About Us

Design by Clare Yi
The Hilo Hep Cats are an informal swing dance group that promotes Lindy Hop, Charleston and other classic swing styles on Hawaii’s Big Island. We teach swing dance, coordinate workshops, schedule occasional socials, network with swing dance clubs in Honolulu and elsewhere, and generally try to jump, jive and have as much fun as possible.

The Hep Cats were founded by Andrea (Andie) Gill, Rachel Klein and Shane Stafford.  The club is jointly run by various individuals who provide instruction for beginning as well as intermediate dancers, organize social events, and perform at venues across the island. Classes are usually held at the Island Dance Academy, 27 Haili Street (across from the Palace Theatre) in downtown Hilo.
Click here for current class information.

If you'd like to get more frequent reminders of events and have a chance to chat with other swingfriends, please join our Google Group.


The Hilo Hep Cats have performed for the Big Island Dance Council's concerts in Hilo three times.

The term “swing” is applied to various dances, but we mean the Savoy and Hollywood styles of Lindy Hop that represent the development and interpretation of the original swing, evolving from a background of blues and jazz.

The Hep Cats try to teach in the Savoy tradition, but we incorporate other fun and fancy moves when we find them. We do not teach ballroom, East Coast Swing, or West Coast Swing. For more information on swing dance styles, click here.

We focus on creating dancers’ ability to innovate and interpret music using swing rhythms and classic as well as contemporary moves. We believe that footwork and moves are the foundation of dance—the “vocabulary,” if you will—and our goal is to inspire every student to create his or her own movement “poem” using that vocabulary. For this reason, our lessons seldom focus on routines, instead encouraging dancers to develop their own expressions appropriate to each partner and to the music.

As far as we know, the Hilo Hep Cats are the only Lindy Hopping group on the Big Island. However, the Hawaii Jitterbugs in Honolulu have some action going on Oahu. For other dance news, including Big Island contacts for other fun dance forms, click on the “Where to Dance” link at the top of the page

The Hilo Hep Cats sponsor occasional workshops. For a current calendar and for information on the Hep Cats’ past workshops, instructors, and performances, click on the links at the top of the page.



Logo design by Clare Yi