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Founded in 1978, Showstopper is America‘s first, longest running and most prestigious dance competition. Showstopper set the standards for competitive dance in America with the first and longest aired dance competition television show, broadcasted on national television for 20 years.
As a full production company, today Showstopper hosts over 50 events a year throughout the United States and internationally. Each competition is equipped with the industry‘s best stages, background screens, lighting, and cameras. In 2018 our stages saw over 50,000 dancers from all across the world.
Each year Showstopper hosts 6 dance conventions at top vacation destinations throughout the United States. Dancers learn from the world‘s top dancers and choreographers, including winners of So You Think You Can Dance, Broadway superstars, and celebrity choreographers.
Showstopper produces America‘s #1 Teen Dance Magazine. Showstopper Magazine can be found at every Showstopper event, in Barnes and Nobles locations nationwide. Each magazine features America‘s most talked about dancers and teen celebrities. Check out Showstopper Magazine Online! 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.



Before 1978, dancers didn’t have a stage to perform on, the opportunity to learn from peers, or a competitive outlet like most sports. Debbie Roberts recognized this missing piece in the dance community and that is how America’s first and longest-running dance competition, Showstopper, was born. Debbie taught dance for over 26 years and owned and operated her own dance studio for 20 years. She is now the owner and National Director of Showstopper, alongside her husband, Dave Roberts. Dancer, teacher, business owner, author, and mother, Debbie has made dance her life’s career.

Debbie got the idea to host the nation’s first dance competition from watching her son, Adam, play competitive sports for years. Seeing the excitement he got for a big game inspired her to create the same for dancers. With the name suggestion from her dancing, 8-year-old daughter Angel, Debbie took her savings and booked four competitions for Showstopper’s first year. She wrote letters and knocked on the doors of local dance studios. Despite many doors slammed in her face, Debbie did not give up. Eventually, she recruited about 400 people to attend her first show. By the fourth show of that year, people were asking her how they could participate in Showstopper’s competitions. In no time, local televisions and newspapers were filled with pictures of children leaping across the Showstopper stage. 

Debbie’s impact on the dance community continued. In 1984, Debbie graced the cover of Dance Teacher Magazine. In 1986, she topped Glamour Magazine’s list of Outstanding Young Working Women. In 1992, Debbie published her first of three dance-related books. Her first book, The  Super Studio: The Guide to a Successful Dance Studio, earned major credit at many colleges throughout the United States.



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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