Jordan & Tatiana’s Story
Jordan and Tatiana met at the age of 12 at the Worlds Swing Dance Championships in 1995. Tatiana had to be coaxed into doing her first Jack & Jill, where she drew Jordan, and they won against 8 junior couples. This gave Tatiana the confindence to get more involved. It wasn’t long before they became close friends. In December 1998, Jordan and Tatiana started dating. In November 2000, their first year dancing together, they won the U.S. Open Young Adult Division dancing to “I’m Outta Love” by Anastasia. This routine has recently gone viral with over 19 million views.
In 2001, they danced to “Dirty Pop” by N’Sync and won their first year in the Classic Division, making them the youngest couple to win the U.S. Open in an adult division, both at 18 years of age. That record still stands today.
In July 2002, they appeared on Fox TV’s “30 Seconds to Fame” and won $25,000. One year later they appeared twice on CBS TV’s Star Search. Their new routine “Bei Mir” was a combination of blues, beat box, and lindy music, which started their reputation as “Risk Takers.” While choreographing this routine, Jordan and Tatiana broke up after 3 1/2 years. Unlike most relationships, these two broke up on Wednesday, but were teaching together on Friday. At the time, this was the last thing they wanted to be doing. Instead of being able to go their separate ways, they were practicing hours together for the U.S. Open. Smiling on the outside, they were behind closed doors arguing non-stop. One incident that eventually brought them closer was Tatiana breaking her foot 2 weeks before the 2003 U.S. Open. They were unable to dance that year, and now had a new found goal – to come back stronger.
Their 2004 routine, “Waiting for You,” by Seal, started a winning streak that continued for 3-1/2 years straight. It was debuted at Capital Swing in February 2004, which presented the question, “should they take it through the U.S. Open, or dance a new routine, which is the standard in the West Coast Swing community?” Going against the grain, they finished the year off undefeated all year with this routine and won the U.S. Open. This would start a new strategy for Jordan and Tatiana. This year they were also featured as Motion Capture Dancers in the Warner Brothers move, “The Polar Express.”
In 2005 they appeared twice on Good Morning America, and Won “Greatest Dance Couple in America.” Their 2005 Routine, “Baby What You Want Me To Do,” by Etta James, allowed them to go back to the roots of West Coast Swing and the “Blues” music they started with. This routine went undefeated all year and won the US Open.
The Following year, their 2006 “Pump it” Routine by the Black Eyed Peas was created with the goal of making West Coast Swing current, attracting the youth and appealing to the masses. “Pump it” was a crowd favorite all around the world, and it was used by the Producers of the movie “Love N’ Dancing” to showcase West Coast Swing as their opening pitch. This routine went undefeated all year and won the US Open.
In 2007, their “Sexy Plexi” Routine by Jack Johnson was mixed with “Love Don’t Let Me Go” by David Guetta. This routine showcased the subtleties in their choreography and the impact it can have, along with the high energy sounds of Europe that they were hearing during their travels. Although this routine did not go undefeated, it won all but two events that year. This year they also acted and danced in the movie “Love N’ Dancing” starring Amy Smart and Tom Molloy. This was one of their favorite dancing experiences.
At the end of 2007, their new routine “How to Save A Life,” by the Fray, was different than anything they had ever done. It wasn’t just about the dance. It was about telling a story. Their goal in choreographing this routine was more than a standing ovation. They wanted to touch people in a different way for West Coast Swing. In their debut at the 2007 US Open, they had their first major mistake on the US Open Floor. People were still moved by the performance, and recognized the potential of the routine they had witnessed, but Jordan & Tatiana were crushed that it wasn’t showcased in the way it was meant to be. Three months later, at Capital 2008, they had their 2nd performance right just days after their mentor and teacher, Wayne Bott passed away. There were so many in tears, and this performance had more meaning than any before. That routine continued throughout the year undefeated, where they took it to the US Open in 2008 with the performance they had hoped for previously, winning 1st place.
Jordan and Tatiana attended their first Sydney Salsa Congress in January 2009. This was the start of bringing WCS to the Salsa & Latin community, and it was held in the Olympic Stadium in front of thousands. This exposure had Salsa Congresses from all over the world asking them to come to their event. In October 2009, J&T were asked to do a performance at the Kremlin in Moscow. This was such an honor. They were later advised that their performance of “How to Save a Life” was the most viewed on this Russian channel, and it still stands today. One month later they arrived at the US Open after a Malaysian Cruise. They arrived relaxed and excited, and their seasoned “Viva La Viva” routine won their 7th Classic Division Title. Shortly after the Open, Jordan had unscheduled knee surgery. He woke up to the news that the complete surgery was performed and he would have at least a six month recovery. The doctor went on to say that waiting for a later date could have been career ending. The hardest part was not knowing if he would be able to dance again. It wasn’t until June, 2010, that he was allowed to return to dancing.
