Barry and Dari Anne Amato
Barry and Dari Anne Amato served as producers and the on camera dance instructors for The Nashville Network’s Wildhorse Saloon Show and Club Dance television series. In addition to claiming several prestigious awards in the dance community, (World Dance Championship 2008 Favorite Line Dance Choreographer, Las Vegas Dancer’s Choice Awards 2007 Male Choreographer of the Year and Team Choreographers of the Year), and working multiple record label projects, the pair, affectionately known as “America’s Dance Sweethearts”, have appeared on Country Music Television (CMT), Great American Country (GAC), Home And Garden Network (HGTV) and the CBS telecast of the Country Music Association Awards (CMA) show with Alan Jackson. They have also choreographed music videos for such notable artists as SheDaisy, Louise Mandrell, Pam Tillis, John Michael Montgomery and Chubby Checker.
Years: 2003, 2004, 2005
Amy Glass Bailey
Amy danced in and won her first UCWDC competition in 2006 and began choreography competitions not long thereafter. She won a few choreography competitions including being awarded the Dancer’s Choice Award for Team Choreographer in 2013. Amy has been afforded the opportunity to teach at events throughout the United States and internationally since 2011. In 2017 her co-choreography was awarded Dance of the Year and Intermediate Dance of the Year at the Crystal Boot Awards.
When she isn’t dancing, Amy is a pharmacist in Washington state. While she enjoys her career, she has discovered that her true passion is dance. Amy can no longer imagine her life without line dance and loves sharing this passion with dancers all over the world.
Amy finally met the love of her life dancing. She married Darren Bailey in 2017.
Darren Bailey is a 15 time World Line Dance Champion in categories such as, Classic, Showcase, Choreography, and Teams. Darren completed his dance training in Holland and toured Europe & America in theatre productions of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” and “Passion and Illusion”. In 2006 Darren retired from professional competitions, but has continued judging, choreographing and conducting workshops throughout the UK, Europe, Scandinavia, Asia and the USA. In 2017 Darren was inducted into the Line Dance hall of fame for his services to Line Dance Choreography and his work promoting Line Dance all over the world. Darren has trained several of the current and previous World Line Dance Champions and continues to train the world champions of tomorrow.
In 2006 Darren was partnered with Lana Williams for the BBC1 Show, Strictly Dance Fever, where they finished as runners ups from a total of 80,000 competitors. Following this Darren, has gone on to work professionally within the entertainment industry, with many choreography and T.V credits to his name.
T.V Credits Include : Britain’s Got Talent’ (backing dancer & Choreography) – ITV 1, Strictly Dance Fever’ 2006 runner up – BBC 1 (live), The National Lottery‘ with Lionel Blair -BBC 1(live), The Coal House’ (series) choreographer and guest performer – BBC 2, Strictly Come Dancing’ (series 10 – Present) choreographer – BBC 1, The Coal House’ (series) choreographer and guest performer – BBC 2, Dance House 1944’ (documentary) Featured dancer – BBC 2, The New Paul O Grady Show’ – Channel 4 (live), The Alan Titchmarsh Show’ – ITV 1
Other credits include :‘Catwalk Model’ – Gucci and Armani suits, Ambassador Of Swing Theatre Show’ – Manhattan Theatre (USA), ‘Fever’ Jive Aces – Music Video, The Devil Went Down To Georgia’ – UK Tour, Passion and Illusion’ – USA Tour, Dance and Rhythm’ with Angel a Ripon – The London Palladium, Dance Manifesto Launch’ Guest Performer – London City Hall, Frank Skinner’s Cabaret’ – (West End) The Lyric Theatre, Cuban Groove Dance Company Cabaret – Mall Of The Emirates, Dubai, Clash’ Theatre Show’- Featured Dancer – Blackpool Tower Ballroom, Picnic In The Park’ Cole Porter Tribute Show – Dubai, Mark Ramprecash Charity Dinner’ – Hilton Hotel, London, Showtime’ Cuban Groove – Birmingham NEC ,Corporate Team Building Promotional Video – HSBC, NHS Annual Awards Ceremony, choreographer (Northampton)
Internationally known choreographer Michael Barr brings his own kind of energy to the dance floor – an energy that connects, inspires, and engages all who are present. His teaching techniques display a deep love for people which makes himn perfect for the job.
