Stepping Out!

Standing atop a stage in front of nearly 3,000 people next to Derek and Julianne Hough, two of the greatest ballroom dancers in America, was the last thing I expected when I woke up last Sunday morning.

I had the exceptional opportunity to attend Derek and Julianne Hough's live tour "Move" at the Durham Performing Arts Center with my grandma. As it was a special occasion, we both decided to dress up. My grandma wore an adorable black and white knee length dress, and I was dressed in a charcoal grey suit with a white french cuff shirt, cuff links, and baby blue bow tie.

As we walked in the door and were ushered to our seats, I quickly realized that we were far overdressed for the occasion. Most of the audience wore jeans... As we took our seats in the front row of the second section, we caught a few surprised glances from passers-by, but otherwise we sat in quiet expectation waiting for the show to begin.

The performance was incredible. The costumes, music, movement and lights created a truly memorable experience. About halfway through the performance, Julianne asked for male members of the audience to raise their hands if they would like to participate in the show. Now as many of you may know, I am not one that enjoys being the center of attention or "putting myself out there", and I initially had no intention of raising my hand. As Julianne and several of her back up dancers stepped out into the audience to grab volunteers, my grandma leans over and whispers, "Jordan, you HAVE to raise your hand".

The thought flashed through my mind, "Eh, why not?" as my hand seemed to raise itself. This thought was quickly chased away by the next, "What in the world did I just do!?" as one of the dancers named Nika walked over, took my hand, and pulled me to my feet.

The next instant I found myself being walked up onto the stage with Nika by my side and 3,000 peoples' eyes on me. As I glanced around, I noticed that two other unsuspecting gentlemen had also made it onto the stage ,waiting as I was, to see what would come next. I stood, suit jacket buttoned, hands clasped tightly behind my back, trying to absorb the moment.

Suddenly Nika leaned over and whispered, "Jordan, when Julianne comes over here and asks you to dance, just do something ok?" Yeah sure! I'm in a suit, on stage in front of 3,000 people and now I have to improv a dance for two ballroom greats!

Julianne walks over to the first gentlemen and asks him to dance. He responded with the very safe two step, made famous by Hitch. As I watched Julianne walk over to me I thought to myself,  here I am in this incredible and totally unforeseen moment, and I had two choices. I could hold back, shy away, and slip back into the background as soon as I could...or I could grab this moment with both hands and throw myself into it.

Standing beside me now, Julianne asks my name. As all these thoughts racing through my mind come to a head I respond, "Jordan".
"Well Jordan, are you ready to dance?"
I had made up my mind. "Absolutely!" I replied as I ripped off my suit jacket and threw it aside!
Nika and I ran toward the center of the stage. As she was freestyling, I kicked myself into an around-the-world.
One moment we were dancing together. The next we were racing up the stairs to a raised platform where we started doing the electric slide, and then shimmying, and then country two-stepping. After what was probably the longest, yet most exhilarating minute of my life, I helped Nika off the platform and bowed as the audience roared their approval.

Unbeknownst to me, this little dance off was being judged. Dazed I was informed that I had won the dance off as the other two gentlemen were ushered offstage.

I was pulled backstage by three of the back up dancers and was told that I was going to be asked back out momentarily and that I should have my camera ready...

As I heard my name echo from the stage, the dancers who were standing with me backstage pulled me up some stairs and out onto a platform raised about 20 feet above the stage looking down on the performers, and facing the entire DPAC audience. I was then asked to sit down on a chair which one of the girls had brought up. They slapped a cowboy hat on me and off they ran.

For the next several minutes I watched enraptured from my perch high atop the stage as the Hough's performed a rip-roaring country-themed routine. As the song faded out, Julianne ran up the stairs and plopped right into my lap and wrapped her arms around me!

So there I found myself, suit, bow tie, cowboy hat and all, with Julianne Hough in my lap, the lovely dancers of the tour at my back, and the camera flashes and applause from the audience in front of me. The next instant the stage faded into darkness.

My mind and my heart were racing trying to capture and savor everything that had just happened as I was ushered off the stage and back to my seat. Throughout the rest of the performance, intermission, as I was leaving after the show, and even in the parking garage I couldn't take more than a few steps without someone accosting me. I shook dozens of hands and posed for a number of pictures with new found fans. I was repeatedly asked if I was part of the act because seemingly my performance was that memorable.

I found myself at home in my room later that evening pondering this incredible turn of events. In a brief moment it was as if the Lord spoke to me and said, this never would have happened if you hadn't had the courage to STEP OUT.

In life I often find myself drifting through life. I give little thought to making an impact, shaking up the status quo, or rocking the boat. This experience showed me in a powerful way that our Father in Heaven WANTS to bless us! He loves us! But many times in order to experience His blessings we have to STEP OUT. Raise your hand, make the leap, ask the questions, or whatever else you're afraid to do. The Lord will meet you and bless you as you step out and allow yourself to be vulnerable.

I'm reminded of the passage in Scripture when Peter stepped out of the boat, out of his comfort zone towards his Savior. In that moment of stepping out the Lord met Peter in a very special and personal way. How is the Lord calling you to STEP OUT? The next time you step out in faith and courage you may find yourself in front of a crowd of 3,000 people as I did, or it may (and most likely will be) a completely different situation, but our Father WILL meet you in that moment and give you courage in ways you have never before dreamed.

