The $1,200 First Place prize for each of the Professional Rising Star events
is generously sponsored by The John and Grace Saionz Memorial Dance Fund.
Dance first brought John and Grace together at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Toledo, Ohio, where they met in the late 1950s. They soon moved to New York where John opened successful dance studios in New York City and Philadelphia. His leadership and mentorship inspired many budding dancers and teachers and encouraged them to perform at their very best. The New York studio expanded and through the years took on all the time larger and more prestigious spaces, including an entire floor of the former Gotham Hotel on Fifth Avenue and 55th Street. After John’s sudden passing in 1981, Grace managed the Manhattan studio and went on to open additional studios in Brooklyn Heights and Westchester. Through the John and Grace Saionz Memorial Dance Fund, their three daughters aim to honor the memory of their parents and celebrate their love of ballroom dance.