Blake Thiessen & Grace Babbes

As a native Southern California college student, Blake discovered swing dancing with a whimsical New Year’s resolution to try learning the dancing he saw in Swing Kids (1993). Little did he know, SoCal was one of the world’s largest scenes, with a rich history and dozens of the world’s best dancers and instructors. Immediately hooked, he developed a relentless obsession for Lindy, Balboa, and Collegiate Shag. He’s since gone on to win in a variety of international competitions and has taught around the world in places like Europe, Korea, Japan, Australia, and the US.
In his free time, Blake loves to study vintage dance clips. He has a deep reverence for the original dancers and loves to teach classes that focus on particular styles and techniques they used. As an instructor he also focuses on imparting his values of partner connection, tasteful musicality, and developing beautiful basics. While he loves practice, competition, and performance, his favorite thing about dancing is just having a simple, deeply-connected social dance with a like-minded partner.

Growing up in a family of actors and musicians, surrounded by theatre and art, Grace has been performing since she was 4 years old.  Her lifelong love of jazz music and vintage fashion made it so when she discovered her first lindy hop class in 2012, she was hooked! She can be seen dancing and teaching Lindy Hop, Balboa, and Collegiate Shag on social dance floors across Southern California. She has won titles at competitions including ILHC, Camp Hollywood, Camp Jitterbug, and Hot Rhythm Holiday. Additionally, she is in high demand as a DJ, playing joyful, classic songs that inspire dancers of all levels to connect to each other and the music.
Grace brings her Southern California roots and her love of social dancing to her teaching style, encouraging body awareness, partner connection, and finding inspiration in the history of the dance. She obsesses over vintage dance clips, especially those from her home scene, and often focuses on Southern California style/technique in her classes.  Above all, her signature smile is the mark of the pure joy that infuses her every social dance, every class, and every performance.  It is her sincere hope to make that joy accessible to everyone learning to dance.

U.S.A. California