From 2006 to 2019, Barbara and Sugar have taught every year at Herräng Dance Camp in Sweden and other various dance camps in the world.

In August of 2012, Sugar Sullivan and Barbara Billups were among the first group of Inductees in the International Lindy Hop Hall of Fame along with Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, and Sonny Allen.

Sugar Sullivan

Sugar Sullivan’s career spans over 70 years as a performer, choreographer, teacher and entertainer since the age of 9. A member of the Original Jazz Dancers, a distinguished group of Lindy Hoppers and Hoffers from Harlems heyday. First place winner in the Lindy Hop at New York’s Harvest Moon Ball Competition in Madison Square Garden 1955, Sugar is a huge inspiration to the dance world.

Remembering Norma Miller

Photo by Erika Gerdemark

Norma Miller

The one and only Queen of Swing

Dec 2, 1919 – May 5, 2019

Norma Miller is the reason why Swingin’ at the Savoy exists. The event is named after her memoir and in her honor. We have been fortunate to have had Norma as our guest from the very first Swingin’ at the Savoy in 2011 and every year after that until 2019. Swingin’ at the Savoy 2019 was the last dance event Norma attended.

As the last surviving member of the original Lindy Hoppers, Norma was a legend, a pillar of our community, and our last link to the roots of the dance. She was the Queen of Swing. She will be dearly missed but she will be there with us in spirit.

Come and join us to celebrate her life and love of the dance!

All the Music

Sean Krazit's
Juniper Jazz Band
Lake Merritt Dance - 9 to 11:45pm

Musician and Swing Dancer Sean Krazit leads the Juniper Jazz Band through traditional jazz and small-group swing of the 20s-40s. The group explores the music of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Jordan, and many others. Pulling from some of the Bay Area’s best musicians, the Juniper Jazz Band will get your feet moving for the whole night.
The Hot Baked Goods
Lake Merritt Dance - 9 to 11:45pm

The Hot Baked Goods was founded in October 2012 on a concrete staircase on the west side of Dolores Park by a small group of swing dancer friends. They worked up their chops playing for passing MUNI trains and rehearsing in the living room of Bay Area traditional jazz guru Clint Baker. Over time, the band moved their practice to a more central location in the park where friends came to dance, eat, and enjoy San Francisco culture. They played near the playground almost every Saturday for a year and a half. Children clapped, wiggled, and giggled, neighborhood parents asked them to play for their kid’s birthday parties; it was a joyous time.
Clint Baker's Golden Gate
Swing Band
Lake Merritt Dance - 9 to 11:45pm

Clint Baker’s Golden Gate Swing Band has it roots in the swing revival of the 1990s when the band was a regular fixture and venues such as the High Ball Lounge and the Club Deluxe. The musical concept for the Golden Gate Swing Band is to combine the best elements of traditional New Orleans jazz with Kansas City style swing, thus creating a both tight and loose ensemble sound all at once. The rhythm section is the centerpiece of the sound always solid and swinging.
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Meet Our Teachers

Irina Amzashvili

Anthony Chen

Gaby Cook

AJ Howard

Laurel Ryan

Kevin Weng

Sam Nguyen

Photo by Michael Tan

Calvin Lu

Irina Amzashvili

Dancing in all forms has been a lifelong passion for Irina (she/her). In 2009, at the age of 15, she stumbled upon Swing dancing and it took only one night of social dancing for her to fall head over heels in love with it. Though Lindy Hop was her gateway into the world of Swing, Irina's passion quickly expanded to include Balboa, Collegiate Shag, and solo jazz. She is proud to have spent her formative years of dancing in Southern California, home to some of the best Swing dancers, teachers, and music in the world.

Irina has since received numerous accolades from events such as Camp Hollywood, The International Lindy Hop Championships, and Lindy Focus and has taught these dances all across the U.S., Asia, Europe, and Australia. Additionally, she is honored to have been inducted into the Camp Hollywood Hall of Fame in 2019 and the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame in 2022.

Irina's teaching style can best be described as patient and encouraging. Her goal is to guide her students through building solid foundations while inspiring individuality in personal movement, as well as helping build confidence through dance.

Anthony Chen

Anthony's first ingress into the performing arts was at age 8 when his parents convinced him to learn and perform Chinese lion dances. Naturally, he then stumbled upon breakdancing during a national speech and debate tournament in middle school, and he had his first foray into swing dancing at age 16 alongside other young interns from a research laboratory. Since then, he has trained in other dance styles including West Coast Swing and various modern street dances, but most of all he enjoys using this background to expand upon his technique and creativity in Lindy Hop. On the social dance floor he is known to be playful, musical, creative, and clear.

He holds first place titles from events such as International Lindy Hop Championships, Montreal Swing Riot, Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown, Lindy Focus, and Lindyfest and Lone Star Championships. His love of both leading and following, combined with his professional background in education, make the classes that he teaches both clear and intuitive. He is an active scene builder in his community and founded Salt City Swing, a non-profit in Utah where he teaches locally.

Gaby Cook

Gaby is an esteemed, active professional in the global lindy hop community. For nearly 20 years, she has established her career performing and teaching for major swing dance festivals worldwide — including Camp Hollywood, Beantown, Swing Out New Hampshire, Herräng Dance Camp, Lindy on the Rocks, Paris Jazz Roots, Stompology and Lindy Focus. On stage, she is a principal dancer for the acclaimed "SW!NG OUT", which premiered at the Joyce theater (2021) and tours regularly. Other stage credits include: “Macy's Day Parade Live Broadcast” for Nickelodeon's Blues Clues (2022), "Swing's the Thing" with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra (2023), “Decades of Dance” at the BET Soultrain Awards (2021), “Don't Mean a Thing” with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center (2021) and many appearances in film and TV. She regularly advocates for lindy hop in industry dance communities and is consistently "on-call" with university dance programs (past: Julliard, Marymount, NYU, Columbia). 

In New York, Gaby curates and teaches several swing dance programs, including Midtown Swing with AJ Howard. In class, she is playful, informative and honest. She prioritizes equality for followers and leaders in the classroom space — and has championed a movement first approach to teaching partnered dance content. Online at @gaby_cook.

AJ Howard

AJ is a NYC based Lindy Hop instructor and performer with nearly a decade of experience. His upbeat and energetic teaching style creates a fun and supportive environment for students to learn and grow. In addition to teaching and social dancing, AJ loves to compete and has placed at local and international competitions. As a proud member of the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame, he is committed to sharing his joy of the dance with all, and helping dancers of all levels develop their skills on their own individual dance journeys.

Laurel Ryan

A family friend tells the story of 4-year-old Laurel draping herself over the back of a couch to croon along to “Java Jive” by the Ink Spots, not missing a word or affectation. Was it fate that she become obsessed with lindy hop and jazz dance more than two decades later? Laurel's main goal is to help dancers bring their full selves to the floor. She nerds out over educational theory and hunts for ways to encourage students to experiment, play, and collaborate. If her headphones are on she's probably listening to 70s and 80s disco and funk.

Kevin Weng

Kevin caught the lindy-bug sometime in September of 2010, and has since dived head-first into joy of swinging out (and other moves too). Once he started, he couldn't stop. It's becoming an addiction; he attends every workshop and big weekend event that he can and only find himself wanting more. It's just too fun. There is such merriment meeting people and making connections. It brings him joy sharing a beautiful song with anyone on the dance floor. And all the silliness lets him express himself so freely. He sometimes wonders why isn't everybody a Lindyhopper. So here he is, to spread the thing we call Lindy Hop.

Sam Nguyen

Sam will be teaching
the Newcomers Special track.

Sam (she/her) spent 18 years of her life believing she could never be coordinated enough to dance until she got hooked onto swing dancing at UC Berkeley. She quickly fell in love with the improvisation and partnership of the dance, and she danced probably waaaay more than she should have during her college years. Sam has since continued the entire gambit of dance, from teaching to organizing to traveling and competing. Currently, her big passion in dance is mentoring new dance teachers, creating curriculum for venues in the Bay Area, and learning more about the history, roots, and values of this Black art form.

Sam loves to incorporate silly playfulness, responsive partnership, and you-know-every-beat-in-this-song-don't-you musicality in her dancing. Coming from humble beginnings of gathering in random hallways and learning through YouTube videos, her dance teaching often emphasizes the tools needed for how to learn and how to take inspiration from an idea and make it your own. Sam’s endless lesson planning experience from being a high school teacher translates to even more endless lesson planning for dance; her lessons are crafted to emphasize partnership, connectedness, and having a blast while dancing. You can find her leading and following out on the social dance floor 'til the end of the night despite having to wake up at 7am to teach high schoolers.

Photo by Michael Tan

Calvin Lu

Calvin will be teaching
the Newcomers Special track.

Calvin, also sometimes known as "that guy who follows a lot," fell in love with Lindy Hop for its joyful expression, creative improvisation, and deep connection between partners. Since then, he has been actively involved in the community as an instructor, competitor, event organizer, and frequent up-past-3-am dancer. A lifelong student, Calvin always strives to make his classes fun and help students fall in love with learning and practice as part of the fun of being a dancer. In his teaching he also greatly values portraying dance roles as gender neutral, teaching to a wide variety of learning styles, and making good dancers who are also good community members.

In his home scene of San Francisco, Calvin helps organize The Switch Workshop, the Dancers Den, and the Bootleggers Ball. He also travels to various events and competes as a follower. At dances, he can frequently be seen drinking boba and trying to remember the names of the people he met that night.