"tWitch" Boss and Allison Holker Have a True Hollywood Love Story

To celebrate Valentine's Day in the most dance-centric way possible, we sat down with five powerhouse dance-teaching couples to talk about their love stories. What do they admire about each other? What are their couple goals and their teaching philosophies, and how do they make their relationships work, especially when they work together? Get ready to swoon!


It's almost too perfect to believe that two of the most popular contestants ever to grace the "So You Think You Can Dance" stage have ended up as a happy couple (married at Nigel Lythgoe's winery, no less). Yet, somehow tWitch Boss and Allison Holker have lived out every dancer's fairy tale. They continue to perform professionally in various capacities, travel with 24 Seven Dance Convention on the weekends, teach for CLI Studios (a company they co-founded with Teddy Forance, Caitlin Kinney and Jon Arpino) and are raising two darling kids along the way.

Allison: We didn't meet until we were All-Stars on Season 7 of "So You Think You Can Dance." I had a crush on him from our first rehearsal together, but I didn't know how to talk to him. I would get so awkward. I would try to flirt with him and send him signals that I was interested, but he was completely oblivious to all of them. We were both so focused on doing a good job as All-Stars on the show that we ended up keeping our attention on that and nothing happened between us. Finally, at the wrap party Stephen came up to me, reached out and took my hand. He walked me upstairs, and we shared a few dances together. We've been dating ever since.

tWitch: Allison and I booked a commercial together that was choreographed and directed by friends of ours. They were so awesome and helped me turn the job into a marriage proposal. We were filming the whole day, and then when we were nearing the end, they asked Allison to leave the room to fill out some paperwork. Meanwhile, we brought her family and friends into the room and filled the entire crew in on what was going to happen. Then she came back in, and we started filming a portion of the commercial where I would freestyle on the table and then bring Allison up to join me. Once she got up there, our song, "I Won't Give Up," came on and we began slow-dancing. Then I turned her around to see that her family had flown in for the proposal as well. Then I got down on one knee and gave her a speech and asked her to marry me. It was really perfect. We got the whole thing on film, and you can see it online. 👇


Allison: Since the first time I ever saw tWitch perform, I have been drawn to this commanding presence about him that is so unique from other performers. He is such a beast onstage, but then has this endearing quality about him that simultaneously exudes love from every part of his body. It's enchanting.

tWitch: Allison is able to make a real connection with her students. Whether it's minis, juniors, teens or seniors, she finds a way to relate to whatever room she walks into. Then, on top of that, she makes the dancers' jaws drop to the floor as soon as she starts performing. When you combine her ability to connect as a teacher, and the fact that she can prove herself as a dancer, it makes her a class knockout. If she doesn't grab your attention one way, she will get you in another.

Allison: My teaching philosophy is that freedom and performance are just as important as technical proficiency. I want my students to learn that they are free to use their uniqueness in their movement, and to love it. I do this by being vulnerable in front of them myself. I don't mind making mistakes or being wild. I am who I am, and I let them see it. I give them the energy I expect from them, and let them know that there is no judgment in my classroom.

tWitch: As a hip-hop teacher, it's really important to me that I incorporate the culture and energy of hip hop into the class. I want them to see that hip hop isn't just a class you take, but a lifestyle you live. If I can teach kids this, then class becomes about the vibe, and having a good time with our friends. I want them to leave knowing how to move with a room, and recognize their individual role in keeping the energy up for everyone else.

Meet the four other couples including Kirven and Antonio Bouthit-Boyd, Simon Ball and Frances Perez-Ball, Randi Kemper and Hefa Tuita and Allison DeBona and Rex Tilton.

Dance News
Getty Images

Dancers are resilient by nature. As our community responds to COVID-19, that spirit is being tested. Dance Teacher acknowledges the tremendous challenges you face for your teaching practice and for your schools as you bring your offerings online, and the resulting financial impact on your businesses.

Perhaps we can take hope from the knowledge of how we've managed adversity in the past. I'm thinking of the dance community in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I'm thinking of 9/11 and how that changed the world. I'm thinking of the courageous Jarrah Myles who kept her students safe when the Paradise wildfire destroyed their homes. I'm thinking of Jana Monson who rebuilt her studio after a devastating fire. I'm thinking of Gina Gibney who stepped in to save space for dance in New York City when the beloved Dance New Amsterdam closed.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored by Dance Teacher Web
Courtesy Dance Teacher Web

While summer usually sparks dreams of warm vacations in the sun, many dance teachers don't have the luxury of taking a week off to lounge by the pool. But what if a stellar educational opportunity for dance instructors just happened to take place in sunny Las Vegas?

