TJ Zito is trying to spoof one
of America's most charming holidays and have some fun doing so.
Here's some information about this upcoming Swing event on Valentines
Tell us about the theme of your event and the special features you are
TJ: The Anti-Valentine's theme is very much
“tongue in cheek” from the traditional Valentines theme and is done in
fun and humor. Wendy and I are always asked if we truly hate
Valentines Day and the answer is no!
We originally started Anti-Valentines in 2008 as a variety arts and
dance show in Birmingham, Alabama. The name and theme caught on with
the local media and became an area favorite. The name
“Anti-Valentines” is from a social event my fraternity and Wendy’s
sorority attended back in college at the University of Alabama.
three ballrooms in the hotel which will give us space for multiple
music styles, dance styles, and rooms.
The Saturday Night “Heartbreaker’s Ball” will be a fun social dance
party for everyone. People in love should wear red and people that are
not will wear black. For those that are “undecided” we are excited to
see what creativity they will have in store for us.
Valentines falls on President’s Day Weekend and many people are off of
work or school on the Monday. We plan to have extra social dancing on
USASN: From what areas of the
country do you attract dancers?
TJ: Although the event does have a
southeastern location and focus, the doors are open for any dancers
across the country looking for great workshops, affordable pricing,
social dancing, and competitions.
Dancers from West Coast Swing, Carolina Shag, and Lindy are all
welcome at the event. We will have three ballrooms going at all times
to support the three styles.
Anti-Valentines brings all of these styles and communities under one
roof. The Pros represent all of the dance styles in a positive light
and we feel their expertise, professionalism, and personalities are a
huge positive for the event.
Our pros are all social dancers at heart that excelled on the
competition floor. They are one of the biggest assets of the event and
we are honored to have them.
are some of the elite dancers on your staff?
TJ: We have representatives from
three styles of swing.
Angel and Debbie Figueroa, Matt and Crystal Auclair and Gary Jobst are
all Champion instructors on our West Coast Swing staff.
Michael and LeAnn Norris and Sam and Lisa West
are not only Champion Shag Dance instructors but they have also crossed over
and competed successfully in West Coast Swing competitions.
Our Lindy Champion instructors are Jenna Applegarth, Jon Tigert and Lindsay Longstreth.
In addition to the staff P there will be regional Pros who will
teach specialty workshops such as nightclub, hip hop, and other
USASN: What is your background in dance?
I was a former Country Western competitor in the 90s before crossing
into other styles of dance.
My wife, Wendy, has a background in Ballet, Jazz and Tap. We have
competed together in Theater Arts, Ballroom, West Coast Swing, Hustle,
and other forms of couples dancing.
Our studio Rhythm N Motion, in Hoover, Alabama has been in business since
2007. We do a lot of work with kids in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Hip Hop and
help them cross over into couples dancing. Many of our young dancers
have competed at USA Grand Nationals in the past two years.
USASN: What long-term plans do you have to help grow your event?
TJ: The event supports growth opportunities for new dancers and future
competitors. New dancers and young dancers are the future of the
industry and the event will always focus on unique ways to attract
first time competitors as well as social dancers. The Rising Star
format helps new competitors feel comfortable, knowledgeable, and
capable to gain experience on the floor.
We want people to enjoy the theme and the social aspects of the event
but realize that one of the main goals is to create new opportunities for
future competitors. First-time competitors need to gain experience,
confidence and feedback at our event before moving into larger
We also want to maintain as much social dancing as possible.
People will see that there are social dance opportunities, competitive
opportunities, and the opportunity to have fun on Valentines Weekend.
Creating Opportunity and Dance Entertainment will always be our
USASN: Give us a two-sentence commercial for your event to inspire
dancer to attend.
Anti-Valentines plans to promote the fun and unity of West Coast
Swing, Lindy, and Shag all under one roof with top pros, workshops,
Rising Star divisions, Strictly Swing, Jack and Jill, and lots of
social dancing affordable for any budget.
The theme allows for everyone to have fun on Valentines Weekend and
adds an extra element of entertainment to the event.
for a quick preview of this event!