Chairman of the Judges:
Maria St. John
Lori Woods Gay
Pat Traymore was a franchisee for thirteen years and ran a very successful dance studio. Her love is coaching people and helping them to become better, fun and loving dancers. She judges many competitions and travels extensively to coach.
Pat Traymore has experienced every facet of the dance business. Fifty-five years in the business, she has been chairperson of a dance board for 13 years, and a traveling dance consultant and judge. She and her partner were regular performers at New York City’s “Tavern on the Green” for 7 years. She has performed on the Johnny Carson Show, Merv Griffin and Harry Belafonte Shows. Her favorite work is working with students to help them reach their full potential. She also speaks five languages: Farsi, French, Russian, German and Italian and can coach in four of them.
Tatiana Kazakova, a Professional Ballroom Dancer, has been dancing since age seven. As a teen she was a two-time Ukrainian National Junior and Youth Latin Champion and was a Ukrainian National Amateur Latin and 10-Dance Finalist. In 1999, she moved to Russia and became a member of the Russian Dance Union where she was finalist in the Grand Prix Series while representing Russia in International Dance Championships around the world. In 2005, she move to the United States and quickly became a Professional Rising Star and Open Latin Champion in many major competitions.
Tatiana continues to train and mentor amateur students as well as professional instructors in advanced and expert levels of Latin and Ballroom dance.
She is a NDCA and USA Dance Championship Adjudicator, A+B+C+D+E+.
Wendy Johnson is a former New Zealand Ballroom and Latin Champion who is now a world-renowned coach, choreographer, emcee and adjudicator. In addition to her Ballroom training, she has had 10 years of ballet training, winning many prestigious competitions in both Ballet as well as Ballroom and Latin.
Wendy is a world-class adjudicator having judged in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Spain and the U.S.A.
Wendy Johnson is a well known choreographer, having coached Cheryl Burke, Nick and Lena Kosovich, Tony Dovolani and Elena Grinkenko, Alec Mazo and Edyta Sliwinska, J.T. Thomas and Tomas Mielnicki as well as many other famous dance stars.
She is a 3-time winner of Choreographer of the Year for North America and has recently choreographed for several seasons of ABC's hit television show, "Dancing with the Stars". She has even debuted a new Broadway/Ballroom show for a cruise line. Her forte is choreographing and producing shows for theater and Ballroom venues.
During his competitive career, Sam is credited along with two other dance compatriots, with forever changing the look of International Latin. Sam’s influence is still felt in the ripples and body rolls of today’s Latin champions. However, when he hung up his dance shoes, Sam’s contributions became more extensive.
His first venture into competition organizing began with a one-day event that catapulted into the national spotlight with the airing of ‘Championship Ballroom Dancing’ on PBS . The Ohio Star Ball is now one of six competitions that Sam organizes. In each venue, Sam strives to bring new challenges and more opportunities to Dancesport competitors
Sam is also the creator of the Hip Lift Technique. His objective was to save what was unique about American Rhythm, yet develop a technique that would be extremely viable and have a lasting impact for the current competitive times. In late 2007, Sam began training Decho Kraev and Bree Watson. He spent six years refining his method- the Hip Lift Technique. Decho and Bree ultimately became 3X U.S. American Rhythm Champions using the HLT method. “Proof is in the pudding,” says Sam.