Joni has been teaching little children to point their toes for almost as long as she can remember. During the 80's, Joni performed with the Kansas City Ballet, under the direction of Todd Bolender. She serves as Ballet Director at Priscilla and Dana's School of Dance, her home away from home, for 25 years. Joni met her husband, Dr. Tim Hall (OB/GYN to the Stars, Independence Women's Clinic) as an undergraduate at William Jewell College. During the med school years, she earned a Master's Degree in Speech Communication from the University of Missouri-Columbia. They have two children, Sam and Sophia. Sam is a cook at The Rieger and Sophia, a Commercial Dance Major at Pace University in NYC...the apples certainly don't fall far from the tree. Joni is honored and thankful to dance on behalf of the BMA Foundation and Charlie's House. The prospect of jumping (literally) back on stage is a thrill!
Joni will be dancing with Rafael Labrado.
As a small child in Juarez, Mexico Rafael started Mexican folk dancing. He performed throughout Mexico and Texas. Later his passion turned to gymnastics, where he excelled. At 19 his family moved to Kansas City in order for Rafael to train at Great American Gymnastics Express. Several Olympic athletes have trained here. At 22 Rafael's gymnastic career was abruptly ended by an injury. Then, one day while flipping through the channels on TV; Rafael came across a program called "Championship Ballroom Dancing" on PBS. The amazing dancers on the program sparked a new interest. Soon he found a local dance studio and dance has been his passion ever since. Rafael has been teaching social and competitive Ballroom Dance for the last 18 years. In that time he has successfully competed with different partners. Highlights include being a Rising Star and Open Professional finalist and Top teacher awards at the Heart of America DanceSport Championships for the past 10 years. Rafael has also been ranked in the top ten teachers in the US for the past 12 years.