2010 will be the busiest year yet for Michael and his partner Michele Burton. “We are on the road a lot this year and love all the connections we have with people around the country. Now if the airlines and mother nature will just cooperate getting us to the events that would be a plus. We have learned to expect the unexpected.”
Michael comes from a show biz family. His father was a pianist and his mother was a dancer and singer. They met during the heyday of Broadway. Something rubbed off from his parents and we are glad he found the venue of line dance to spread his fun.
It was said by Sigmund Freud many years ago that “we are all brought to this world for a reason and once we find our reason for being, we find peace for our soul.” Well, it might be stretching it a bit to say Joanne Brady was born for dancing, but then again, it might not! One thing for sure is she was born to teach.
No matter where she teaches, Joanne Brady is remembered for her instruction, her humor and her infectious energy. While passing her class, you’ll probably hear “Yes, Joanne!” coming from the mouths of eager, enthusiastic students; so it’s no wonder Joanne has earned herself a star in the dance instructors’ hall of fame. Joanne began teaching 13 years ago, after taking private lessons. She recruited dancers for a weekly TV show “The Country Video Dance Show” in Wilmington, DE. She then saw Scooter Lee in concert, danced the whole time Scooter performed and the rest is history.
Years: 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2016
As testified by her smiling face and unique choreography, Michele enjoys being involved in the line dance community. Her attention to style and technique offers the dancer the opportunity to learn more than just dance steps.
After being introded to line and couples dance in 1990, Michele’s interest grew. With a background as a high school drill team advisor, the task of developing a line dance team and compsing team choreography seemed fun to Michele. Her line dance choreography teaching skills developed, and opportunities openedfor her teaching in various communities, states, and countries.
When Michele and Michael aren’t dancing, or driving to the wrong airport, they live in Corning, California where they enjoy the garden, feed the birds, and watch the fish in the pond. Every March they host a dance workshop, Boogie Til The Cows Come Home.
Amy Christian (born in Singapore), grew up in a musical family. She has a huge passion for singing and dancing and hence was always performing and competing. Amy has been dancing for over 40 years. As a young girl at 12 years of age, she started with Classical Indian Dance. Ever ready and keen to learn any genre of dance. Amy has studied Hip Hop, Salsa, Flamenco, Ballroom, Lindy Hop. Upon discovering Line Dance in 2001, she was hooked. 2 years later, Amy started teaching line dance. In 2004, Amy became a certified “Professional Line Dance Trainer” after successfully completing and passing her Trainer Accreditation Programme by the Professional Association of Line Dancers (PAL). In 2005, Amy wrote her first line dance, Never Gonna Get It with 3 friends. The following year, she wrote her 2nd dance, Feels So Good which took first place at an event in Hong Kong and it became a huge hit dance around the world and it is now a Classic dance. In 2008, Amy moved to the US and she now resides in Michigan. Amy continues to choreograph dances and she immensely enjoys teaching with such a passion! She loves spreading the joy of Dance. Amy believes that Dance is…………. food for our Soul.
Rona Kaye’s line dance teaching career began in New York City in 1993. She was the Dance/Special Events Coordinator/In House Choreographer at New York City’s premiere Country Music & Dance venue, Denim & Diamonds. That six year work experience was one of the very best in her life!
Rona’s “on air” (TV) credits include Good Morning America, Guiding Light, As the World Turns, Access Hollywood and RuPaul Show among others. She has worked as a line dance instructor on Fox, Comcast, and MTV.