The Dance Teacher Web Conference and Expo, happening August 4–7 and founded and directed by longtime successful studio owners and master teachers Steve Sirico and Angela D'Valda Sirico, gives dance teachers and administrators a chance to learn, network and recharge during a one-of-a-kind working vacation. Here, attendees can rub shoulders with esteemed industry professionals, get inspired by a variety of workshops and even walk away with a new certification or two:

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Photo courtesy of Misty Lown

Please join us for a Virtual Town Hall with Misty Lown, owner of More Than Just Great Dancing, an affiliation of 300 studios worldwide, and Youth Protection Advocates in Dance. She's also a dance studio owner of 23 years.

Register here to join the call for Monday, March 30, at 1 pm CST (2 pm, EDT).

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Getty Images

On Wednesday, March 18, I was supposed to return to Juilliard and teach Pilates after a two-week spring break. Instead, I rolled a mat onto my bedroom floor, logged in to Zoom and was greeted by a gallery of 50 small-screen images of young ambitious dancers, trying to make the best of a strange situation. As I began class, I applied our new catchphrase: "Please mute yourself," then asked students to use various hand gestures to let me know how they are coping and how much space they have for movement. I asked dancers to write one or two things they wanted to address in the sidebar, and then we began to move.

This is our new normal. In the midst of grave Covid-19 concerns, dance professors across the country faced university closures and requirements to relocate their courses to the virtual sphere. Online education poses very specific and substantial challenges to dance faculty, but they are finding ways to persist by learning new methods of communication, discovering untapped pedagogical tools, expanding their professional networks, developing helpful new resources and unearthing old ones.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Choreographer Molly Heller with musician Michael Wall. Photo by Duhaime Movement Project

Love electronic music? Calming notes of a piano? Smooth, rich trumpet? Want music in clear meters of 3, or in 7? This week is the ideal time to check out musician Michael Wall's abundant website soundformovement.com. I myself have enjoyed getting to experience his music over the past five years—whether to use in a teen class, older-movers class or for my own MFA thesis choreography.

Keep reading... Show less
Site Network
Courtesy of Wroth

The effects of COVID-19 on college dancers might have been devastating. Performances were canceled, seniors trying to savor every last moment together were left without a graduation ceremony, students were encouraged to go home, and at each moment, a question has sounded: How can a student learn how to become a better performer when they are not allowed to perform?

Here at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, the ballet department rallied quickly and adapted its programming, choosing to see this hiatus as an opportunity to encourage reflection and self-improvement.

Keep reading... Show less
Site Network
Getty Images

As Broadway goes dark and performances are canceled across the country, the financial repercussions of a global pandemic have gone from hypothetical to very real. This is especially true in the dance community, where many institutions are nonprofits or small businesses operating on thin margins, and performers rely on gigs that are being canceled. It's a scary and uncertain time.

Keep reading... Show less
Getty Images

Q: We always seem to lose the most students after our recitals. How do I prevent post-show fallout?

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Getty Images

With studio closures and shelter-in-place restrictions throughout the country this week due to COVID-19 concerns, dancers are putting creative skills to use in a myriad of new ways with each given day and new scenario. If you are stuck at home, consider a few of these projects that frequently get pushed down our long "to do" lists.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Alicia Graf Mack. Photo by Rachel Papo


American Ballet Theatre principal dancer James Whiteside is doing his best to adjust to life at home during the coronavirus outbreak. Watch below for his insights, and see who among the ballet world's best is teaching online, including DT's January cover star and director of The Juilliard School's Dance Division, Alicia Graf Mack (minute 1:07).


Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Nyama McCarthy-Brown leads class. Courtesy of McCarthy-Brown

For the past 20 years, Ohio State University professor Nyama McCarthy-Brown has been advocating for dance pedagogy that embraces students' cultural backgrounds. "When you look at a textbook and all you see is Western-based dances or people moving in ways that point back to a Eurocentric culture, how do you value other cultures?" she asks. "How do we value other cultures when we're not seeing them in every place that we're told is important?"

In her 2017 book Dance Pedagogy for a Diverse World: Culturally Relevant Teaching in Theory, Research and Practice, McCarthy-Brown details her approach, which hinges on researching the cultural backgrounds of the students in the room and teaching with these in mind. Integrating students' cultural practices into dance curriculum, especially in K–12 schools, enables students to be seen and valued, and to have a more positive learning experience.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Photo courtesy of Damrow

Kristin Damrow is a beloved teaching artist in the San Francisco Bay Area. On average, she teaches 15 hours a week with adults and teens of different levels, plus directs her company Kristin Damrow & Company. She is also a tech-savvy artist who makes vlogs and maximizes social-media posts through Facebook and Instagram to support her teaching and choreographic work. Her dance work is already well-connected via technology.

This week we asked Kristin a few questions as she posted her first online teaching video, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak and the closing of all institutions in which she teaches.

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox