The 2018 Ft. Wayne Dance for All is in the books and what a great “read!”  Barney and I want to thank everyone who attended.  We realize there are dance opportunities every weekend and we sincerely appreciate your love and support. As you know, the Ft. Wayne Dance for All is a one-of-a-kind event that offers line dance, couples, ballroom, clogging, pattern partner, ZUMBA and specialty classes.  We were honored to host over 730 dancers throughout the weekend.

As friends arrived early Thursday morning to offer their help, things began to take shape.  (We have amazing volunteers!)  Almost 12,000 square feet of dance floor was laid in six different ballrooms.  Schedules were posted; vendors were sitting up, balloons were being blown up, lobby tables were decorated with games, puzzles and photo albums of the last several years’ events…“DANCE WAS IN THE AIR”!  We were celebrating ten years at the Grand Wayne.  Their staff set up a beautiful photo area with a stage, huge banner, curtains, balloons and Tony Bennett!  It was amazing.  (We’re sure you probably saw it in a photo on FB.)

Our fabulous staff (Jo Thompson-Szymanski, John Robinson, Jason Miklic & Sophy Kdep, Jill Babinec, Michael Diven, Jessica Bryant-Fields, Amy Glass, Bracken Ellis, Jason & Amy Barnes, Melissa Culbertson, Derek Steele, Alice Daugherty, Tim Hand, Eddie Bowles, Karen Mudge, Patrick Fleming, Betty Moses, David Fennig, Donna Caudill, Bev Carpenter, Earleen Wolford, Tina Foster, Machelle Cook-Holloway, Lynn Card, Judy McDonald, Nelson Clark, Pam & Eagle Lindsey, Aijaye Crowder, JP Potter, Ken Dillard) were ready to bring great workshops and nightly dance parties for everyone’s enjoyment.   The workshop schedule included 66 line dances, 3 clogging, 3 hustle, 11 west coast swing, 2 east coast swing, 3 cha-cha, 6 two-step, 3 night club 2, 3 waltz, 1 rumba, 2 triple two, 1 jitterbug, 2 hip hop, 2 tango, 2 salsa, 15 pattern partner, 2 zumba, 1 t-shirt cutting and design, and 1 choreography/step sheet workshop.  Nightly dancing was held in 4 ballrooms:  Main, All Requests, Pattern Partner and Couples.  (There will be NO teaching during nightly dance parties next year.  We were not aware this happened this year.)  We are looking to add a “Nightly Review” room in 2019.

Rachel Lipsky ( was our official sponsor for the 2018 Ft. Wayne Dance for All Choreography Exhibition.  Our Choreography Exhibition continues to be the largest in the United States.  We had 54 entries, pretty well evenly divided in four divisions (Beginner; Improver; Intermediate/Advanced; Phrased).  Winning entries for each division and the overall winner took home $100 and a customized light-up award! Rachel joined us for the weekend and was a guest judge for the special division offered for dances choreographed to her music.  The expression on her face was priceless as nine different dances to four different songs were presented.  Congratulations to Megan Barsuglia and Bracken Ellis (Bad Girl Barbie) for winning first place, taking home $250; Patrice Serianni (Just Set My Heart on Fire) for second place, taking home $150 and Patrick Fleming (Sinfully Delicious) for third place, taking home $100 (each selected a different song – that’s pretty exciting)!  Please be sure to follow Rachel on Spotify!  Of course, we want to thank everyone for their support and congratulate our winners:  Beginner Division:  Chris Gonzalez – K is for Kicks; Improver Division:  Meghan James – Hunt Your Down; Intermediate/Advanced:  Kerry Maus – Boy; Phrased: Kerry Maus – All Katchi, All Night Long; Overall:  Chris Gonzalez.

The Saturday night show at the Ft. Wayne Dance for All is something that everyone looks forward to seeing.  This year’s “That’s Entertainment” was just that…ENTERTAINING!  The staff never fails to deliver something special to our guests.  This year’s performances reflected on entertainment from each decade starting with 50’s.  The opening number was a high energy routine to “That’s Entertainment” featuring couples and line dancers.

50’s:  As Jo and John sat in a living room setting talking about how technology has changed the world, everything went dark during a thunder storm.  Of course in discussing entertainers during the 50’s, who else could dancers honor except the “King” himself?  Everyone laughed when John revealed his ELVIS self before joining Jo and our line dancers for “Hound Dog.”

60’s:  Barney narrated as he sat on the couch…surprising guests and especially Jamie, by wearing a pair of leggings. He spoke of favorite TV shows and recalled when the Ft. Wayne Dance for All tricked guests by the Survivor theme turned out to be “Gilligan Island”.   But when he announced that his all-time favorite variety entertainment was The Carol Burnett Show…guests had no idea what was coming.  Jill, Alice and Tim were absolutely hilarious in the famous dentist skit.  (Video on FB)

70’s:  Couples took to the living room to talk about their upcoming performances at the 2018 Ft. Wayne Dance for All when Sophy insisted for everyone to put away their devices and socialize…not social media!  Everyone had to name a favorite show from the 70’s.  As dancers, we all know that it was the fun music and moves of Disco that we remember the most.  Couples performed a great hustle routine to a special dance mix of “Stayin’ Alive.”

80’s:  (Jamie’s favorite skit) Jo and John recalled great sitcoms and crime dramas that ranked high in the 80’s.  Dancers know that it was the music of Michael Jackson that changed the industry.  As quoted in the show “Michael Jackson is truly a legend and “King of Pop”, but Prince was the exceptional entertainer.”  As a tribute to Prince, Aijaye Crowder captivated guests with his “When Doves Cry” performance.  Next, the ladies took the floor with a fun, sassy routine to “Kiss”.  The guys came next with their cool dance moves to “1999”.  Of course, it would not be about Prince unless it includes “Purple Rain”.  Couples choreographed a nightclub two routine that you couldn’t take your eyes away from the dance floor.  BUT, what really made this routine (and show) different from all others…the house lights went down and the spotlight came to center floor as Jamie’s brother, Ryland (dressed as Prince), took the floor to play an amazing guitar solo of Purple Rain. Purple glow sticks were distributed prior to the show.  When the room went dark, everyone waved their glow sticks as this classic song was played.  (Ryland is so talented…guests thought he was just doing the air-guitar…until it was mentioned afterwards.) (We are hoping to be able to post this video soon.)

90’s:  Barney returned to the couch to remind us of the OJ, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the fear of Y2K.  Lucky for us, we had Saturday night entertainment in skits from Saturday Night Live to offer some laughs during some unsettling times.  Derek and Michael were the perfect team as they mimicked Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar in “Wayne’s World”.  They were “MOST EXELLENT”…”PARTY ON”!  Their discussion highlighted the top 5 reasons to come to Fort Wayne, IN in March.  (Of course #1 was The Ft. Wayne Dance for All.)  Nelson and Jason Barnes brought laughs in their Spartan Cheerleader costumes for their tryouts for the squad.  Their cheer, “Spartan Checkup” was too funny!  Amy Barnes, entered as the “mean cheerleader” to show them what it takes to be on the squad.  In the end, all three agreed it would be great for them to work together and perform the perfect cheer (a 3-some WCS)!

2000’s:  Yes…it was Y2K and things needed to be explained.  The Y stands for “year”, the K stands for “Kilo” (thousand).  The year 2000 – the 1000th and last year of the 2nd millennium, the 100th and last year of the 20th century and the 1st year of the 2000s decade.  You need a wizard to try to figure all this out…that’s when Harry Potter, or should we say “Harry Potters” took the floor.  The final performance by the staff, dressed in black capes and circle glasses, took us to “Hogswart” to learn a crazy new dance move “The Hippogriff.”  Ryland joined for another guitar solo as instructors “head bopped” before grabbing a few guests to join them on the dance floor.  …the feeling in the room was what every event direct seeks…FUN, SMILES, CLAPPING HANDS, ENTERTAINMENT!

As the applause calmed, Barney and Jamie took center floor to thank everyone for coming and to announce the theme for 2019 (February 28-March 3).  “No Time to Sleep…it’s Time to Dance at Ft. Wayne”.  Jo, dressed as Snow White, appeared for a sweet, soft solo.  The 7 Dwarfs came out (even if one of them was 6’5” (Jason B) to dance to Disney’s “Whistle While You Work” before the entire staff joined in for the finale of “Whistle” (While You Work it.)

“That’s Entertainment” was a complete success thanks to all the hard work and dedication by our amazing staff and volunteers.

Each year an instructor who excels in their commitment to ensure the Ft. Wayne Dance for All continues to be one of the BEST events, is recognized.  This year’s special award went to Tina Foster.  Tina works hours in creating the perfect balloon decorations, co-hosted the beginner room, always does her homework for the show and goes above and beyond.  Thank you Tina Foster!

After the show, a Jack and Jill comp was offered in the couples’ ballroom.  It was a full house!  Two divisions were offered:  Novice or Intermediate.  $5 entry with all monies returned to the winners.  Congratulations to the winners and we hope to continue the fun in 2019!

We still have a few step description books available ($15 (includes postage).  DVDs are also available for all workshops and the show.  If interested, please email

Please visit soon for details, flyer/registration and hotel information for the 2019 event.  Again, we thank you for your support and we promise another great dance weekend.  Please mark your calendars now for February 28 – March 3, 2019!  Spread the love!

Jamie & Barney Marshall