Mark Smith – Studio Owner
Where are you from? Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, grew up on the south side of Indianapolis
Bio: Mark has been a dance educator since 1981, and has been a business owner since 1987. He has competed on a professional level, has won many top teacher awards, and is a certified dance teacher. Mark purchased the Fred Astaire Franchise model first in Indianapolis in 2008. The reason that he changed from and independent studio owner to the franchise model was mostly for his teachers to give them real careers and give them the opportunity of upward mobility offered within the Fred Astaire organization. He also joined Fred Astaire for the integrity and character of the Fred Astaire franchise model and the network it provide in establishing a service business that provides world-class service and is lasting in the community. Because he enjoys the Fred Astaire organization, he has purchased two additional franchises in northwest Indiana, one in Schererville and one in Valparaiso
Goals: To bring up the next generation of dance teachers, professional dancers, managers and owners to perpetuate Fred Astaire Dance Studios, and to continue to plant new studios with qualified staff.
Hobbies: Walking my dogs (two great danes named “Fred” and “Ginger”), hiking, spending time on the beach, learning/continued education, and martial arts
Favorite quote: “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” Will Rogers
I love being in the dance industry because: I love the arts and I love sharing my passion for dance with other people, especially the young professionals, to let them know that this is a real career.
Dawn Motley – Studio Manager
Where are you from? Garrett, Indiana
Bio: Dawn has been dancing for her entire life. She was a ballerina and jazz dancer growing up and started ballroom dancing in college. She competes in the American Rhythm division with her husband, Matt Motley. She has received regional and national top teacher awards and she is a certified dance teacher. She has been with Fred Astaire Dance Studios since 2007.
Goals: To connect to others and enrich their lives through dancing
Hobbies: Writing, reading, camping, being in nature, making costumes, photography, tandem biking, and being involved with my church.
Favorite Quote: “And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” -Roald Dahl
I love being in the dance industry because: Dancing gives you a sense of freedom, joy, and magic! I love sharing that magic with the people around me!
Matt Motley – Dance Director
Where are you from? Spencerville, Indiana
Bio: Matt grew up in a small town outside of Fort Wayne. He played baseball and soccer and really enjoyed sports. At 15, he started ballroom dancing and knew he had found something he would love forever. He taught dance while going to college at Taylor University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education. After college, he moved to Indianapolis to pursue a career as a ballroom dance instructor. Matt has trained under numerous top coaches and has been a finalist in many national competitions. In 2008, he was an Open Professional Rhythm finalist in the Fred Astaire Cross Country Dance Championships. He was also featured as a back-up dancer with Dancing with the stars in the 2007 Walt Disney World Christmas Day parade. Matthew has been with Fred Astaire since 2005. He competes professionally and is a certified dance teacher.
Goals: To bring out the best in myself, my students, and my fellow teachers, and to help them to reach their dancing dreams.
Hobbies: I enjoy dancing, camping, hiking, biking and playing the guitar.
Favorite Quote: “It’s a magical world, Hobbes ol’ buddy. Let’s go exploring” – Calvin and Hobbes
I love being a dance teacher because: I love seeing the joy on my students faces when they realize that they can do something they never thought possible.
Elizabeth Krug – Instructor, Assistant Dance Director
Where are you from: Santa Barbara, California
Bio: Elizabeth has been singing and dancing since childhood. Being involved in choir, band, and theater in school instilled in her a love for all of the performing arts. With a degree in theatre, she has acted in, designed, and directed many productions. She started teaching at Fred Astaire right after college and hasn’t looked back. Elizabeth loves teaching all styles of dance. She competes professionally with her partner David Elser in the American Smooth style, is a certified dance teacher, and has won regional awards for teaching and dancing.
Goals: Be the best dance teacher I can be!
Hobbies: Cooking, Camping, playing with my puppy!
Favorite Quote: “The astonishing structure of the body and the amazing actions it can perform are some of the greatest miracles of existence. Each phase of a movement, every small transference of weight, every single gesture of any part of the body reveals some feature of our inner life.” -Rudolf Laban
I love being a dance teacher because: I get the chance to change people lives everyday, by helping them achieve goals they never thought possible.
Vincent Neff – Instructor, Party Coordinator
Where are you from? Aurora, Indiana
Bio: Vincent (Vinny) was born in Aurora, Indiana, just 30 minutes west of Cincinnati. Growing up Vinny has always been focused on music. Working with church choirs, show choirs, and professional choruses to majoring in music at Indiana State University, music has always been a passion for Vinny. His first exposure to ballroom was at the university and after graduation he started teaching professionally. In 2008, Vinny moved to Indianapolis to work for Fred Astaire Dance Studio. He has received top teacher awards. Vinny uses his love of music and love of people to create a fun, and interactive learning experience during groups and parties at the studio. He competes professionally and is a certified teacher.
Goals: To enrich lives helping students become familiar with music and express themselves through the art of dance, and to creating an opportunity for students to share that experience with others.
Hobbies: I love to spend time with family, traveling to mountains and lakes, snow-skiing, boating, and watching movies.
Favorite Quote: “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” Henry David Thoreau
I love being a dance teacher because: It is a fun experience to teach people to experience music through dancing.
David Elser – Instructor
Where are you from? Born in Munster, Indiana, moved to Greenfield at age 12.
Bio: David is an Indiana native and a graduate of Greenfield Central High School where he was involved in music, drama and dance. David participates in his church praise band as the lead guitarist and vocals. His love of dance was nurtured by his mother in his formative years and continued through instruction in Jazz, Ballet and Contemporary dance throughout high school. David has strong family ties and values the true meaning of friendship. He is a professional competitor and certified dance teacher.
Goals: My current goal is to become the best competitive ballroom dancer I can be and to be a great teacher for each one of my students as I help them achieve their goals in dancing.
Hobbies: I enjoy art of every form and specialize in the use of charcoal with my 2-D art. I also love playing guitar, trumpet and piano.
Favorite Quote: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi
I love being a dance teacher because: dancing is one of my dreams, and being able to see that dream become a reality in the faces of the people who walk into our doors, for me, is truly a dream come true.
Amanda B. Harrington – Front Desk Executive
Where are you from? Indianapolis, Indiana
Bio: Amanda has had a connection with dance throughout her life. Initially, tap and jazz captured her attention. She enjoyed those first classes and eagerly anticipated her future dancing classes. As the years forged on and she continued exploring different avenues in dance, she found herself moving toward opportunities to showcase her dance skills and compete, including cheerleading competitions and gymnastics competitions in highs school. During her studies to obtain her associates degree in business God threw her a curveball……. a beautiful baby girl. She felt fortunate to make being mom her full time job. Now that her daughter is older she has confidently picked up where she left off—Dance and business!
Goals: Obtain my certification to teach; get involved in competitions: teaching and competing; and owning my own studio.
Hobbies: spending time with my daughter, family, and friends, being active, being outdoors
Favorite Quote: “Whoever is happy will make others happy too.”
I love being in the dance industry because: I love meeting new people and watching them grow as dancers.