Jordan and Tatiana made a new routine in mid-2010 – Muse and it was debuted at the French Open and received with thunderous applause. It was so great to be back! This was another new style routine for them. They were dancing to a rock and roll song and exploring a darker side in performance. They left France and competed and won with it at Grand Nationals in Atlanta. In November 2010, they debuted “Gravity” with Jordan & Tatiana exploring the dramatic side and the art of story telling, while competing in a West Coast Swing Division. It went down as many people’s favorite routine, and a definite tear jerker at each performance.
In November 2011, their new routine by Usher – “More” was one of their favorite experiences at the US Open. The applause was the loudest and longest they had ever received. This started a five year winning streak in the US Open Classic Division until they retired from competition in 2015. “More went undefeated that year. In arranging their music, this was the first time they used DJ software to adapt the song to the choreography they had in their mind. It opened up an idea that would help them in future routines, that if they couldn’t find a song to express their ideas, they would create the music themselves.
Their new routine in 2012 was danced to “Somebody I used to Know”. This was an extremely popular song, which Tatiana loved, while Jordan himself had fallen in love with the music style “Dub Step”. Jordan knew this would become very popular commercially, as well as in the dance world, and felt there was a very small window, if ever, to compete with this style of music before it was overplayed. Their compromise this year was dancing to Tatiana’s favorite song to a Dub Step remix. The beauty of West Coast Swing is its ability to evolve and dance to so many styles of music. It was such a great feeling for them to relate to so many young people around the world dancing to a style of music that would have such commercial appeal. This performance went on to earn them their 8th US Open Classic Division Title.
By 2013, they had danced almost every style of music, from Blues, Rock, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Lyrical, etc. One style they had never tackled was an instrumental. For years they had been toying with the idea of dancing to one of their favorite movie scores, “Inception.” It was such a difficult piece to edit, as well as find a consistent swingable rhythm that would be accepted by the judges. At this point they finally had something that was worth the risk of trying. Sometimes art is more important than a title, if it’s what motivates you at the time. This piece went on to win the US Open.
Their 10th Classic Division Title was danced to one of their favorite artists at the moment, Lorde in 2014. They worked with a professional Club DJ to create a new sound that helped them achieve their initial goal as kids, when they decided to dance together – To become 10-Time US Open Classic Division Champions. After reaching this landmark in their career, their would be much thought about how long they should compete, and when is it time to start the next chapter.
Jordan and Tatiana decided to start choreography early in 2015. Over the last few years, they had really been influenced by EDM, House, and Dancehall music. They knew early on in the year what style of routine they were going to do. At a certain point in the choreography process, they had a friend take a look at their progress. The feedback that they heard was something they already knew deep down inside. Their original music wasn’t meant for the Classic Division, as well as ideas and vision for their routine. It should be for a showpiece, not held to the restraints of the Classic Division. That routine was stopped, and two weeks later, they heard the song “Stole the Show” that spoke to them on another level. This was it! It wrapped up so many emotions of how they felt at that current moment, and moving forward with their careers. At no point, did Jordan and Tatiana feel a lack of creativity or lose interest in creating new routines. The biggest change is that they wanted to follow their hearts in the creative process, and not be constrained by rules, and the thought of being judged for competition. It came to them that this would be their retirement piece, and if danced perfectly, a possibility to go out in the best way possible. The song was perfect, but lacked the energy needed for competition. J&T hired a musician to add layers to the track that added the needed boost. This was their first time ever trying this, but opened up so many new ideas for the future, knowing this was even a possibility. The response to this was overwhelming and something J&T will never forget. Their 11th and final US Open Classic Division title was history.
2016 has felt like anything BUT retirement. They are busier than they have ever been. They are traveling non-stop, still competing in Jack and Jill’s, Strictly Swing, as well as performing exhibitions, teaching, judging, and conducting Intensives and Teacher Training Seminars all over the world. They plan to keep creating new routines every year, without the rules and regulations of competition. This new chapter also allowed them to take on new projects. This year they launched something that was 6 years in the making – the JT Shoe Line with Leo Dance Shoes. Jordan’s Italian made dance sneakers launched in May, and are selling out from one country to the next. Tatiana’s new shoe will be debuting later this year.
They also started another project called JT Swing Teams. Launching January 2017, this will be the first of its kind in the West Coast Swing World. They will be creating new choreography pieces twice a year, allowing dancers all over the world to improve their skills in one of the disciplines that helped J&T achieve so much success – through performing routines. Stay tuned for more information! Teachers and students, don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity.