25th Annual Black Hills Dance Festival April 22-24, 2021
Considered the “Queen of Line Dance”, Jo Thompson Szymanski has made quite an impact on dance floors worldwide. This year, she celebrates 37 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. Line 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, Rose Garden, 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!, Cliché Love Song, Ain’t Misbehavin’…and the list goes on and on…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, 6 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 12-year-old daughter Anna live in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
Dave began dancing when he was just ten years old at home with his father and mother, who were
acclaimed ballroom dance competitors and instructors. He continued training throughout his teen years,
in Ballet, Ballroom, Latin, Jazz and Modern Dance until age 18. Following a brief sabbatical from dance
to meet his miltary obligation and pursuit of his hobbies in; roller hockey, pair’s figure skating,
endurance riding, and rodeo sports and parachuting. Dave returned to the dance floor in 1983 as a
competitive dancer and trained under the guidance of various world champions in Ballroom, Modern
Dance, Country Western, West Coast Swing and Latin.
Dave’s passion for teaching has crisscrossed the United States, Canada, and South America.
As a choreographer, Dave is deeply in tune with both the adult and child perspectives, creating dance
routines that capture students' enthusiasm, depth, humor and competitive spirit - whatever their age!
Machelle has been teaching Social Dance since she took lessons from an "old" Arthur Murray Instructor in the late 70"s in
Missoula Montana! In the early 80's, she moved to Wyoming to be a a traveling Dance Instructor! She traveled all over Wyoming, landing in Casper
and taught Ballroom and Country Swing, and Line dancing, too. In 1983 getting married and later having 2 kids slowed down the traveling but allowed her family to open a Family Dance Club!
Presently teaching @ Casper College, The Eagles, The Senior centers and more! As owner of The Reception Connection, Machelle is a DeeJay and Dance Instructor for
all kinds of parties and runs her family business 6 days weeks behind bars, LOL (it's a Check Cashing Center)! Ask her, she will travel to Dance or DJ. As your DJ and one of the instructors,
please let me know your favorite songs or dances at the dance or email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or FB Country Swing, Ballroom, and Line Dancing classes!
Stephanie Anderson started line dancing, and couples dancing with Machelle Holloway when she was 16yrs old. She competed in line dancing when she was 17-18yrs old. She has competed and performed in the local Dancing with the Stars of Casper, which is a fundraising event for the Mercer Family Resource Center in Casper WY. Over the years she has also dabbled in dance forms such as Jazz, Modern, and Clogging. She enjoys traveling to dance festivals all over the US. She lives in Casper Wyoming with her old son, and two cats. I'm a school nurse for the Natrona County School District. I teach Beginner and Advance Line Dance classes at the Elks Lodge in Casper WY.
Wendy Pollock began dancing in 1992 during her senior year of high school with Machelle Holloway in Casper, Wyoming at Club Dance West. She started with line dancing and added couples dancing to her repertoire fairly quickly. She was part of the Dance West Express dance team from Club Dance West and served as a team captain for several years. In college, she continued her passion for dance and worked with Don Roberts helping to teach the community education classes in Laramie. She continued to build her dance base working with Joe and Linda Fabian in Wheatland, WY after graduation. She has competed in line dance and couples dance through the WSDC, and UCWDC organizations. She competed in pro-am competitions with Joe Fabian during the late 2000's and has continued to participate in jack and jill competitions at the dance events she attends. She has taught dance classes in the past in line dancing and couples dancing in Casper as well as events in Billings, MT and Rapid City. Wendy loves attending dance events around the country when she is able and loves to be on the dance floor. Shortly before the COVID lock downs she achieved Intermediate status on the west coast swing jack and jill circuit. She loves to dance and is excited to be back on the dance floor. Wendy is also a full time agriculture teacher and FFA advisor teaching everything from livestock production and horticulture to veterinary science and public speaking. She loves to dance so please don't be shy about asking her out on the dance floor!