I am so looking forward to hearing the testimonies of how God has met YOU as you stepped out in confidence! Please share your stories with me and others!

Masterpiece of Movement

As a professional dancer, I've often been asked how I am able to look so graceful with my partner on the dance floor.

"How do you look so effortless as you dance?"

"What's the secret to dancing with a partner?"

"Do you ever mess up a step?"

"My partner and I could never look like you."

As a ballroom instructor, I have had the opportunity to work with all kinds of different people: other professionals and instructors, children, seniors, teens, singles, married couples, and individuals with special needs...I have loved working with every single student

But there is one kind of student I will never be able to teach....the student who always blames his or her partner.

During my years teaching, I have had an unfortunately high number of disgruntled couples who have come to me to learn how to dance. Most of them have had one thing in partner will explain that he or she knows how to dance, but tells me I need to teach his or her partner how to keep up. At this point in the conversation I am always tempted to say, "Let me save you the time and the money right now and send you home because I won't be able to teach you anything."

This may seem harsh and unprofessional of me to say, but let me first explain my reasoning behind it. Ballroom dancing is an intimate partnership. Ballroom dancing requires a level of trust, understanding, and mutual respect that takes time and work to develop. If both partners are not willing to accept their role in the partnership and work to support and encourage one another they will never truly learn to dance together.

If you've ever closely watched a long-time ballroom couple dance you will notice something subtle, yet incredible. The partners respond to one another's slightest movement. A twist of the hips, a tilt of the head, a gentle pressing of the hand is all that's needed for them to know exactly what to do next.

There is only one way to reach that level of understanding with another person. You have to always be working towards a common goal. It becomes not what I can get from my partner, but how can I help my partner.


What can I do to be more sensitive to his or her touch?

How can I lead more effectively?

How can I follow more easily?

And can I be more in sync with my partner?


When a couple is able to find that common goal together, and after years of dedicated practice, something amazing begins to happen....instead of two individuals dancing, they start to blend together. It becomes difficult to tell where one person ends and the other begins. They have become so in tune with one another that they have become a single flowing, ethereal masterpiece of movement.

Everyone loves the idea of finding that special person, and developing that depth of relationship and intimacy, but how do we capture such an elusive idea in the mundane routines of daily life?

Welcome to my site!


Argentine tango is an illusive and mysterious dance. It defies traditional ballroom timing, frame, and footwork. Many dancers find it to be the most difficult style of ballroom to master. There are few established patterns and it is often danced in complete silence.

Perhaps the most beautiful nuance of the Argentine tango stems from the man's ability to vary the timing or frame at any point in a given step. However, this distinction makes the dance exceptionally difficult to dance well because of the lack of predetermined timing or patterns. To show the true heart of the tango requires a strong and trusting connection between partners.

One afternoon as I was working with one of my dance students, I experienced a moment in time that I will cherish for years to come. In an effort to convey the heart of the Argentine tango to her, I explained that if I could describe this dance in a single word I would use the word "waiting". The dancers can only create the smooth, silky grace of the Argentine tango if the woman has learned to wait. She must wait in calm preparation after each step, ready to step again in whichever direction her partner indicates.

In order to create this remarkable movement and connection each partner must first develop a deep sense of awareness. Even before the dancers move, they must find their awareness...awareness of their posture, their bodies, and their connection with one another. The woman must be able to sense her partner's slightest movement. Then, as her partner asks her to step, she must step deliberately, fully committing her body and her weight to the movement. After responding to her companion's movement by stepping, she must wait...not trying to anticipate the next step...but simply wait.

As I shared these ideas with my student I saw her eyes brighten. "So in order to create these smooth silky movements I have to give up control, stop anticipating, and just listen to what you're asking me to do?" she asked.


Excitedly she asked, "Can we try it!" As I led her through several steps, I noticed her movement had drastically changed. Our steps were smooth and controlled; we moved together almost seamlessly. It was as if we were floating through each step. After several moments, I stopped and asked her what she thought of the new movement. She began to cry as she shared, "That was the most beautiful moment I have ever experienced!"

I quickly realized that we had stumbled upon something special. Rather than continuing with the lesson I had planned, I asked if she would like to continue with the tango. As I watched her tear-filled eyes, she simply nodded, "Yes". We spent the next 40 minutes dancing every Argentine tango step she knew over and over again. We didn't need to talk. We didn't need music. Everything around us faded as we were caught up in the movement.

As our lesson ended she took my hand, looked into my eyes, and whispered, "Thank you, that was life changing."

For days afterwards I pondered this experience. I realized that the same lesson I imparted to my student, is a lesson that the Lord wants to impart to us. As I reflected on my student initially moving through her steps with little thought, I realized that is how I often live my life, on autopilot.

Our Heavenly Father wants to have a passionate, intimate relationship with each one of us. The Argentine tango beautifully symbolizes this kind of relationship. But, as my student discovered in her tango, in order to follow His leading in life, we must find awareness. Awareness of the choices we make in our daily lives, awareness of our relationship with our Father, and we must learn the importance of waiting. We must learn how to wait for the Lord's divine leading. As we learn to move into these areas of awareness, we will find that our connection with the Lord becomes easier, becomes lighter, and becomes clearer. Whether this beautiful picture of relationship and connection is seen through the Argentine tango, or in your spiritual and emotional life, this connection moves us toward the beauty and intimacy that Adam and Eve enjoyed with the Father in the Garden and the intimacy that we will one day experience with our Father in Heaven.