Katja Završnik (Slovenia)
Katja Završnik started dancing at the age of 5 and through the years studied various forms of dance such as Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Ballroom, Gymnastics and Acrobatic Rock and Roll for 9 years.
Since 2005 she has focused on early American dances from the Jazz age and Swing era, such as the Lindy Hop, Swing, Balboa, Charleston, St. Louis Shag and Authentic jazz. Her knowledge of (almost) all swing dances allows Katja to adapt her dance to any type of dancer. Which places her on the market among one of the best followers understanding connection and reactivity.
She is an elegant dancer. At first, you’ll be seduced by her style based by subtlety and finesse. But if you look a little closer you’ll be surprised by her musicality and footwork. Her focus on musicality and connection makes her one of the most sought after followers in the scene.
Her shyness – as probably her Slovenian origin as well – gives at first a “cold” feeling. But don’t make any mistake : she loves to laugh, to party and simply have fun. During a dance, she is one of the few followers to never refuse a dance and also often the last to leave the dance floor.
Currently living in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Katja travels doing special weekend workshops and festivals. In the past 9 years she has taught and performed all over Europe, Asia and USA.
Rikard Ekstrand (Sweden)
Rikard Ekstrand was inspired to start dancing at the early age of 7. Jazz music and movement became his language and today he’s a well-recognized dancer in the swing dance scene such as working full time as a respected professional dancer, teacher, and choreographer.
Except for swing dancing, Rikard also studied funk styles for many years with a similar interest in the original styles and their connection with music and culture. He sees swing dancing as an art form, a cultural legacy and considers himself as a student of rhythm. “In the school of rhythm, you will always be a student”.
In the classroom, the main focus lies in “how” and “why”. A student should leave the classroom with new knowledge and inspiration. His passion for teaching drives on dancers sharing their dancing and expression together with him. Expect a challenge in different ways then what you are used to.
Aside from Jazz dance festivals, Rikard also teaches at the university- Dans och Cirkushögskolan, DOCH, Jazz dance history, traditions, and the rhythmical jazz language. His big passion for methods and pedagogy make his classes interesting, different and very useful.
Åsa Street Dance School is also one of Rikards yearly projects where he teaches jazz dance to urban dancers.
In 2006 Rikard started his cooperation with the Harlem Hot Shots and is now for many years one of the core members in the hard-working performance company. As a side project from dancing, he plays jazz music with his band Hornsgatan Ramblers(SWE).