Meet the Team


Sway Dance Chicago has been bringing learners of all levels to the dance floor since it was first established by Teresa Swanson in 2010. People of all ages, backgrounds, and dance histories have made Sway their go-to for achieving whatever their dance goals may be. At Sway Dance, we pride ourselves in providing casual but quality instruction to keep our sessions relaxed, fun, and productive!  Sway will help you bring the love of movement into your life in whatever way works best for you and your learning style. If you want to meet and dance with new people in a laid back environment, Sway offers group classes. If you are wanting to individualized attention of one-on-one instruction, Sway offers private lessons where you can choose both your schedule and what you'd like to learn.

Every student at Sway Dance has a different goal in mind when they walk through the front door. Some are preparing for their wedding dance, some for an island vacation, some are getting ready to hit the stage, some just want to turn one of their left feet into a right foot. Whatever your goal may be, Sway instructors are ready to design a plan just for you.

About Our Staff

Teresa Swanson is the founder, heTeresa ad teacher, and lead choreographer of Sway Dance Chicago, a ballroom and latin dance studio offering group classes and private lessons for adults of all levels.  Rooted in Teresa's joy in movement of all kinds, Sway Dance offers classes that are fun and low pressure, giving students an opportunity to let go of their hectic lives for a few hours and fall in love with dancing. 

The classes at Sway Dance run the gamut from ballroom, latin, and swing partner dances at all levels to personalized choreography in any style to group performance classes with and without partners, but each class or private lesson is imbued with the same enthusiasm for movement that brought Teresa to dance in the first place.

SophiaSophia is a native Chicagoan. Her love for dance started in third grade when she learned Salsa at her friend's birthday party. In high school she was a Varsity cheerleader at Gordon Tech where she helped choreograph routines. It wasn't until 2006 that she decided to try out other Latin and Ballroom dances. From that moment forward, she was hooked and performed in many show dance routines as well as assisted with choreography.  Sophia has also successfully competed in formation competitions.

Sophia keeps her passion for dance alive at Sway Dance by performing and choreographing for our performance groups. 

AlexOriginally from Racine, Wisconsin, Alex studied dance at Carthage College. She has choreographed numerous showcases including “Points of Departure,” “Away From the Mirror,” as well as a student production of “Legally Blonde: The Musical.” With experience in ballet, jazz, tap, salsa, and bachata, she hopes to continue to grow and develop as a dancer and a teacher. Outside of dance, Alex has been in Specialty Coffee for 8 years. She also is passionate about studying languages and speaks Spanish, French and Nahuatl. Alex is incredibly excited to join to Sway Dance Chicago faculty and grateful for the opportunity to continue dancing.

DakotaDakota has been involved with Sway for approximately four years. A Chicagoan born and raised, she moved to L.A. after high school to attend Occidental College where she studied Diplomacy and World Affairs and spent mornings/nights rehearsing and choreographing for the college's dance company "Hyper Xpressions". She continues to teach dance in Latin and ballroom styles- she has been performing and competing in dance since she was in middle school! After college Dakota moved home to Chicago to take part in an Ameri-corps program called City Year, where she tutored middle school students in English at an elementary school in the North Lawndale community on Chicago's Westside. She now works at Sarah's Circle, a nonprofit in Uptown, that focuses on providing services to women experiencing homelessness. She was prompted to seek a role in volunteer coordination because of her time spent volunteering at Planned Parenthood in both Chicago and L.A. doing outreach and advocacy. Dakota has loved being a part of Sway in her spare time and enjoys working with wonderful people every day that continue to inspire her to keep improving her own dance technique! 

Coming soon!

Maria has been a salsa dancer with Urban Vibe Dance Company for the past three years, and has trained in the Latin genre since high school. She believes “if you can walk, you can dance,” especially since she once had two left feet. Everyone has the potential to learn with a little bit of effort and focus. She loves to direct and design choreography for others.

Maria at the beach, striking a pose.

Kat began her journey with Latin and Ballroom dancing when she was just a middle-schooler looking for a way to pass some time after school. She immediately fell in love with countless aspects of the world of dance but none more so than the beauty of nonverbal communication. Despite her participation in various performance groups and singles formations throughout the years - her favorite part of learning and teaching dance will always be simply dancing with another person. 

Noticing this passion, Teresa - Kat’s instructor at the time - quickly had preteen Kat dancing in any and all classes going on at the time: kids groups, social dance classes, adult performance groups, you name it. The opportunity to dance with dozens of people everyday and follow all of those different leads inspired Kat to double her workload and learn how to not only follow, but lead each dance that she was studying. Since taking on this challenge so many years ago, she finds that being a leader on the dance floor is one of her greatest skills. To Kat, being such a proficient leader means that she can better teach the nonverbal language required to get a group of people dancing together. Being a leader has only strengthened her ability to follow and to look at her students and understand exactly what miscommunication is causing them trouble. 

More than a dozen years after signing up as a kid to learn to dance from Teresa, Kat is now an instructor working under her. Kat was there when Sway first opened its doors and takes joy and pride in watching the Sway family grow and evolve as the years go by. After a brief break to live on the West Coast - Kat is back at Sway teaching wedding couples, performance groups, and anyone else who wants to celebrate movement.