Position: Studio Director / Owner Place of Birth: Fort Smith, Arkansas Favorite Food: I like all kinds of food except oysters but truthfully I love a big mac! Favorite Music: Jazz Favorite Dance: I like every dance but prefer the rhythm dances. Competition Style: Rhythm and Smooth!!! What I Love most about teaching? I loved being a teacher because of the joy that you see on someone's face when they are feeling the accomplishments they have been working so hard on. I get that same warm and fuzzy feeling now when I see a teacher have that look of pride when they see that same look of joy on someone's face. I definitely appreciate what they are feeling when they teach. Who I admire the most and why? I admire my mother because of her dedication to helping animals. She is the director of the Sebastian County Humane Society and spends all of her time trying to educate people in caring for pets, providing better care and a nice stopping place until they can find their forever homes. She is the strongest person I know. One thing most people do not know about me is … I can't sing but everyone thinks I can because I do it all the time. They just think I am trying to be funny!!! Bio:The Denver dance studio is owned by Mary Jo Hansen. She has been with Fred Astaire Dance Studios since 1991. Her family spent many evenings watching reruns of Fred Astaire. Having danced herself since she was 8, getting into the Fred Astaire Organization was a dream come true.
Mary Jo's favorite thing about the dance business is people. She loves helping develop their talents no matter what level of dancer that they are. She says "seeing the excitement on their face, whether it's because they just learned a box step or placed first in a National Competition is always a wonderful experience for a teacher to have. I don't think I'll ever get used to it."
She has been recognized for her talent as an instructor many times. She has been one of the Top Female Instructors winning The Coveted Freddy Award all but 2 years of her career. She was the first and only female instructor to win Top Teacher Overall in a National Competition, beating all the male instructors, in the history of Fred Astaire Dance Studios.
Mary Jo was named the Top Female Competitive Instructor for 2003 with one of her students being named Top Male Competitor 2003 at The Astaire Awards Ball in Chicago. Her talents as Instructor speak for themselves.
She has received many awards for her schools achievement as well as the Freddy Award for Top Studio.
Mary Jo love being in the Fred Astaire Organization. Her goal is to provide an environment for students and staff where they can feel free to express themselves through the beauty of ballroom dance and to provide a dance studio that Fred Astaire himself would be proud of!!!
Position: Westminster Studio Director Place of Birth: Denver, Colorado Favorite Food: I enjoy all types of food! Favorite Music: Elvis Baby! Favorite Dance: Foxtrot. It is a very suave and classic dance. Competition Style: American Smooth & Rhythm What I Love most about teaching? I love seeing that "awe" moment in a student's eyes. I know that I've gotten through to them and feel a great sense of accomplishment when that happens. Who I admire the most and why? My Parents. As I grow older, I continue to gain a large respect for what they have done for me and the values they have instilled. One thing most people do not know about me is … I'm a huge sports fanatic, especially for the Denver Broncos! Bio:Kristina has always enjoyed performing and grew up dancing for fun. As she moved into High School, she began to explore the world of theater and musicals.
Her first ballroom class was actually a PE class in college. It sparked an interest that Kristina was able to transfer into her career at FADS.
Kristina started college for teaching and has found that Fred Astaire Dance Studios allows her to combine her two interests of helping others learn and performance.
She has taught for five years, during which she was able to complete, perform in shows and share her knowledge with her students. She moved in to management training within her first six month in the studio and was name the Rocky Mountain Top Manager in 2008.
Position: Dance Instructor Place of Birth: Thousand Oaks, California Favorite Food: Pepperoni Pizza Favorite Music: Alternative rock, mixed with light Screamo Favorite Dance: Rumba-Love Latin motion and I always feel sexy dancing ;“La Rumbaaaa”. Competition Style: Rhythm and Smooth!!! What I Love most about teaching? It's helping my students and find a new passion ;in their lives - whether they are younger or older. I love how dancing ;can affect my students' lives and moods in a good way, in and even more outside, the studio. Who I admire the most and why? Not a who... something I admire most ;would be Mother Nature. I think the way life and earth work together has ;a big impact on how people think and act. One thing most people do not know about me is … I am actually a pretty good singer and know how to play the guitar :)!!!
Position: Dance Instructor Place of Birth: Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine Favorite Food: Sandwiches. “If you can fit it between two pieces of bread, it’s golden.” Favorite Music: Euro-pop! Favorite Dance: Tango!
