Arjay & Tara

Arjay discovered his dancing ability when he began dancing Hip Hop in High School, and teaching and choreographing dance production numbers. Arjay progressed to International Standard Ballroom and Latin when he joined his parents in their classes and lessons. Three months later, he began to compete in International Standard and Latin divisions with his Professional/Amateur partner, and teach and win First Places at progressively higher levels. After he met his then dance partner, Melissa Rutz, they competed in Amateur divisions with much success.

After a few years dancing the Ballroom/Latin circuit, Arjay discovered an interest in West Coast Swing at his local dance studios Metronome Ballroom (now Cheryl Burke Dance) and Two Left Feet. Instantly attracted to the music, dance community and the beauty of West Coast Swing, Arjay turned his focus and attention to perfecting his craft in the dance.

One of the fastest male dancers to climb the ranks to the Champions division, Arjay has developed a reputation for his unique teaching style, his innovative patterns and musicality. Arjay has won many awards in all dance divisions of the highest caliber; such as Strictly Swing division, Invitational and Champions Jack and Jill division, and both Classic and Showcase Divisions. He has also been a member of Shazam, a West Coast Swing team comprised of the world’s best Champion west coast swing dancers.

Tara Trafzer began tap and ballet instruction at the age of 2, following in the footsteps of her older sisters, Tess and Hayley. For the next 9 years, she trained in ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, hula, and hip hop, performing locally throughout the year. At the age of 11, she completed a 3-week intensive ballet internship with Ballet Pacifica in Irvine, California, at the time one of the most prestigious ballet academies in the nation.

At the age of 10, Tara began dancing at Buddy Schwimmer's 5678 Dance Studio in Redlands, California. She quickly earned a spot on two competition teams, Laurie Schwimmer's jazz team and the Studio's formation team with other junior couples. The entire Schwimmer family -- Buddy, Laurie, Lacey, and Benji -- greatly expanded Tara's training in jazz, tap, and hip hop, as well as providing exposure to the five Latin dances, several of the Ballroom dances, and of course, West Coast Swing. By the age of 12, Tara teamed up with her first West Coast Swing routine partner, Ryan Hernandez, presenting their first routine at the US Open Swing Dance Championship in 2004.

Between 2005 and 2008, Tara teamed with Jonny Dessel, competing at swing dance events nationwide, including the US Open. As part of the Jump Start II formation team, she and her teammates took first place at the US Open Competition in 2005. In 2009, Tara debuted in the adult ranks of swing dance competition with Sean McKeever, dancing in the Showcase division at the US Open. While Tara's primary training has come from her home studio, 5678 Dance, and the Schwimmer family, she has also enjoyed coaching from top swing dance pros including Jessica Cox, Arjay Centeno, Sarah Van Drake, Kyle Redd, Tatiana Mollman, Deborah Szekely, and Heidi Groskreutz-Burns. Tara currently competes in Showcase with partner, Bret Navarre.

In 2007, Tara received the Jack and Annie Scholarship Award, given annually to select junior swing dancers "serving as a positive role model for other junior dancers by demonstrating character and integrity via strong scholastic and social skills." In 2010, Tara was inducted into the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame, Nova Star Division. In addition to a busy schedule with swing dance competition and teaching, Tara recently graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in the field of History.