Rona still continues to promote Country Music & Dance events in New York City with her business partner, Dave Cervini of NY’s Premiere Country Music radio station, WYNY 103.5. They have promoted dances over the past few years at venues like The Copacabana and are currently holding their events at the beautiful 20th floor venue in midtown Manhattan, 230 Fifth Avenue. There is still a nice sized market of Country music lovers in New York City!
Rona, who was born in Miami Beach loves reconnecting with her strong roots and her “Florida Family” line dancers when she visits. Today, she makes her living in NYC as a certified Group Fitness Instructor (AFAA) and Certified Personal Trainer (NASM), working for New York Sports Clubs since 2000. She teaches a number of dedicated Seniors in her many “Silver Sneakers” classes and is also a licensed Zumba/Zumba Gold instructor. Teaching line dance is her passion and she continues to maintain her weekly Beginner and Intermediate classes in New York City. She currently teaches Intermediate/Advanced choreography on a regular basis with The Outer Rim NY/NJ since 2007. In 1997 Rona started traveling to teach at Line dance events all around the USA.
“Cheers” and blessings to all of the dancers that Rona has met and danced with over all of these years…..this “sport” of ours is an unbelievable phenomenon….an experience that provides us with a tremendous health benefit, a much needed and appreciated social interaction and huge amounts of joy whenever we dance, whenever we see each other….a true blessing indeed!
“The” Jamie Marshall
Jamie’s unique style of dancing and instructing are keys to her success. After winning six UCWDC World Line Dance titles, she officially retired from competition in January, 2000. Jamie was voted the “Favorite Female Line Dancer” at the 2000 UCWDC Star Awards as well as nominated for the UCWDC Star Awards “Favorite Female Line Instructor” for the 2002, 2003, 2004 & 2005.
In 2013, Jamie was nominated as Female Personality of the Year and her dance “Rockin the Wagon Wheel” was nominated as Beginner Dance of the Year. Jamie’s choreography includes the classics, Backstreet Attitude, Bomshel Stomp, Sho’Nuf, Atlantis, and many others that continue to be a favorite at dance events throughout the world. Jamie continues to travel promoting, instructing, choreographing, judging and entertaining at many dance events thoughout the USA. Jamie works closely with Marco Club Connection in Nashville to offer consulting on new artists and releases. Recently, Jamie was contacted by the Robert’s Western World regarding line dance opportunities at the historic Nashville Palace.
Jamie and husband, Barney, are directors for the Ft. Wayne Dance for All held in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Ft. Wayne Dance for All is one of longest running dance events and is considered one of the best in the United States. The Ft. Wayne Dance for All offers over 100 workshops in all styles of dance: line, swing, hustle, two-step, clogging, lindy, ballroom and more…including LineLessons.com, NTA, ZUMBA, LaBlast and High Tech DJ; Dancing to your Computer!
Judy is an accomplished dance instructor, judge and award winning choreographer who has, for the past 30 years, instructed all ages in jazz, tap and line dance. Known for her unique style and entertaining sense of humour, Judy has choreographed many line dances that are currently being taught and danced worldwide. These include After Midnight, The Trail, Party Up, Sweet Memories, Cool Whip, When I Leave, Back in Town, Dipstick, Hound Dog, Weekly Fool, Israelites and her latest dance 649. Many of Judy’s dances have been used as competition dances on several line dance competition circuits.
As a diverse instructor, Judy offers full day workshops as well as sessions on creative teaching techniques, insights into choreography and dance technique. Her ability to create a positive learning environment through her easy going manner encourages participants to feel comfortable and enjoy the experience of learning to dance.
Judy is a member of the National Teachers Association (NTA®) and conducts training and accreditation testing. She is also a Certified Line Dance Judge and Director with the United Country Western Dance Council (UCWDC©). As a result, Judy is in great demand and has taught and judged throughout Canada, the United States, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, France, Norway, Spain, Austria, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, Ireland, Malaysia and Japan. She also currently hosts a UCWDC© Worlds qualifying event in Canada in March. Visit www.judymcdonald.ca for more information.
