Sylvia Sykes is a swing dancer, dance instructor, judge and choreographer. In particular she is considered by most to be the leading authority on the dance Balboa.
Sylvia Sykes studied with Dean Collins and was a member of his last dance troupe. She also studied balboa with Maxie Dorf and spent years learning from the greatest Southern California balboa dancers. Sylvia is an inductee into the National Swing Dance Hall of Fame, as well as the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame. She is a U.S. Open champion, was the NASDE top point winner, two time California Balboa Champion, took third place in the National Carolina Shag Dance Championships, and has won many Strictly Swing and Jack & Jill dance contests through the U.S. in Lindy Hop, balboa and West Coast Swing. She was twice voted Swing Dance Teacher of the Year and is a four-time Feather Award winner as Best Female Lindy Dancer in the U.S.
She has performed with Count Basie, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Artie Shaw, and Les Brown, and she has appeared on many television shows such as American Bandstand and Gotta Dance for the American Movie Channel. She also represented the U.S. in the World Boogie Woogie Championships in Grenoble, France with her original partner Jonathan Bixby.
She is best known for reviving Balboa, which is rapidly gaining popularity around the world, and is a regular guest at the balboa dance camps.
Sylvia has been the head judge for many national swing events as well as being an expert teacher on how to judge.
Following the retirement of her long-time dance partner Jonathan Bixby, Sylvia continues teaching in Santa Barbara, CA and leading workshops around the world.
In August 2008, Sylvia joined Nina Gilkenson and Tena Morales in founding the International Lindy Hop Championships.