The Hilo Hep Cats are an informal swing dance group that promotes Lindy Hop, Charleston, Balboa and other classic swing styles, as well as Blues and Fusion dancing, on Hawaii’s Big Island. We teach, coordinate workshops, schedule socials, perform and generally try to jump, jive and have as much fun as possible.
The Hilo 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. 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 swing friends, please email us and ask to join our Google Groups for News (read-only announcements) or Discussion (members can chat with each other.)
The term “swing” is applied to various dances, but we emphasize the vintage styles that evolved in the early 1900s from a background of blues and jazz music, particularly Lindy Hop, Balboa, and Charleston, as well as Blues Dance. We embrace the cool vernacular moves from back in the day, but also incorporate other fun and fancy techniques when we find them. We do not teach ballroom, East Coast Swing, or West Coast Swing.
We focus on creating dancers’ ability to innovate and interpret music using swing rhythms and classic as well as contemporary moves. We believe that partner communication is the foundation of dance and our goal is to inspire every student to create his or her own movement “poem” using the vocabulary of connection. For this reason, our lessons seldom include 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 group of Lindyhoppers and Blues dancers on the Big Island.
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.