Judy has been recognized, and has won numerous awards, for her talents as both an exceptional instructor and choreographer. Her internationally acclaimed dance, After Midnight, garnered many awards, including being nominated as Dance of the Year in Great Britain in 1999, and was a competition dance for Worlds 2001 with the UCWDC©. Sweet Memories was a competition dance for Worlds 2004, When I Leave for Worlds 2006, Back in Town for Worlds 2008, and Hound Dog and 8&1 for Worlds 2009. Both Cool Whip and Dipstick have been big hits on dance floors worldwide and continue to be favourites among the dancers.
A dancer since the age of four, and with a family background of Ballroom and Latin Champions, Rachael, through her love of dance discovered and trains in many different forms of dance which to date include ballet, tap, modern, jazz, disco, ballroom, latin, salsa, west coast swing, hip hop, and of course Line Dancing. She began teaching line dance in York, England at the young age of 15. With an ambition to dance and travel, she began competing with her first competition at the UCWDC European Championships in April 1999 returning the following year as a Superstar. Having won many British and European titles she also took home a Double World title from UCWDC Worlds 2000 as the Grand Classic and Showcase Line Dance Champion and was the first European female to qualify for the Superstar Division which is the highest competitive level in UCWDC Line Dance, she returned from UCWDC Worlds 2001 in Edmonton, Alberta Canada as the Female Superstar World Champion, a most memorable event
Studying Sport and Languages, she finished college in June 1999 with 10 GCSEs and A-Levels in French, German and Sport Studies. However following her competitive success and her passion for dance she decided to make it her career and has since travelled internationally teaching workshops, demonstrating, coaching and competing.
Since her career began in line dance she has won many awards around the world for her instruction and choreography.
Bryan began dancing when he was about 7 years old. His parents, Ken & Ginette, knew their son had a long future ahead of him in dance, so they knew they had to support him and help him follow his dreams.
He started to attend classes in Northern Pennsylvania, and Upstate New York. By the mid 1990’s Bryan discovered another love that also connected him to the dance community and that was choreography. Bryan says “my first dance was not my best in my eyes; in fact it was 60 counts, I don’t know what I was thinking?” Never the less “Firehouse Boogie” as Bryan titled it was good enough for the July 1995 issue of CDL (Country Dance Lines) Magazine. This encouraged this young choreographer to hit the drawing board again. In the winter of 1996 with the help from Max Perry and Kathy Hunyadi, Bryan’s second dance “Santa Claus Boogie” was published in the December 1996 issue of Linedancer Magazine. Through the years Bryan continued to choreograph new dances and then in the fall of 1999 enter some into competition in the U.C.W.D.C. (United Country Western Dance Council). This fazed out quickly, as around the same time Bryan discovered once again a new love, instruction.
There is just something about teaching, sharing my gift of dance and instruction; I feel in my heart it’s meant to be.
Rosie Multari has been teaching line dancing in New Jersey since 1993. She actually was a line dance choreographer first, creating dance workout videos for TV Fitness star Denise Austin & the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. Rosie’s well-known Beginner line dances are To the Moon, Tap & Go, Bally’s Mambo, Stealing the Best, Jersey Girls Cha, We Have to Dance, Marry You, Hold On To, This Life & Gloria AB!
Rosie has a varied educational background which all led to where she is now: a BFA in Theatre Arts from Brooklyn College followed by becoming a Gerontologist 20 years later, as well as running a successful fitness business, Rosie’s Robics, for over 35 years. Rosie has 5 national fitness certifications including Zumba and is a recognized expert in Senior Health & Fitness.
She has taught training workshops and Master classes throughout the US, Canada and Europe. In 2008 she joined Scooter Lee & Joanne Brady to bring the Dancing for the Dream program to Singapore & Malaysia, in 2010 she taught at the WOW event in Shanghai, China and 2015 at Mayworth Comp in Tamworth Australia!
