The Lindy Hop is often referred to as the original Swing Dance. This dance is Hepcat Studio's bread and butter, spanning all the way back to the 1920's. This dynamic style of dance is sure to make you look like a pro amongst your friends. It can be danced fast or slow, depending on your preference. Lindy Hop is the most popular style of dancing amongst swing dancers and a great place to begin.
Based in Winnipeg, Hepcat Studio is a dance company that is committed to raising awareness and promoting the benefits of swing dancing. Hepcat Studio provides numerous services to its clients including dance lessons, DJs, and demos. Started in September 2009, Hepcat Studio was founded by Suneil Pandey and Keith Tang.
Suneil was born and raised here in Winnipeg. In the fall of 2000 he started studying swing, ballroom and latin dancing. In 2001 he stared teaching for CMU and U of M Swing dance club. During following years, he introduced the original swing dance, Lindy Hop to Winnipeg, along with several other complementary dances such as the Swing Rueda, Balboa and Blues.
During his many years of dancing, Suneil has specialized in teaching and performing in dances such as: the Lindy Hop, American Jive, East Coast, Charleston, Blues, Balboa, Swing Rueda, Dips, and Aerials.
Using his love of dancing, Suneil has traveled the world training with some of the best swing dancers in the world. Eric and Sylvia, Bill Borgida, Jenny and Ryan, Steven Mitchell and Virginie, Sylvia Sykes, Ben and Sherry, and Frankie Manning are just some of the talent he has trained with.
In his many years of dancing, Suneil has been given the opportunity to perform for various organizations such as the Manitoba Ballroom Teachers Association, Winnipeg Blue Bombers Halftime show, Dancing on the Boulevard, and the Swing Cats CD release party. He has also taught at Dancing under the Canopy, the Winnipeg Jazz Festival, University of Winnipeg, The Lid and Patricia's Dance studio. Recently, he has traveled teaching workshops in places such as Bemidji, MN and Kenora, ON. In 2005 he started competing in various dance competitions such as the Ultimate Lindy Show Down, Midwest Lindy Fest, Plex, DuPlex, and XXXPlex, placing first in the Jack and Jill division at DuPlex, and second in the Jack and Jack division at XXXPlex.
Suneils' focus has always been about fun!
Our story is a collection of stories on how we got involve in swing dancing and the dance community. Every story is different and unique just as your will be.
At 21, I started dating a swing dancer. She was fun, outgoing, energetic, loved to smile, and her heart was set on transforming me into a swing dancer. I was stubborn however, and refused. The subject was dropped and things continued normally, but that was soon to change when I received the devastating news.
Soon after we started dating, my mother was diagnosed with terminal throat cancer, and before I knew it she was gone. My life was turned upside down. My mother was my best friend, and losing her affected every area of my life. I started spending every night at the dance clubs, distracting myself with the loud music, high energy, and smiling faces. My grades also started to suffer and I couldn't care less. My friends and family watched in silence, unsure of what to do.
Once again my girlfriend turned me to swing dancing, hoping that would bring me back to life. However, I was still stubborn, but instead of pressuring me to give it a shot, she waited and schemed. First, she convinced one group of my friends to join, and then another and another until all my friends were swing dancing. I was stubborn, but now alone. Eventually I gave in and tried it for myself. I don't know what it was, but something about the dance, the people, and the scene just really touched me. I now had something new and positive to direct my feelings towards, and I was finally able to move on from my loss.
Swing dancing has a way of taking hold of you in an unexpected way, and it puts a smile on your face that is hard to remove. You don't have to be a dancer to do it, and it's just good for the soul. My wish is for everyone to try it and see for themselves the immense joy and satisfaction that is born from energetic this dance.
President of Hepcat Studio
I was a first year university student living for the first time away from my family. Being able to do whatever I wanted now, I decided to try a new activity. Living on residence, I was never into the parties on campus, where every night there were kids drinking, passing out, and the drama that came along with all of that the next day.
It was then that I came across swing dancing in the main building. It looked like so much fun. People were smiling, moving their feet at will, and talking to me like we were good friends. Soon after, I started taking lessons with a friend of mine. I had a fun time learning something new. Ironically enough, I had quit taking lessons after that semester ended.
It wasn't until the next year that I started growing bored outside of my class time. I wasn't the most outgoing person so I had few friends at the time. I decided to give swing dancing another shot, this time making sure I went social dancing too. I got to know so many new people and started feeling like the dancers that I had first met on campus.
Swing Dancing has helped me to become more out-going (by asking follows to dance) and confident. In turn, I want to give to people what swing dancing has given to me, a more complete life.
Founding Member of Hepcat Studio
My start at swing dancing began with a good marketing strategy and a persistent friend. I'd always had a secret desire to learn a structured dance. Never would I have guessed it would be swing dancing. I had had a successful first year of university and was beginning a new school year. One day, after walking into the university center at the University of Manitoba with a friend of mine, we could not help but notice the university's swing dance club dancing in the middle of the room to some lively music. It stood out from all of the other club booths set up with their movement and sound. My friend was very interested in it and convinced a reluctant me to attend the open house event for the club. We went and had a blast, but I still was not sold on the idea so I did not sign up for lessons even though my friend did.
Well a semester came and went and there was another open house event for the club's new start of classes. I went and this time I signed up for lessons. I was not a natural dancer though. I couldn't hear beats in the music, and didn't understand counts in a dance, but it was fun so I continued. I made a lot of friends in the classes and we would all go out for food after the lessons after and when I heard about a dance trip to Edmonton, I became ecstatic. When we arrived, we were blown away by the skill of the dancers and all the different kinds of people dancing. It seemed like every age and personality was represented. We danced all day and night for three days and had the time of our lives. That trip fuelled my love of swing dancing, and when I got home, I took as many lessons as I could.
As a university student, I study a lot and look forward to the physical release of stress that I get through the motions of swing. I've also been in the best shape of my life because of it. It has given me the confidence to meet new people, work hard at challenges, and be creative. I met my best friend and my boyfriend through swing dancing and I can't imagine my life without dance in it now.
Founding Member of Hepcat Studio
You'll have to ask me for the whole story sometime, but my tale begins through an odd mixture of the video game Dance Dance Revolution and a limbo contest. I was actually quite hesitant to even try dancing at first, but it was the community of people that really drew me in. Before I knew it, I was right in the thick of things and joined the university club only months after starting. Nowadays I teach classes and run weekly events in the city. it started out as a cautious experiment for me; to push outside my boundaries and learn something new. These days I can't imagine my life without it.
Instructor / Owner of Saturday Night Swing Out