Naomi Uyama (Bandleader, Instructor)

Naomi Uyama discovered Lindy Hop in her hometown of Washington DC in 1997. Before graduating high school she had already been hand picked by Aretha Franklin to perform with her onstage, and had won numerous national level contests. Today she is a top performer and competitor and has collected dozens of titles at such major competitions as the US Open Swing Dance Championships and the International Lindy Hop Championships. As an instructor she has taught thousands of students in over 20 countries. Today, she travels the world teaching dance and singing with her band "Naomi & Her Handsome Devils", while calling Minneapolis home.

Gaby Cook (Instructor, Judge)

Gaby Cook is an esteemed, active professional in the global lindy hop community. For nearly 20 years, she has established her career performing and teaching for major swing dance festivals worldwide — including Camp Hollywood, Beantown, Swing Out New Hampshire, Herräng Dance Camp, Lindy on the Rocks, Paris Jazz Roots, Stompology and Lindy Focus. On stage, she is a principal dancer for the acclaimed "SW!NG OUT", which premiered at the Joyce theater (2021) and tours regularly. Other stage credits include: “Macy’s Day Parade Live Broadcast” for Nickelodeon’s Blues Clues (2022), "Swing's the Thing" with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra (2023), “Decades of Dance” at the BET Soultrain Awards (2021), “Don’t Mean a Thing” with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center (2021) and many appearances in film and TV. She regularly advocates for lindy hop in industry dance communities and is consistently "on-call" with university dance programs (past: Julliard, Marymount, NYU, Columbia).

In class, she is playful, informative and honest. She prioritizes equality for followers and leaders in the classroom space — and has championed a movement first approach to teaching partnered dance content. Online at @gaby_cook"

AJ Howard (Instructor, Judge)

With nearly 10 years of experience, AJ takes the influences from Sacramento, San Francisco, and Los Angeles Lindy Hop scenes to bring his own unique style and energy to the Swing Dancing community. He burst into the scene in 2016, winning competitions throughout the US with his partner Jennifer, showing the dance world what Sacramento really had to offer! Competing at international events such as Camp Hollywood and the International Lindy Hop Championships, AJ became well known for his generous use of aerials paired with his energetic dancing.

AJ has also had the honor of performing on stage for the debut run of "SW!NG OUT" in addition to dance groups such as HellaBlackLindyHop and the Midtown Stompers, along with the privilege to spread his love of dance through teaching at Lindy Hop events across the US, on a Carnival Cruise ship, and overseas in countries such as Denmark and Sweden

Alice Bourgasser (Head Judge)

Alice Bourgasser was trained at National Choreographic Center of Roubaix (France) as an interpreter and contemporary dance teacher, between 2013 and 2016. Graduated in dance from the University of Lille 3 and from the « Pôle Supérieur de Musique et de Danse du Nord Pas-de-Calais », she moves to Montreal in 2016 to start a master thesis in dance at UQAM (Quebec University in Montreal). Her research master’s degree focuses on Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers’ dancing, lindy-hop pioneer dancers. Since 2016, Alice is practicing and teaching both contemporary and vernacular jazz (mostly solo jazz and lindy-hop) in Montreal. She started the swing contest circuit since 2017 and won several medals in both lindy-hop (3rd strictly all star ILHC 2023, Canadian Champion 2023, 1st advanced luck of the draw Savoy Cup 2022) and solo jazz (2nd all star solo jazz ILHC 2023, 3rd all star solo jazz ILHC 2022, 2nd advanced division at Stompology 2023). In 2021, Alice has been accepted for a doctorate in the study and practice of the arts (DEPA) in UQAM. She currently continues her journey of understanding African-American jazz culture through a research-creation project.