Before retiring in ‘05 to be Granny/Nanny to her twin granddaughters, Rosie taught 22 weekly classes exclusively to active adults (55+) in NJ. Now she has 5 weekly classes, keeps busy with her growing family, is a rotating instructor for the Jersey Girls & conducts workshops for beginners and improvers at line dance events around the country. Since ‘03 Rosie’s was Dance Coordinator for TGB events and in 2011 became Co-Director of the Tim Gillis Dance weekends. After Tim retired in 2014, Rosie became the Event Director of New York State of Line aka NYSOL, an all-inclusive Line Dance Workshop Weekend in the Catskill Mountains.
Rosie also created GRACE, a training program for instructors of Active Adults. Rosie is available for these training workshops as well as teaching dance lessons for all levels, from Ultra Beginner to Advanced.
Rosie is a “people person” and when you meet her you’ll know why she enjoys life!
Gerard Murphy’s ‘Heave Away’ took the UK by a storm last summer as the dance jigged its way into line dancers’ hearts. The tall, lanky, very personable Gerard has a loyal following in Canada. He hails from Nova Scotia although he grew up in Newfoundland where he told me that he was always surrounded by music and dancing… “I think most Newfoundlanders assume they can step dance – that it’s in their blood or something!” Gerard started teaching line dancing in 1994 when he moved to a small village in Nova Scotia where line dancing was non existent. He now teaches at a country bar called “The Rodeo Lounge” and coaches “Murphy’s Law Dance Team”.
Gerard choreographed his first dance for the very first workshop at which he taught. “It was such a thrill to see dancers doing a dance that I had worked on for HOURS!” he said, “But my biggest choreography challenge was working with two young synchronized swimmers who wanted to add a ‘country’ flair to a competition routine…line dancing in the water!! It looked great in the end – they even wore cowboy hats before they dove into the pool!” Gerard has now written twenty dances. His first big hit entitled “Gypsy Fever” won him 1st Runner Up for Eastern Canada Choreography at the 1999 North Country/Rick Tippe Outstanding Dance Achievement Awards.
Gerard Murphy is a talented Canadian choreographer to watch for. He is a also a patient and lively instructor, with a whacky sense of humour who obviously enjoys teaching and people. So keep your eyes open for a long-legged Newfoundlander jigging his way to your local line dance club!
John discovered country dancing in 1993 while visiting Nashville for a work-related trade show. He started taking lessons and dancing socially at the Grizzly Rose Saloon in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
By 1995, John was instructing freestyle couples, pattern partner, and line dances three nights a week to hundreds of eager students. He introduced west coast swing and cha cha to the area, as well as line dances from (then) up-and-coming choreographers such as Scott Blevins.
In 1998, John decided to become a full-time traveling instructor. Since then, he has toured the United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan; with additional appearances in Canada, Ireland, Finland, Holland, Mexico, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Austria.
John was recognized as Instructor of the Year at the North American Open Dance Championships in October 2001. He has been nominated for seven UCWDC Star Awards, including Favorite Personality, Favorite Line Dance Choreographer, and Favorite Line Dance Instructor (which he won in 2004 and 2008).
John has also received seven Dancer’s Choice Awards for Male Instructor, Male Choreographer, Male Personality, and Show Stopper. In 2008, he was inducted into the Linedancer Magazine Hall of Fame.
Who would have believed that an evening class in line dancing at a local school in Toronto fifteen years ago would have caused such a major life change, but it did so for me. From that first evening I was hooked and I have never looked back. An avid dancer from a young age, I delighted in this new form of dance and expanded my interest and love twelve years ago to include choreography and instruction. Since that time I have written over 70 dances and have been privileged to have many dances published and my dance “Clap Your Hands” nominated for “Beginner Dance of the Year” at the 2005 Dancers’ Choice Awards in Vegas. More recently “Soft & Slow”, “On My Mind”, “Small Stuff”, “Dance Zone”, “Ami Oh”, “Pirate On The Run”, “No Tricks”, “Our First Love”, “Let’s Chill”, and “Latin Crazy” have been popular world wide. The most popular YouTube Video is “My Heart Won’t Let Go” (written with Fred Buckley & Double Trouble) which has had over 155,000 views.
