"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.

Music
Getty Images

Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

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Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

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The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to onstageblog.com, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

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