Meet our team
Meet our team of passionate teachers, who teach our courses, drop-in classes, events and taster classes. This diverse group of people has one thing in common… their passion for Lindy Hop!
Read more about…
Martyn Nelson – Founder
“If everyone danced the world would be a better place, everybody should experience the gift of dance at least once in their lives.”
Martyn Nelson is a multi-talented dancer, musician, deejay and event organiser from Birmingham, who started the Swing Era in 2014 to share his passion for lindy hop dancing with people across his hometown Birmingham. Martyn’s love for music has been evident from an early age. After playing lots of different instruments in his childhood and early teens, Martyn decided to study Performing Arts and Music. He professionally taught guitar for over six years, before securing a big record deal with his band King Adora. Two successful albums and numerous international gigs later, Martyn decided to take time away from making music. Then Martyn discovered Lindy Hop! Hearing the vintage swing music and being able to dance to it ignited Martyn’s passion for everything that breathes the authentic ‘swing era’. Martyn quickly grew as a dancer, teacher and performer. He has taught and performed at Glastonbury Festival, Twinwood, and events in Belfast, Glasgow, Sheffield, Exeter and more. Martyn always likes to take every opportunity to learn from the top-notch dancers in the international swing dance scene, and has had numerous private lessons with dancers such as Markus Rosendal, Pontus Persson, Issabella Gregorio, Angela Andrews, Pamela Gaizutyte, Bobby White, Kate Hedin, Ben Cook and Moe Sakan.
Over the years Martyn developed his teaching skills to a high level, and he trained with many talented teachers like Ali Taghavi and Katja Uckermann (Teaching Swing Summit – Swing Step) and Trisha Sewell (Savoy Hop). Martyn has been teaching Lindy Hop and jazz at big festivals like Glastonbury (2015) and Twinwood (2016), and across different UK dance scenes like Exeter, Glasgow and Belfast. As DJ ColoNel Swing his taste for fine authentic tunes brought him to deejay at Herrang Dance Camp (Sweden), Cork Jazz festival (Ireland), The Mooche (Ireland), London Swing Festival, Bristol Swing Festival and Manchester Lindy. Martyn has recently started the new swing band Martyn Nelson and the Rhythm remedies. Martyn is passionate about bringing more live music to the swing dance community by bringing together the best jazz musicians from Birmingham to play specifically for swing dancers.
Suzanne studied classical ballet, tap and jazz dance from a young age and trained in contemporary dance with the Birmingham Youth Dance Company before gaining a first class degree BA (Hons) Dance and Professional Practice. As a performer Suzanne is known for her musicality and attention to detail. She has toured nationally and internationally dancing for the likes of Richard Alston Dance Co. Sonia Sabri Co. and Kiln Theatre, alongside choreographing and performing her own work. Suzanne is a perceptive and passionate teacher with over 15 years experience teaching throughout the UK and internationally. She is currently based at Birmingham’s Dance Workshop teaching contemporary, ballet, tap, street dance and now lindy hop. As a freelance dance artist she teaches extensively in schools, colleges, universities and for companies like DanceXchange, Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Deaf blind charity, Sense. Suzanne started Lindy hopping with The Swing Era in 2013 and has taught across all levels in The Swing Era. She is the teacher and choreographer for the all-female dance group The Suzy Qs. Suzanne has since trained with some of the best UK and international teachers.
Meet Kim! An ever-friendly, vintage loving gracious dancer and teacher. Kim grew up around live music and bands and has been dancing lindy hop for over 6 years. Kim has also performed with The Swing Era’s performance group at Birmingham Swing Festival 2016. She is part of The Swing Era’s all-female performance group The Suzy Qs. Kim is passionate about heritage and culture and lives and breaths the vintage lifestyle.
Martin Safar is a talented dancer who travels internationally to learn and compete Lindy hop. The first time Martin has seen people dancing Lindy Hop was in 2013 in Turku, Finland, where he just started his student exchange. At the time, he knew only basics of ballroom dancing but he always knew dancing was something I would enjoy. After seeing people having so much fun, Martin immediately knew he found the dance he want to learn. It just looked so cool! Since then Martin has danced in a lot of different places, from Vienna to Ljubljana, Herräng and Zagreb.