Chenise Mitchell (Judge)

Chenise Mitchell is a Jazzer; a performing artist driven by rhythm and social and ancestral connection. With 18 years of professional experience, Chenise has toured Turtle Island, appeared in commercials, concerts, music videos, and created and collaborated for festivals, musicals and plays. For Chenise Jazz is joy, healing, connection and belonging. Chenise is passionate about emphasizing the revolutionary nature and Black origins of Jazz and this rhythm and connection is infused in her education, creation and performances. Chenise believes her purpose is to share her passion for dance in many ways. As a teacher, Chenise loves to encourage bravery and creativity in others, whether they are pursuing dance as a career or doing it for fun. For Chenise, Jazz is a versatile genre where dancers can be challenged and have fun while expressing themselves honestly and discovering their personal style. Dance is a means for support and expression; dance is a language of connection to be shared.

Hannah Bild-Enkin (Judge)

Hannah Bild-Enkin is a lindy hop and vernacular jazz social dancer, performer, choreographer, and instructor based in Toronto. Originally training in tap, ballet, and figure skating, Hannah fell in love with swing era dances in 2011. She enjoys the improvisational nature of jazz music and dancing, and continues to find inspiration in the relationship that music and dance have with each other. Hannah strives to encourage everyone to find the joy in dancing.

Jamie Blair and Vincent Bédard (Judge)

Vincent spent his teenage years doing tap. At 18 he discovered lindy hop and was immediately hooked. He eventually joined the SAF squad, the professional Lindy Hop team based out of Montreal, where he found his partner, Jamie.

Jamie has been performing and competing her entire life. Swing Dancing, and more specifically Lindy Hop, attracted her by the opportunity to combine her passions for dance and athletics. Her strong background in ballet, figure skating and a multitude of other sports primed her well for success in the Lindy Hop competitive world.

They performed and competed internationally, winning accolades such as 2nd place in the Canadian showcase and 1st in Strictly Open at ILHC. Since the pandemic, their focus has shifted from competitive dancing to a more community-oriented endeavour, where they bring the joy of dancing to Brockville and its surroundings communities.

Kofi Arthiabah (Judge)

For Kofi, the world is just one big dance floor. He can be seen dancing up a storm wherever and whenever the music moves him. He has been dancing all his life and ever since discovering partner jazz dancing, (thanks to Frankie Manning and Norma Miller’s interview on the Ken Burns PBS series “Jazz”) he has travelled the world learning, social dancing, competing, judging, teaching and sharing the joy of jazz dance. As a fun and friendly event with inspirational and innovative contests, O-Town Showdown holds a special place in his heart. He cannot wait to be wow'ed and inspired by the awesome dancers throwing down, showdown-style at O-Town Showdown.

Megan Sydiaha (Judge)

Megan has been dancing from about the time she could walk. She grew up studying ballet and related styles in her hometown of Saskatoon, and upon moving to Montreal in 2016, discovered the incredible world of swing. A lifelong lover of jazz music, she quickly became enamoured with the dances of vernacular jazz, Lindy Hop, and tap. Megan began teaching in 2018; she loves to be able to share her passion with others and ignite their spark for jazz. In her personal practice and in her teaching she prioritizes social dancing, community, and rhythm. She finds inspiration in learning from the elders of the dance and the music, as well as in other dance forms along the jazz continuum.

Michel Campeau (Judge)

Michel Campeau studied broadcasting at the Cité Collégiale in Ottawa. At the same time, he discovered vernacular jazz dances in a local scene and gradually migrated towards a career as a dancer. Since 2018, he has taught, coached and performed vernacular jazz dances full-time, particularly solo jazz and lindy-hop. In 2023, he won with his partner Alice Bourgasser the title of Canadian Champion as well as 3rd place strictly all star at the international lindy-hop championships (ILHC). He travels to several continents (Europe, America, Asia) to teach and perform these dances. At the same time, he developed his career as an interdisciplinary artist by participating in different productions in the music and circus world (Camping, 2021).

Mohammad Hajikhani (Judge)

Mohammad embarked on his dance journey in 2015 and quickly transitioned from a passionate dancer to a dedicated instructor. While he values the excitement of competition, Mohammad's true love lies in the art of social dancing. Alongside his partner, Ashley, Mohammad has taken on the role of coaching numerous performance troupes, actively contributing to the building of the community. His enthusiasm for Lindy Hop is fueled by the joy it has brought to his life, and he loves sharing this gift with as many people as possible.