Initially instruction was not on my agenda, but I was invited to teach my dances and have now taught at events across Canada, the US, the UK, Japan, Australia and more recently in France. It was an absolute thrill and incredible honour when I was awarded the Dancers’ Choice Award for Female Instructor of the Year 2006, which was presented at the Vegas Dance Explosion, and nominated again for the same award in 2007. I was greatly touched that so many dancers nominated and voted for me and very much appreciated their support. My aim with my instruction is to try to ensure that all of the dancers in my classes gain confidence in their ability to learn and that the process is fun. I want them all to leave my class with smiles on their faces.
Derek Steele was introduced to country line dancing in 1994 by his mother Hertha Steele who was a Line Dance Instructor. Derek started by helping his mother carry in the equipment and other items each week into her local classes. Derek continued to help by deejaying her monthly dances and small workshops. Not long after deejaying a few dances, Derek realized that there were way more women than men on the floor and decided to begin learning how to dance himself.
In 1995 Derek decided to choreograph his own dance, but with his own rules. Whiney Whiney was a 28 count, non-country music circle dance. Keep in mind in 1995 there was very little if any non-country music used, not to mention we were line dancers and he decided to create a “circle” line dance. It was later that year Derek attended one of his very first workshops in Kitchener Ontario hosted by Mary Hoedeman along with Max Perry and Jo Thompson. It was there “Whiney Whiney” was danced socially which then led to them asking him to teach the dance that afternoon. This was the beginning of the adrenaline rush .
In 1998 Derek had his first experience with the UCWDC in Toronto, where he was introduced to the world of competition in choreography and line dance. Derek went on to win a number of choreography competitions as well as Male Open Novice and Male Open Renegade. It was in that same year that Bill McLeod gave Derek his first opportunity to teach at the UCWDC level. It was this chance moment that Derek met his future wife Tiffany.
In 2003 Derek retired from dancing to spend time with his wife Tiffany and son Dylan. That would be shorted lived however. Since Tiffany and Derek met dancing, they were meant to keep dancing and in 2010 Derek came back to the scene which was now completely different than how he left it. Once again Derek would get back into competition, and in 2016 won his first UCWDC Choreography World Championship with the dance “Shades On Inside”. He would follow that up with wining two more consecutive World Championships in 2017 and 2018.
Derek’s choreography has and is being taught and danced around the world. Some dances include “Whiney Whiney”, “At It Again”, “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”, “Uma Thurman”, “Play That Song” and “Music To My Eyes”. Derek has collaborated with a number of different choreographers and thanks each and every one of them for that opportunity. A special thank you to his mother Hertha, wife Tiffany, son Dylan for always being at his side and pushing him to do better. John Robinson, Dennis and Carol Waite, Bill McLeod, Jamie Marshall, Jo Thompson, Judy McDonald, Scott Blevins, and Max Perry for being the inspirations they were and continue to be. Derek would also like to thank anyone else who has helped him to continue to do what he loves either through hiring, promoting, teaching or dancing his choreography.
“I am beyond excited and honored to be a part of Dance For A Cure 2019. I have attended the past few years and it is truly one of my favorite events of the year and I look forward to it each year. So many friendly people and such a great cause all at one fabulous event. I can’t wait to dance and hang out with everyone.”