Martin has competed in Brno, CEUSDC Hungary ( 3rd and 2nd place in Jack n’ Jill in 2 consecutive years), Streetcar named Lindy Zagreb (3rd place in Jack n’ Jill), Budapest (1st place in team solo jazz competition at One Minute Challenge 2015), Dragon Swing Poland (3rd place in open Jack n’ Jill) and Prague Spring Swing Festival ( Jack ‘n Jill finalist).
Jack is another one of The Swing Era’s amazing teachers. Jack is a Rockabily drummer for the band The Deadshots and he brings his sense of rhythm and musicality to his lindy hop dancing. Jack competed in the Jack ‘n Jill competition at BSF 2017 and was a Jack ‘n Jill finalist at Stomp Stomp 2016 and York Swing Dance Festival 2018. Jack has performed with The Swing Era’s performance group at Birmingham Swing Festival 2016. Full of energy and always up for a laugh so make sure not to miss this dancer!
Jorine is our Dutch teacher, who completely fell in love with Birmingham & Lindy Hop since she moved here in 2014. She is an artist with a passion for social justice and is involved with theatre, visual arts and dance. Jorine was a finalist during Stomp Stomp 2016 Jack ‘n Jill competition and she competed at BSF 2017. Jorine has performed with The Swing Era’s performance group at the International Dance Festival Birmingham 2016 and Birmingham Swing Festival 2016. She is part of The Swing Era’s all-female performance group The Suzy Qs. Make sure you have a chat with this social dancer!
Celestina (‘Cele’) is a musical butterfly: she plays various instruments, sings and is a great dancer too. Cele has performed with The Swing Era’s performance group at the International Dance Festival Birmingham 2016, Birmingham Swing Festival 2016 and The Swing Era at Symphony Hall 2017. She is part of The Swing Era’s all-female performance group The Suzy Qs. Being a teacher in her everyday life, Cele is very skilled in all-round teaching and loves to share her passion for Lindy Hop with you!
Tian is a very positive teacher and dancer, who has a passion for creating things (building, upcycling, furniture making) and loves sharing his skills in lindy hop and yoga with people. Tian has performed with The Swing Era’s performance group at the International Dance Festival Birmingham 2016 and Birmingham Swing Festival 2016. Make sure you have a dance with this always-smiling lindy hopper!
Emilie (Millie) is a vintage-loving, stylish lady with a big passion for dancing. As a passionate University lecturer Millie can motivate everyone to give Lindy Hop a go… Millie has performed with The Swing Era’s performance group at the International Dance Festival Birmingham 2016 and Birmingham Swing Festival 2016. She is part of The Swing Era’s all-female performance group The Suzy Qs. It is said that Millie is so good at teaching that even her pet beagle Peggy can bust some moves now!
David John Pirie
When you dance with David, you know you’ve found someone who can completely immerse himself in the song. David has performed with The Swing Era’s performance group at the International Dance Festival Birmingham 2016 and Birmingham Swing Festival 2016. This friendly and patient teacher will support you every step of the way!
Tanya Louise Rose
Tanya loves some style… both in her vintage look and her fun dancing! When you meet Tanya you’ll not be surprised that this creative bee used to run her own Rock ‘n Roll wedding cakes company…
Music and dance are in Carissa’s blood. Her parents and grandparents all met while dancing (apparently her grandpa tore up the swing dance floor in the 1940s!), and Carissa was bounced around the dance floor in baby slings before she could even walk, and has played the cello since the age of 4. Carissa started swing dancing in 2008 when she moved to the UK for her PhD studies. She gives dancing some of the credit for getting her through the difficult times in her studies — after just 1 dance, the world seemed like a brighter and friendlier place. Carissa has danced all over the US, UK, and Europe, and loves discovering over and over again that music and dance are universal languages! Carissa also enjoys dancing both the lead and follow roles, so that she can dance with every person on the dance floor!