Competition Style: Smooth & Rhythm! What I Love most about teaching? I enjoy interacting with students and making their dreams come to life Who I admire the most and why? I admire my step parents the most. After already having children of their own and busy schedules they were more than willing to raise 3 extra kids as their own. The love, compassion, and dedication that they gave my brother, sister and I allowed us to pursue our dreams! Bio:Dustan was an athlete from an early age. He played everything from hockey to tennis to baseball, before settling on international football (soccer) in his teens and 20s. He was given several opportunities to play both keeper and center back in Germany, France and USA.
Unfortunately, a series of injuries forced him to hang up his cleats and seek something new to fill the need for competition that organized sports previously provided. Enter ballroom dancing.
Immediately upon relocating to Colorado in 2011, Dustan began pursuing dancing with the ultimate goal of competing in ballroom.
Taking his first dance step at the same studio in which he now teaches, he quickly found a passion for the technical aspects that encompass ballroom.
Within a year, he had accomplished everything he had set out to do as an amateur and has since set his sights on growing within the ballroom world as a professional.
Position: Dance Instructor Place of Birth:Bloomington, Indiana Favorite Food: Tacos al pastor, Kimbap, Bulgogi, anything grass fed! Favorite Music: Extremely eclectic taste including, but not limited to: Edvard Grieg, Fleet Foxes, Count Basie, Hank, all terrible synth pop/80's in an ironic yet endearing way. Favorite Dance: Foxtrot & Cha Cha Competition Style: Fierce (American Rhythm & Smooth) What I Love most about teaching? I have finally found something to devote my life to that is both very rewarding and very challenging. The sincere, idiosyncratic investment that students and I share with one another is motivation in its purest form and pushes me to be the best teacher, dancer and person I can be. Also, I thoroughly enjoy torturing everyone with my bad humor. Who I admire the most and why? If we are acquainted, you will have already developed a keen admiration and or pity for my parents. If ever I have complained about anything, it certainly wasn't my place to. Mom and Pops managed to shape this headstrong, intransigent nincompoop into a respectable gentleman. One thing most people do not know about me is … I fell out a window and was locked out of the house when I was two years old. The floor was lava!!! Bio:Once upon a time, Zach was a little tike that did nothing but rough house with his brothers out of doors, challenging the neighborhood to backyard football and anything involving a ball or wheels.
He remembers the calamity–the time when mother grounded them from playing basketball–that moment when mother finally found an effective way to punish the boys and leveled up her parenting skills.
Being a kid at heart, now and always, Zach still embodies the curiosity and determination of that sinewy rascal that was always seeking new challenges and friendship (and is still a pain in the Astroturf).
Dancing came about in college for Zach. It started as a hobby, something to do after Rowing practice at night, and soon grew to collegiate competitions on the Ballroom team.
After many years of college, success in entrepreneurship, traveling for over a year and the plethora of trials and tribulations that face a man in finding his place in the world, he found Fred Astaire and people crazy enough to stay in an enclosed area with him for long amounts of time.
Position: Dance Instructor Place of Birth: Boulder, Colorado Favorite Food: Home Cooking! Favorite Music: All kinds, but mostly classic rock Favorite Dance: Tango Competition Style: Rhythm and Smooth What I Love most about teaching? I started my dancing as a student at Fred Astaire and completely fell in love. Having been a student myself, I have a unique understanding of my students and I enjoy sharing my love of dancing with them. Who I admire the most and why? My mother. With all the trials we have faced, she has been a strong pillar in my life and has taught me to be strong and push through challenges. One thing most people do not know about me is … I do not like having my picture taken!!! Bio:Heather's schooling career consisted of 8 years of private school, 1 year of public school and 4 years of home school. After graduating from high school she joined the Institute of Integrative Nutrition where she became a certified health coach. She then started her own business.
Finding that all of this was not enough, she decided to take up ballroom dancing. Having never danced before, she started at Fred Astaire as a student. She then took her dancing to the next level by becoming a professional dancer/instructor.
Currently she has been in 3 showcases in which she danced a tango, a novelty, a waltz, and a cha cha. She has also participated in a Team Match in which she danced in the novice, mixed novice, mixed smooth and mixed rhythm categories. And though she has not yet been to a competition, it is a goal she is actively pursuing.
So, even as she continues to grow her own business, she is also actively growing as a professional dancer.