Jo Thompson Szymanski
Considered the “Queen of Line Dance”, Jo Thompson Szymanski has made quite an impact on dance floors worldwide. This year, she celebrates 35 years of teaching line and couples dancing! The whole Thompson family started teaching country couples and line dancing in 1980. Jo’s big break to worldwide fame came in the mid 1990’s through hosting her own show Danceline on The Nashville Network. Many of you might remember Jo’s big Texas hair, tight leggings and cowboy boots! She guest hosted TNN’s Club Dance and the Wildhorse Saloon TV shows as well as dance contests all over the world for Country Music Television (CMT). Jo was Miss Texas 1987, placed top ten at Miss America and holds a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and Dance. Jo was voted 5 time International Line Dance Instructor of the Year and was one of the first two people (with Max Perry) to be inducted into the Line Dance Hall of Fame at the 1999 UK Crystal Boot Line Dance Awards. She has won many United Country Western Dance Council (UCWDC) Star Awards, Dancer’s Choice Awards and in 2012 was inducted into the UCWDC Hall of Fame. In addition to line and couples dancing, Jo’s teaching and dancing experience includes Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Swing, Salsa, Ballroom, Square Dancing, Round Dancing, Clogging, and Latin. She has taught throughout the world and dances that she choreographed/co-choreographed such as Come Dance With Me, Midnight Waltz, Just For Grins, Dizzy, Jukebox, Splish Splash, Enchantment, Por Ti Sere, Cut-A-Rug, Rita’s Waltz, Jo n Jo Tango, Hideaway Cha, MJ Moves, TGIF, Tango Cha, Dog-gone Blues, Shoes of Another Man, Through the Fire, Showstopper, Kreedom, This Little Light, Wrong Side Slide, Wakey Wakey, Yes! and the list goes on and on and are favorites with dancers everywhere. Jo, along with singer/songwriter Scooter Lee, co-founded Dancing for the Dream Senior Line Dance Charity to help promote the many health benefits of line dancing as we age.
Jo’s life was practically picture perfect! However, in November of 2004, while pregnant, Jo was diagnosed with a very rare, life threatening bone marrow disease, Aplastic Anemia. Also affected were her joints leaving her unable to walk, much less dance! 2 total hip replacements, 5 shoulder surgeries, one knee surgery and a successful bone marrow/stem cell transplant later, Jo is back to dancing, teaching and feels great! She thanks to the dance community for the tremendous support throughout her journey. Jo along with her husband Tim and their 10 year old daughter Anna live in Denver, Colorado.
I am thrilled and honored to be a part of Dance For The Cure 2016! I have heard so many great things about this event. Thank you Jill and Julie for the opportunity to finally experience it in person! I look forward to seeing many friends and making lots of new ones at this wonderful event. Warm hugs to you all!
Years: 2016, 2019
Junior Willis is from Bean Station, Tennessee. He has been line dancing since 1992 and has been teaching workshops on the line dance circuit since 2000. His first dance experience was as a clogger at the age of 8. He competed and performed with several clogging teams for over 19 years and won many team, duo, and individual events. His highest award earned was 5th in the world, in individuals.
Clogging eventually led Junior into line dancing. Some of his best known line dances include: Faith In Love, Gallery, and Dancer’s Night Out (The Butt Dance). He started his teaching at a local dance event known as the Rocky Top Classic in 1999, held by Cindy Venerable. It was there that he met Joanne Brady, Bill McGhee, and Max Perry. He entered the choreography competition and won the country division his first year. His next event was the same one held in Knoxville, TN in the year 2000. He entered the choreography competition again and won both country and non-country divisions. He then heard of other workshops such as the Tarheel Line Dance Classic held in North Carolina by Scott Hucks. He and his dance team sent in their registrations to join in on the fun. He once again entered the choreography competition there and won the non-country division with a dance called “Dirty Pop”. He also met instructors/directors Mike and Betty Weeks, Olivia Ray, and the one and only John Robinson. This opened the door for Junior and he asked to teach at three other events from this weekend. The first being Mike and Betty’s event they had in Richmond in which it was for their wedding. He was also asked to instruct at Olivia Ray’s event also held in Virginia, and has taught at this event every year since.