Bluffton resident Jordan Steffen is quite the celebrity. As a ballroom dancer, he has been featured in two magazines, including the cover! I’m not a dancer but I think he could make me look good! Keep it up, Jordan! Those of you who know Jordan may feel free to leave encouraging messages for him here to read.
Nearly everyone in the US is familiar with the TV show ‘Dancing with the Stars’. Well-known for more than a decade, the show pairs celebrities with professional dancers. Each couple competes against the others for judges’ points. The audience votes for their favorite couple and based on the combined total of points and votes, couples are eliminated, leaving one winning dance pair.
One Bluffton resident, Jordan Steffen, got a small taste of what it would be like to be on the show while participating in a ballroom dancing event in summer 2010. Steffen was one of more than 100 Special Olympics dancers to compete in the Special Olympics Indiana Ballroom Championships held in Fort Wayne on July 31 and August 1 at the Grand Wayne Center. The event, the third of its kind to be held annually in Fort Wayne, was part of the USA Dance Competition. Dancers from Special Olympics and the USA Dance Competition took turns throughout the two-day event dancing for judges on the competition dance floor. Approximately 500 people from various counties in Indiana watched the dancers and cheered after each dance.
Steffen, wearing a black shirt and white tie, alternated between dances with two female partners, Sabrina Hart and Jessica Gallmyer. Each pair took first place, earning ribbons in recognition for their participation.
That was not all of Steffen’s recognition as a dancer. His status was elevated when the Fort Wayne event was featured in the September/October issue of American Dancer magazine and Steffen was photographed on the cover.
Steffen, 26, was further acknowledged as a proficient dancer when he was photographed in a recent issue of Senior Life magazine at Renaissance Ballroom Dance Studio in Ossian. The article was a profile about Vivian Hans, President of USA Dance Fort Wayne Dancesport #2046. “Vivian asked Jordan to be featured in the magazine article about her,” said Marlise Steffen, Jordan’s mother.
Jordan Steffen began taking ballroom dancing lessons as part of a class for special needs students at Renaissance in 2008. During his first year of classes, Marlise was his partner. As the only mother and son combo, the pair competed in 2009 in the Special Olympics Indiana Ballroom Championships and earned a second place rating.
Marlise Steffen praises Dave Cowdrey of Renaissance for his exceptional teaching ability of ballroom dancing to the class of special needs adults. “He was very positive in teaching them this activity which is great physical exercise and good for the memory,” she said.
Others from Wells County who participate in the dance lessons at Renaissance with Jordan are Amy Isch, Tifany Jackson, and Bree Simonovic.
Steffen, who was a member of the JV show choir at Bluffton High School and managed the basketball team for five years, can dance the rumba, cha cha, foxtrot and waltz. “My favorite is the waltz,” he said. “I like the rhythm.”
One can guess his favorite TV show. “I never miss ‘Dancing with the stars’,” he confessed. He has taken a break from lessons since the summer competition. Soon he will be back to the Renaissance Studio for more lessons later this year. “It was a lot of fun and I love to dance,” he said.