The Track with Ryan Swift

The Track with Ryan Swift

United States

Each month on The Track, join host Ryan Swift as he sits down for an in-depth & candid conversation with swing dancers, musicians, DJs, competitors, and instructors from the world of Lindy Hop.


The Track - E010 - Rob Moreland  

This month, I am joined by the Head DJ of Lindy Focus, Rob Moreland.  Now based in St. Louis, ‘Raleigh’ Rob has been DJing for swing dancers since 2003, when he started a four-year stretch of DJing every week at a local dance in Raleigh, NC.  Rob has since DJed countless international dance events, including the Basie Centennial Ball, Frankie100, and Lindy Showdown, and has been the featured DJ at Stompology, Swing Out New Hampshire, and the Nevermore Jazz Ball.

In our conversation, we talk about how he found swing dancing after playing second fiddle in a cajun band, compare some of our worst DJ mistake horror stories, and explore the differences between DJing at large national events and local regular gigs.  We also commiserate on our mutual weakness for remembering song titles, compare notes on preparing for gigs & contest music, and Rob shares some advice he'd give to new and aspiring DJs.

The Track - E009 - Caitlin Wellman  

This month, I am joined by an amazing dancer, singer, and instructor from Toronto, Caitlin Wellman.  A native of Ithaca, NY, Caitlin made a splash with the rest of Minnie’s Moochers in 1998. Starting as a teen, Caitlin was a traveling instructor for the better part of a decade, partnering with Dan Amores & Peter Strom, before she stepped away from the scene in 2006.  She has since returned, teaching on her own in Toronto and at dance events in Canada & the USA.

In our conversation, we talk about regional dance “accents,” why her height had her turn to Leon James for inspiration, and the struggle with the chronic illness that led her to step away from dancing at the top of her game. We also discuss what it’s like managing that illness, gender roles in partner dance, and challenging the glass ceiling as a female headlining instructor.

The Track - E008 - Jonathan Stout  

This month I am joined by one of the top bandleaders for swing dancers today, Jonathan Stout.  Jonathan began dancing as a teenager in 1995, and started his first band, the Campus Five, in 2002.  Since that inception, his bands have played regularly throughout his native Los Angeles, and he has grown into a giant of the swing world. He has released 3 albums with the Campus Five, and led bands at the National Jitterbug Championships at Camp Hollywood, the Frankie 95 festival, the International Lindy Hop Championships and repeat engagements at Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing.   In our conversation, we dissect what makes a good song for swing dancing, discuss whether DJs are a valuable asset to swing dancers, and his relentless pursuit of ‘the real deal’ - an obsession with the authentic and how that translates to his role as a swing dancer and bandleader.   We also talk about starting on guitar as a bedroom metalhead, discuss the differences between the Mount Rushmore of band leaders he paid tribute to at the last Lindy Focus: Basie, Shaw, Goodman & Ellington, and uncover what it took for him to get past the cliche and rediscover the joy in Benny Goodman’s "Sing, Sing, Sing."

The Track - E007 - Ramona Staffeld  

This month I am joined for a very important conversation with instructor & back-to-back ILHC Pro Classic champion, Ramona Staffeld.  Believe it or not, Ramona has already been teaching for half of her young life, starting at age 14 and spanning two decades.  In that time she’s taught alongside legends Frankie Manning and Chazz Young and has brought crowds to their feet at international events while performing with Minnie’s Moochers, the Silver Shadows, and  recent partners Todd Yannacone and Remy Kouakou Kouame.

In our conversation, we talk about her experience starting at such a young age, how music and rhythm are her most important influences, the joy she brings to and receives from dance, and what it’s like putting together routines with different partners.

About an hour-fifteen into our conversation, we get into a heavy topic that may be difficult to listen to.  Ramona shares her experience of surviving sexual abuse as a young person and how she is coming to terms with that abuse today.  This is an incredibly important discussion and I am grateful Ramona has come forward with her story.

The Track - E006 - Dawn Hampton  

I have the honor and privilege to be joined this month by the one-and-only Dawn Hampton. It is no exaggeration to recognize Dawn as a national treasure - her amazing life began traveling from town to town in the American South with a carnival, singing and playing saxophone with the Hampton Family Band, followed by stints at Carnegie Hall, the Apollo Theater, and the Savoy Ballroom in New York City. Dawn became a legend of the Greenwich Village cabaret in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, coaching the...

The Track - E005 - Naomi Uyama  

I am joined on this episode by Naomi Uyama, who is not only an accomplished international Lindy Hop instructor and competitor, but also a singer and bandleader. Since discovering Lindy Hop in the late 90s at age 16, Naomi has won titles at such prestigious competitions as the American Lindy Hop Championships, the Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown, International Lindy Hop Championships, and the U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships. She has performed with her band, Naomi & Her Handsome Devils, at...

The Track - E004 - Shana Worel  

This month I sit down with Shana Worel, who I met first years ago as a Lindy Hopper, but who has now crossed over to what I lovingly called the 'dark side' of swing dance - Balboa. Shana ran a very successful swing school in Boulder, Colorado for 15 years before relocating, and has traveled extensively since 1999 as a very well-respected swing dance competitor, instructor, and DJ. In our conversation, we touch upon today's Balboa scene, dig into what makes a "Bal song," and get to the root...

The Track - E003 - Skye Humphries  

This month, I sit down with one of the most influential Lindy Hoppers of his generation, Skye Humphries. Dancing by age 12 (thanks to his mom) and a member of both Minnie s Moochers and the Silver Shadows, he is a winner of virtually every lindy hop competition on the planet - ALHC, ILHC, WLHC, ULHS, and more. He has traveled the world over for dance and teaches Lindy Hop over 40 weekends a year. Skye & I sat down in New York City, while he was home on a rare break between teaching...

The Track - E002 - Nina Gilkenson  

In our second episode, I sit down with the hilarious and insightful Nina Gilkenson. Nina established herself as a well-known international instructor by the amazingly young age of 16. She is a co-founder of the International Lindy Hop Championships, now in it s 8th year and one of the pre-eminant swing dance events in the world. She is also co-owner of Baltimore s Mobtown Ballroom. Nina and I talk about her experiences dancing and teaching at a very young age, our shared sense of...

The Track - E001 - Peter Strom  

In this inaugural episode of The Track, I sit down with international instructor, performer, emcee and soul man Peter Strom. He s taught all over the world since winning the classic division at the American Lindy Hop Championships back in 2000 and has performed with Lindy Movement, Silver Shadows and Mad Dog at events such as Frankie 95 and the Savoy Ballroom 80th anniversary. Peter runs Uptown Swing in his hometown of Minneapolis, MN, which is hosting its first weekend workshop in August,...

The Track - Podcast Preview  

Each month on The Track, join host Ryan Swift as he sits down for an in-depth & candid conversation with swing dancers, musicians, DJs, competitors, and instructors from the world of Lindy Hop. Catch a sneak preview of this brand-new podcast ahead of the premiere next week! Social media links for The Track Podcast: -Facebook: [][1] -Twitter: [][2] -Tumblr: [][3] [1]:...

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