Photo by Ryan Kenner.
Jaki’s passion for ballroom dancing came to life at the young age of six when she started traveling and competing with her parents who were both professional Ballroom and Latin dancers. She loved performing and could be found making dance appearances at such venues like the Miss Colorado Pageant.
At age 19, Jaki started teaching part-time in her parents’ studio while going to college and dancing Pro Am International Latin with Tony Dovolani from Dancing with the Stars. It was her immediate love for teaching and competing that molded her dance career from then on. After winning a Bronze medal at the United States Dance Sport Championships in the Ladies ‘A’ division in less than one year of dancing on the circuit, Jaki was well on her way to becoming a professional.
At age 21, Jaki opened her own dance studio, which she named “Best of Ballroom.” She also started competing professionally in American Rhythm. The studio quickly became the highest ranked competitive studio in Colorado. In 2007, Best of Ballroom was ranked 8th top studio in the United States by World Dancesport Series. Furthermore, Jaki was ranked 3rd top female teacher in the nation while making appearances on television as well as being featured in the newspaper for her dance accolades. She also competed in Dancing with the Local Stars held in Colorado Springs, choreographed dozens of sold-out showcases, and further excelled in her professional dancing career, making many finals in American Rhythm.
In early 2010, Jaki moved to New York City in order to replicate not only what she had accomplished in Colorado, but to push herself to new heights. Once settled in the Big Apple, she joined Fred Astaire Dance Studios Westside, where she managed and taught full-time. Among other accomplishments, she was asked to teach at the 2012 Midsummer Night Swing event, held at the Lincoln Center, where over 300 people came to participate in her lesson. She was also featured in the Wall Street Journal and made a TV guest appearance alongside Louis van Amstel on Good Morning America.
Since 2015, Jaki has been competing with her partner, John Campbell, in Professional American Smooth having won multiple titles in both Rising Star and Open. Within two years, Jaki and John placed third at the United States Dance Championships in Orlando, FL and second at Ohio Star Ball within Professional American Smooth Rising Star. They continue to compete nationally and internationally striving to become national champions in the future.
In early 2017, Jaki moved back to Denver, CO to start Ballroom & Beyond with the mission to develop a differentiated ballroom dance studio concept with better quality instruction and services and the vision to expand into multiple locations over time.
Jaki is best known for her hard work and dedication to technique, her creative choreography, and her personal relationships with each individual student. Not to mention her genuine love for dance.