Meet the 2016 Mad Hot Judges

Today’s Emcee

NEIL HOLLINGWORTH – has been the Danceworks Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap Competition MC for ten years! As a native of London, England, Neil started ballroom and Latin dancing at the young age of five. With his partner at age six, he competed successfully in International 10 Dance competitions throughout England and Europe. In 1989, he took his International teaching exam and became a full-time professional dance teacher. He moved to the USA later that year to train the staff of a large New York/New Jersey franchised dance studio to help coach other teachers in the “International Style” of ballroom dance. At this time he was also certified in the “American Style” of ballroom and Latin. In 1995, Neil moved to Las Vegas, NV, to choreograph and consult for several large hotel/casino shows and touring groups, as well as to teach all levels of competitive and social level dancers. In 1998, he moved to Milwaukee for a professional partnership. Neil is now coaching teachers for their professional examinations as well as teaching Pro/Am, Amateur, Junior and social level dancers in all styles of ballroom and Latin.



MANDY CARLISLE – owner and operator of Aspire Dance Studio (Pewaukee, WI) is a returning Mad Hot Competition judge. Mandy is one of the highest ranked competitive dancers in the USA. Her accomplishments include: Undefeated Fred Astaire World Champion, United States Open American Rhythm Finalist, Desert Classic American Rhythm Champion, Heart of America Open Rhythm Champion, and Crystal Ball Open Rhythm Champion.

CHRIS GERMAINE – is a professional competitive dancer and teacher currently based in Pewaukee, WI. This is his first year as a Mad Hot Competition judge. Well known and respected on the national competitive circuit, in 2015 he held the Open Smooth Champion title at national competitions including The Windy City Open, Cleveland Dancesport Challenge, Chicago Harvest Moon Ball Championship, St. Louis Star Ball, Atlanta Open, American Star Ball, Snow Ball, Platinum Dancesport Classic and Heart of America Dancesport Championship.

SUZANA GOSSETT – is a returning Mad Hot Competition judge. For 25 years Suzana has performed and coached professional ballroom dance. She is nationally certified in both American and International Styles of dance. Her field of expertise encompasses coaching competitive dance teams in the proficiency of technique and styling, as well as creating customized choreography for competition and show events for dancers across the United States. As a Professional Competitor registered with the National Dance Council of America, Suzana has competed in numerous dance events across the country, obtaining several Regional and National Championship Awards.

NADINE ROCHELLE – is a ballroom instructor at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, Mequon, WI. This is her first year as a Mad Hot Competition judge. Nadine was born in Germany and raised in Milwaukee. Her grandmother was her first ballroom teacher. Nadine has held the Fred Astaire National Rising Star American Rhythm Champion title twice, and is also a regional staff trainer. In addition to ballroom, Nadine has studied ballet, jazz, African and Hawaiian Dance styles. She earned an Associate Degree in Sign Language Interpreting at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

RANDY WILSON – owner and operator of Appleton Ballroom Company (Appleton, WI) is a returning judge to the Mad Hot Competition. Randy is well known on the national Professional/Amateur competitive circuit. He has been teaching social and competitive ballroom dancing for 20 years. He is an accomplished musician with a theater background. Randy is passionate about arts education and enjoys spending time with his students.


JULIE CARTIER – a returning Mad Hot Competition judge, is the Artistic Director of Chicago-based Cartier Collective. As a choreographer, teacher and dance fanatic, Julie has invested the last 25 years to all things dance. Julie’s diverse background includes performances of all kinds: as a concert dancer at some of Chicago’s finest concert dance companies, on television, in musical theatre productions and trade shows. Julie has served as artistic director for several successful tap companies—most notably Especially Tap Chicago (founding member), Soul-2-Soles Youth Tap Company—and currently pushes the envelope by blending her two loves: the pulse of rhythm dance and the beauty of movement at Cartier Collective. She continues to teach in the Chicago-land area and abroad.

DEAN DREWS – a returning Mad Hot Competition judge, is the Chair of the Dance Department at the Milwaukee High School of the Arts. He holds a BS in Education and an MFA in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Dean has choreographed and directed numerous local musical theatre productions. He has performed with the Fireside Theatre, Dancecircus, Six Flags, Music Under the Stars, Florentine Opera, Milwaukee Opera Theatre and other community theatres throughout Milwaukee. Dean also enjoys teaching classes at Danceworks during the summer.

JIMMY PAYNE JR. –  is a returning Mad Hot Competition judge. He began tapping at the Jimmy Payne School of Dance located in Chicago. His teacher and father was legendary dance master Jimmy Payne, who taught tap and Afro-Caribbean dance to thousands of dance enthusiasts and professionals for more than seventy years. Jimmy Payne Jr. continues the tradition by performing and teaching in Chicago and abroad. Jimmy has performed at the Chicago Blues Festival, the Chicago Jazz Festival, Dance Chicago, and with Chicago Human Rhythm Project. He also has performed with legendary saxophonist Von Freeman at the Chicago Cultural Center, with jazz great Orbert Davis at the Arts Club in Chicago, and with Bradley Williams 21st Century Jazz Review, whom he accompanied on a trip to India for a series of concerts. Critics have described Jimmy as “a tap classicist with a composers mind,” (Chicago Sun Times) “the real deal,” (Maui Times) and the Chicago Tribune referred to him as “smoking virtuosity.” Jimmy has also won an award with Black Theater Alliance for best performance in concert. He currently teaches at Columbia College Chicago, Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center, and Stone Academy. Jimmy’s style of tap is rooted in intricate rhythms and movement—which is commonly referred to as “rhythm tap” and was taught by Jimmy Payne Sr. who trained with Broadway legend Buddy Bradley in the mid 1920’s.

NIKKI PLATT – of Nikki’s Fabulous Feet Dance Studio, (Kenosha, WI) is thrilled to be making her Mad Hot Tap Competition judge debut! Nikki studied musical theater/dance at Columbia College in Chicago. In 2001 she attended the Broadway Dance Center in New York City on scholarship, where she rubbed elbows with the following world-renowned master tappers: Lane Alexander, Mike Minery, Savion Glover, Michelle Dorrance and Gregory Hines. Nikki has shared the expertise she gained on the Broadway stage at the Kenosha Youth Performing Arts Center, Bradford Theater, Spotlight Youth Theater and Saint Joseph’s Catholic Academy.

TINA WOZNIAK – a returning Mad Hot Tap Competition judge, is the Director of the Dance Department at Kenosha Bradford High School, (Kenosha, WI). Tina earned her BFA in Dance from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. After enjoying a period of learning from great choreographers, Tina became the director of the Pius XI High School dance program. Tina enjoys teaching and choreographing for high schools and dance studios in Milwaukee, and loves being a member of the Danceworks on Tap Performance Company. Tina received her teaching certification from UW-Milwaukee in 2007, an MA in Education from Mount Mary College in 2009, and a MED (Masters in Educational Administration) from Cardinal Stritch University in 2016.

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