BJ Ellis and Miah Thompson
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BJ Ellis is a native of Crestview, Florida. He played college basketball at Okaloosa-Walton Community College (now Northwest Florida) and Enterprise State Community College, before finishing at the University of West Florida, where he broke into the record books with second highest scoring performance in a game. He won junior college state championships at OWCC and ESCC. BJ earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management from West Florida in 2005 and a master’s degree in health, physical education and recreation from Delta State University in 2007. BJ began his college coaching career at Delta State from 2006-11. He was an assistant coach at Mississippi Valley State University from 2011-12, then served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Morehead State from 2012-2015. In 2016, Ellis was recruited to join Yellowhammer as its first Chief Business Development Officer. In 2017, Ellis became Yellowhammer's second CEO, and 2017-2019 oversaw all Yellowhammer operations, doubling the size of its statewide radio network and expanding its digital advertising business. BJ now lives in Birmingham with his beautiful wife, Courtney; three fierce daughters, Payton, Carli and Harper; and their dog Marco, a Belgian Malinois they adopted after it served two combat tours in Afghanistan as a military working dog. The whole family will be rooting him on as he (hopefully) dances his way into more record books at this year's #DWTSMagicCity!
Miah Thompson has experience working with all ages, and she uses her psychological training to cater her teaching to the learning styles of her students. While in college, Miah started teaching social dance through Curt n’ Wendy Dance in 2011. In 2012, Curt and Wendy noticed her passion for choreography, and hired her as a choreographer for their teen exhibition teams. In 2014, Curt encouraged her to start her own class. So, she created the company, Dueta Dance. She also started training under internationally certified competitive judge, Kim Smith, to learn how to train competitive dancers and improve her choreography skills. In 2018, Curt and Wendy Johnson passed their youth program to Miah and her husband Spenser Thompson, so that they could retire knowing that their program was in good hands. Now, Miah teaches social dance, competitive ballroom dance, and choreographs showcase routines for all types of dancers. Her belief is that anyone can learn how to dance, as long as they have an instructor who believes in them. Miah is also a firm believer in providing her students with opportunities to excel outside of just attending weekly lessons. So, she hosts events for her social dancers, takes her competitive dancers to competitions, brings her showcase students to nursing homes and charity events to perform, choreographs specialized routines for her wedding couples, and gives her teacher trainees opportunities to teach in her classes so they can practice in a safe space before going off on their own to teach. "Everyone's journey is different, and there is no cookie cutter definition of success," says Miah, "If someone is able to achieve their personal goal, big or small, then I have done my job well."