Position: Dance Instructor Place of Birth: Denver, Colorado Favorite Food: I'm not too picky, but I love a good steak or sushi! Favorite Music: I listen to everything! Favorite Dance: Viennese Waltz, Rumba, Tango, & Bolero Competition Style: American Smooth & Rhythm What I Love most about teaching? I love helping people discover that they can do more than they ever thought they could. Who I admire the most and why? Out of everyone I've met, I admire my sister most. Through everything, she has taught me to never give up, never give in, and always keep a smile on your face. One thing most people do not know about me is … I really don't like the color pink!!! Bio:Amanda began her career at 4 years old. As a highly accomplished competitive figure skater, she began dancing as a way to supplement her skating.
After 12 years of home school, travel all over America, over 90 medals/awards and countless hours spent on the ice, she turned to focus on her dancing.
Amanda found her love for teaching through instructing children at her previous studio. After a year of teaching 2-7 year olds, she was asked to teach dancers her own age and above, both at her studio and at her high school.
Through college, she studied dance and French, and then found Fred Astaire. Her background in ballet, jazz, contemporary and hip hop significantly improves her ballroom skills, and she loves performing, competing, and teaching.
Position: Dance Instructor Place of Birth: Houston, Texas Favorite Food: Mexican Food Favorite Music: Latin Favorite Dance: Salsa Competition Style: Professional Closed/Open. Eventually Open Rhythm What I Love most about teaching? Sharing the knowledge and seeing students grow. Who I admire the most and why? Anyone who does anything and everything to reach their goals. One thing most people do not know about me is … I'm a perfectionist!!! Bio:With a background on Television and Natural Physique Competitor, Lucio was introduced to the Social Dancing scene through Salsa and Latin.
Admiring and taking lessons from some of the best dancers in the States, he immediately began growing his love for dancing as well as his skills.
In 2012, Lucio had the opportunity to compete in the well-known "World Latin Dance Cup" – An international competition in which he placed 3rd with his team.
Having reached his goal in Latin Dance, he soon became interested in learning Ballroom and pursuing his passion. With only 5 months after his very first lesson in Ballroom, he was competing professionally among the best dancers in the genre.
"Seeing great dancers become one with the music, is truly one of my biggest inspirations"
~ Lucio, E.
Position: Parker Studio Director
Place of Birth: Denver, CO Favorite Food: Breakfast food and Mexican food.
Favorite Music: I listen to a lot of different types from blues and jazz to indi rock, and of course anything you can dance to :) Favorite Dance: I enjoy dancing and performing salsa but I really enjoy all of the dances that I teach Competition Style: American Smooth & Rhythm What I Love most about teaching? I love getting to know new people all the time! It's wonderful to be able to share something that has brought so much joy into my life with so many people..
Who I admire the most and why? I admire anyone that works hard to make their dreams come true.
One thing most people do not know about me is … I love music! I love to sing and I even play a little guitar!!!
Position: Dance Instructor Place of Birth: Altus, Oklahoma Favorite Food: Salmon Favorite Music: I enjoy all genres of music!! Favorite Dance: Rumba Competition Style: American Smooth & Rhythm! What I Love most about teaching? I love helping others enjoy music, showing them how to be creative, and putting my focus on others! Who I admire the most and why?My mom, because she has always supported me and helped me to chase after my dreams.
One thing most people do not know about me is … I lived in Alaska!
Bio:Lyndsy was born in Oklahoma and grew up in Minnesota. She has been dancing for several years and loves to teach. Lyndsy started ballroom dancing and training soon after her mother introduced her to it for a birthday celebration. She attended college in Oklahoma for Music Composition and continues to write music for ballets all over the country.
Position: Dance Instructor Place of Birth: Amory, MS Favorite Food: Steak, Medium-Rare Favorite Music: Rock, Country and pretty much anything that moves me Favorite Dance: Tango vs. Waltz Competition Style: American Smooth and Rhythm What I Love most about teaching? When working with a student on a single technique that they haven't quite mastered and they try once again, for what seems like the 100th time. We both hold our breath. Their feet move, their frame holds and their eyes sparkle as they shout, with a beaming smile, "I did it!" It makes it all worthwhile. Who I admire the most and why? Anyone with the courage to admit fear, but step through it. One thing most people do not know about me is … In the 90s, I was one of the people who let the dogs out.
Position: Dance Instructor Place of Birth: St. Joseph Hospital – Denver, Co Favorite Food: Italian Favorite Music: Anything I can dance to! Favorite Dance: Rumba. I feel like I can truly express myself and really get into the character Competition Style: Smooth & Rhythm
! What I Love most about teaching? I love the “ahh ha” moments my students get when they truly understand! Who I admire the most and why?I admire my older brother! He is very driven, dedicated, supportive and always has a strong and positive attitude toward everything.