Meet the Pros!

Bonita Brockert

Bonita started her classical training on scholarship with the Pennsylvania Fine Arts Program for Gifted Students where she studied ballet and contemporary dance. She danced with the Dick Wilson Afro Cuban Dance Company and crossed over into ballroom dance at 19.

She is a three time United States Finalist, Vice Champion in Ballroom and U.S. Bronze medalist in Rhythm. She toured internationally with Dancing Nights and performed in Osaka, Japan, with guest performances for Fashion Aide Japan, and in the U.S. for The American Ballroom Company, Joffrey Ballet’s collaboration with Attila Glatz Concert Productions, and Cincinnati Pops.

She has choreographed for PBS specials, Columbus Foundation,  and various other convention and promotional events.

Bonita served on the Arthur Murray International Dance Board, as Regional Dance Director, and on the creative team for the company’s exhibition syllabus. She is a National Ballroom judge with a Fellowship in the five disciplines of ballroom dance.

Maura Garuccio

Maura started ballroom dancing at the age of 4 in the small, picturesque city of Brindisi in Southern Italy. It all started with watching the Italian version of Dancing With The Stars and falling in love with everything she saw, from the dancing to the sparkly dresses.

Once she started her dance journey, Maura found her biggest challenge was to find a partner. Unsurprisingly, it was difficult to find a boy interested in ballroom dancing. But with a little luck and promise of candy + homework help, it worked. With her partner of 10 years, Maura accomplished great results in competitions all over Italy and Europe.

Her love of all things dance saw Maura through many challenges both on and off the floor, including bullying in her adolescence. However her passion grew stronger than ever during these tough times and drove her to become an Italian Ballroom Dance Champion in the International Standard division.

To further pursue her dance career, Maura moved to the United States four years ago where she has since expanded her repertoire to now include American Smooth and Rhythm. Adapting to this new lifestyle, and a new language, has presented an exciting new challenge for her.

But, for her dance passion, Maura would do anything… and that’s exactly what she’s done!

Josh Tilford

Joshua Tilford was born in Dallas, Texas on August 18, 1982.  His family encouraged him at a young age to participate in sports and performing arts.  From the age of 4 through adolescence he played competitive soccer, track and field, baseball and basketball.  During this time he also sang in numerous choirs, acted in school musicals, and became one of the best French Horn players on a state level.  

Excelling at Music, Performing Arts and Sports were central to his development and led him to his current career.

Academically, he enjoyed reading and science for his formative years, which lead him to study Physical Therapy at Saint Louis University in Missouri as well as English Literature at Miami University of Ohio.  

A strong desire to heal, help, teach and perform led him to his current career.  He found ballroom dance after his studies at University and has been a continuous student of music, movement, and performance while building his business and becoming one of the top Pro-Am and Professional competitors in the U.S.  

He has been a recipient of numerous awards and championships, most notably a consecutive six-time top 10 teacher in the World ProAm Dancesport Series, a three-time Global Dancesport Series top teacher, as well as winning many Rising Star and Open Professional events on a state and regional level.  

He currently owns and operates Dance Manor, a studio located in North Avondale and lives there with his wife, two daughters and a Pug.

Melissa Vaughn

Starting ballet lessons at three, Melissa has never stopped moving. Into her 30th season of dance, she also has an extensive background in music and theater. She has performed as a lead dancer in multiple dance troups, and feels most comfortable on stage performing.  She has also competed in multiple dance charity events, helping her celebrities win different titles. Melissa continues to share her love of the arts with all her dance students as a full time certified dance instructor at the Arthur Murray Dance Center in Montgomery, where she has spent the last 3 years and has found her home for many more years to come. 

Christian Graff

Christian was first introduced to Ballroom Dancing at a community college in high school for Physical Education credits. It was here the spark was first lit.

Christian went on to continue his education at Cedarville University where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management. Continuing his education, Christian earned a Master’s in Business
Administration from Wright State University.

