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“We believe that a dance competition should be a place where strangers become friends, where friends become part of the Showstopper family, and where dancers are able to come and do what they love”

Debbie Roberts


For 40 years, we’ve watched incredible dancers work the spotlight, become part of our family, and dance their way to success. We’ve watched as ballerinas leaped across our sparkling stages, as hip hop numbers were brought to life in front of our LED screens, and as the sound of tap shoes filled our venues.

Looking ahead, we will continue celebrating every transformation of popular dance and seamlessly evolve along the way. We will forever be dedicated to what is unmistakably Showstopper: an unconditional love for movement in music, and an unbridled joy in elevating the performance of dance. Almost four decades into our dream, we still get goosebumps when a jazz group nails a combination, an urge to cheer when a hip hop dancer invents a new move, and a lump in our throat when a young ballerina braves her first solo. We’ve been blessed for 40 years to be able to watch so many dancers grow up and continue doing what they love.




The glitz and glam of Showstopper began 40 years ago, at a time when dance competitions didn’t even exist! In 1978, before YouTube and Dirty Dancing, Debbie Roberts knew that something was missing from the dance world. She realized that dancers needed an exciting stage where they could do what they love, while also receiving feedback that pushed them to be their best. That is how Showstopper, the world’s first dance competition, was born. We’re pretty sure that’s how glitter was born, too, but that might be just our opinion (we’re looking at you, scientists!).



While finger-painting and jump-roping her way though Kindergarten, Debbie Kajcienski finds her passion: dance!
Ever wonder why we give bikes away during our Showstopper competitions? Similar to dance, they hold a special place in our heart because that’s how Dave and Debbie, the driving force behind Showstopper, met! While riding their bikes around their neighborhood in Lakeview, Michigan, they caught each others’ eye. You could even say it was… love at first bike
Dave Roberts’ producing skills get their start when he starts planning music events for his rock band. He and his brothers may or may not have started the boy band craze. You’re welcome Justin Timberlake.
In Battle Creek, Michigan, Debbie steps up her summer camp game by hosting the first annual end-of-summer talent competition — giving tons of dancers the opportunity to show off their dance skills in front of an audience and a panel of judges! As if this wasn’t enough for 1967, this is also the year that Debbie starts teaching dance.
Dave and Debbie decide to take the training wheels off of their relationship and get married!
DEBBIE, NOW DEBBIE ROBERTS, opens the doors to her first studio in High Point, North Carolina: The Dance Shop. Hundreds of eager dancers of all ages start learning to strut their stuff! The hills of North Carolina will never be the same.
Debbie hosts a “Day of Dance” at The Dance Shop and over 100 driven and young dancers are able to attend her first fabulous dance convention!
With her son Adam loving every second of his competitive sports, Debbie recognizes that dance is missing this edge.

She realizes that dancers need a place to do what they love while receiving feedback for how they can be their best. Debbie knocks on every studio’s door in Charlotte, North Carolina, sharing her idea for a challenging, yet celebratory competition for local dancers. This is how the competition you know as “Showstopper” begins.

Photoshoot! Debbie Roberts looks fabulous on the cover of Dance Teacher magazine.
Dave Roberts can’t resist the high energy environment of Showstopper, so he sells his successful furniture manufacturing company and becomes an official member of the Showstopper family! If you ask us, we think he made a great decision!
Showstopper makes it to the big screen! We mean TV, of course (hey, there were no flat screens in 1986!). Showstopper produces The American Dance Championship, a one-hour dance special that will continue to air from Thanksgiving to New Years for 20 years! This same year, Glamour magazine (a fitting name for Showstopper) named Debbie one of their Outstanding Young Working Women!
If you already think Showstopper is bae, you might be surprised to learn that Showstopper is also Bey. Yes, Queen Bey herself takes the Showstopper stage in 1991. …Beyonce. Beyonce, y’all. We’re just gonna leave it at that.
Debbie Roberts publishes her first of three dance-related books. Her first book, The Super Studio: The Guide to a Successful Dance Studio, goes on to earn major cred at many colleges.
The American Dance Championship gets its first of FIVE Emmy Nominations! How cool is that!?
Showstopper emerges from its pink Y2K bunker and launches its first website: showstopperonline.com
Showstopper celebrates their 25th birthday like some 16 year olds do — with a brand new car! One lucky teacher walked (well, drove) away with fresh new wheels!
30 years of Showstopper means a reason to celebrate! That’s why a 35,000 square-ft Showstopper stage-design facility and dance museum opened up right in the heart of Myrtle Beach. Can you think of a better reason to throw some celebratory glitter?
Showstopper is putting on 65 events a year, allowing over 100,000 dancers to showcase their skills, adding new cities and venues every year. The lights are on, the music’s cued, our stage is set — all we need is you!


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