Natasha Harris (Judge)

Natasha Harris comes from a classical music background and discovered Lindy Hop while living in Edmonton. Over the years she has received various titles in Solo Jazz, Balboa, and Lindy Hop at events such as the Canadian Swing Championships, Bal Moment, Lindybout, Down by the Riverside, and O-Town Showdown. Natasha has danced with teams including Side Street Swing Firebrands, Bytown Strutters, SAF Classic Convoy, and Balboa Constrictors and performed at events such as the Canada 150 celebrations in Majors Hill Park (2017). She was a member of the professional team SAF Squad, and placed first in the team division at ILHC in 2019. One of her favourite dance memories is participating in the Mapleweight competition at Lindy Bout XV. Since moving to Ottawa in 2016, the local dance community has taken up a large place in her heart. Natasha values being able to share creative ideas on the social dance floor and is very much looking forward to the return of O-Town Showdown this year!

Bill Ewanick (Head DJ)

Bill Ewanick started dancing when he moved to Ottawa for university. Since then, he's danced all over the world, competed in many competitions, performed on the NAC stage, and been part of a TV pilot variety show that never took off. Coming from a musical family, Bill's interest in swing music started before highschool when his relatives would get together and play old jazz standards. He has been Head DJ at O-Town Showdown since it's inception, and is hoping you all have a fun time and dance your hearts out!

Gabrielle Kern (DJ)

Gabrielle loves playing music that gets dancers out on the floor and keeps them there! Her passion is music that moves you, be it blues, classic swing, vintage-style jazz, or more soulful funky tunes. Be careful, her music will often inspire you to dance long after your feet would have called it a night!

Lisa Semchuk (DJ, MC)

Lisa has been dancing for most of her life, and swinging out since 2010. Lisa discovered her love of Lindy Hop, Charleston, Solo Jazz and Balboa with the University of Manitoba Swing Dance Club. For more than a decade she has been a scene organizer, teacher, DJ, performer, choreographer, and MC while living in Winnipeg, MB, Hamilton, ON, and Ottawa, ON. Lisa brings over 12 years of experience professionally organizing events and public speaking from her career in the nonprofit sector. Outside of the 9-to-5 she can also be found expanding her wardrobe of vintage clothes, cosplaying, and dabbling in other dance styles such as Waacking (aka Punking).

Tony Vergara (DJ)

Tony can usually be found wreaking havoc in Baltimore.

He started dancing in 2005, rocking out to Baltimore Club music at high school dances. He found Lindy Hop and all that jazz in 2007, when he started performing with and then choreographing for the West Philly Swingers at the University of Pennsylvania. While there, he started DJing house parties with a mix of lindy, blues, and pop music. He studied Jazz and Popular Music (also neuroscience, but that's less relevant), so he'd love to talk music history and theory with you.

When he's DJing, you'll probably hear a range of music, some driving, some lazy, some fast, some slow, and everything in between. His musical influences include Chick Webb (he's from Baltimore!), Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Mary Lou Williams’, Illinois Jacquet, and Lester Young, but also Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Chance the Rapper, and Bell Biv Devoe. He'll keep you dancing, so come prepared with your most comfortable shoes and a few extra shirts!

Aimee Mannella (MC)

Smiles, applause and a fancy notepad are some of the many things that make Aimee a great Emcee. She can read a room to get the feeling just right, she strives for sincerity and will always try to get a laugh if she can. As a kick-ass, charming, Bilingual (English/French) emcee, you can’t go wrong.

Best known on the dance floor for her energy, her creativity, her love for dancing and her funny faces, she is best known behind the microphone for her energy, her creativity, her love of making people laugh and her funny faces.

When not Emceeing, you’ll find Aimee on the dancefloor, listening to good music and sharing all the good vibes.