Fast forward several years when the dormant spark truly burst into flame when a good friend invited Christian to Phoenix Rising Latin and Ballroom for a social dance party. Upon meeting the owners, he
shared his desire to pursue ballroom dancing competitively and that desire remains strong to this day.

His achievements include: 2018 Cleveland Dancesport Challenge Best of the Best Theatre Arts Winner, 2020 Riverfront Dancesport Festival Theatre Arts Winner, 2021 Michigan Dance Challenge Best of the Best Theatre Arts Winner,  and 2021 Volunteer State Dance Challenge Solo Scholarship Winner.

When he is not dancing, Christian enjoys cooking, entertaining friends and family, watching movies, and listening to Skillet, Nightwish, and Three Days Grace.

Alyenendrov Tsorokean

Two time International Professional Cabaret Champion and two time US Open Cabaret Champion, Alyenendrov was originally born in Michigan, though he now resides in Cincinnati. Alyenendrov has a background in Martial Arts, wrestling, cheerleading, and athletic training – a unique and powerful combination of that has strengthened his dancing through his knowledge of body and movement. He began training and performing in Argentine Tango, but quickly realized his passion for American Rhythm. He and his partner, Maria Wheeler, train together in Rhythm and Theater Arts/Cabaret.

They are 2016 and 2017’s International Hustle Salsa Congress, Professional Cabaret Champions, 2016 and 2017 US Open SWING DANCE CHAMPIONSHIPS Cabaret Champions, and winners of the 2017 USA Grand National Dance Championships (SWING WORLD) Cabaret division.

Alyenendrov also competes nationally with his students in Latin, Standard, Smooth, Rhythm, Niteclub, Argentine Tango, Theater Arts, and Cabaret.  He and his student, Malaki Woodward, became the 2014 World Champions in Pro-Am Theater Arts and the 2015 National Champions in Pro-Am Theater Arts. 

When not dancing, Alyenendrov – a published author – enjoys writing poetry, drawing, Game of Thrones, coffee, Ancient Egypt, spending time with friends, and living out his life mantra “Renewed, Reborn, Reclaimed”.

Maria Tsorokean

A lifelong resident of Cincinnati, OH, Maria has been dancing since she wore diapers under a tiny pink tutu. She brings years of teaching, choreography, and competition to the table at Phoenix Rising. Maria has a background in ballet, tap, jazz, clogging, and modern dance.  Maria also enjoyed performing on stage for many years, and has been seen in many theater productions, including “The King and I” and “Guys & Dolls”. 

Maria and Alyenendrov train in American Rhythm and Theater Arts.  They are 2016 and 2017’s International Hustle Salsa Congress, Professional Cabaret Champions, the 2016-2019 US Open SWING DANCE CHAMPIONSHIPS, Cabaret Champions, and winners of the 2017-2019 USA Grand National Dance Championships (SWING WORLD) Cabaret division.

Maria loves to teach, perform, and compete with her students as well.  She has a special soft spot for her wedding couples and likes helping them make their first dance something to remember.  Maria’s talents also include ballroom/prom/wedding/special occasion hairstyling.

Outside the world of ballroom dance, Maria enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, sewing, reading books set in Ancient Egypt, and inserting apropos quotes from FRIENDS into conversations whenever she can.


Patrick Clements

Career dancer, coach and entertainer, J.Patrick Clements has traveled extensively throughout the United States and Europe competing successfully as both amateur and professional in the International Latin, Standard and Ten-dance categories.  These experiences then led to various television, film and Broadway productions including Guys and Dolls, Stomp, DWTS and SYTYCD to name a few.  Patrick is still an incessant student and practitioner of ballroom dance and counts himself very fortunate over the years to have had the experiences and opportunities to travel the globe performing and teaching among the best talents in the world.

Now with almost 30 years in the ballroom business and longtime studio owner, he is now spearheading the Midwest Ballroom & Dancesport Club.  A concept focused on mentoring, inspiring and grooming aspiring dancesport competitors of all ages.