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Mary Murphy
Founder of Champion Ballroom.jpg

Conductor of the "Hot Tamale Train"


Born in Lancaster, OH, Murphy spent most of her free time competing with the boys in sports like track & field, basketball, volleyball and football.

After graduating from Ohio University with a degree in Physical Education and a minor in Modern Dance, Murphy moved D.C. and became an instructor-trainee at a local studio. She soon realized that dancing was her destiny after watching The United States Ballroom Championships in New York City.

Murphy then relocated to Southern California and opened her studio. During this time, Murphy’s competitive dance career began to peak. She and longtime partner, Manfred Stiglitz, won the prestigious Austrian National Championships and made it into the top 10 in the world. Murphy’s impressive list of competitive accomplishments includes top finishes at the Southwest Regional Dance Tournament, The Saint Louis Star Ball, The International Grand Ball, and The U.S. Open.

​After retiring from competition, Murphy shifted her focus to her dance studio and a future in Hollywood. She was a finalist for a judging position on “Dancing with the Stars,” but caught the eyes of the producers of

“So You Think You Can Dance” instead. Murphy’s crowd-pleasing antics on SYTYCD and “Maryisms” like “Hot Tamale Train!” and “Shut Up, Coyote!” have made her a household name around the world. At the 2007 Reality TV Awards, she beat out a star-studded field including Ryan Seacrest, Carrie Ann Inaba and Donald Trump to claim the “Best Host/Judge” prize, having received three total nominations over the years.

A survivor of thyroid cancer, which threatened her vocal cords, Murphy is a dedicated supporter of the American Cancer Society.

Colorful Wrap


Established in 1990, Champion Ballroom Academy was created with a vision -- a vision that dance students and dance professionals could thrive in an environment of comfort and community as they work to improve their dance skills.



In The Greater San Diego Area

Owned by celebrated ballroom dancer Mary Murphy, the name Champion Ballroom Academy speaks
for itself!

Through her dynamic presence on the hit television show "So You Think YOU can Dance" Mary has shown the nation how dedication to the art of dance can be a life-changing experience.

Champion Ballroom Academy enjoys the most successful history and the best reputation of any ballroom in the greater San Diego area. Winnning countless awards over its 34-year history, Champion Ballroom Academy sets the standard for ballroom dance instruction locally and nation-wide.


Many world-famous dancers from FOX's "So You Think YOU Can Dance" and ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" teach on the Champion Ballroom Floor. In addition to learning alongside Mary Murphy, ask about visits by Jonathan

Roberts, Louis Van Amstel, Karina Smirnoff, Shirley Ballas and other "stars" from the dance world., the world's top company for dance education features the world-class professionals at Champion Ballroom Academy in the course material for dance instructors nationwide. Renowned American Ballroom Champions Michael Mead and Toni Redpath give lessons daily at Champion Ballroom. They provided the steps for Dancevision's DVIDA Bronze and Silver Syllabus. Our own Kasia Kozak is a Latin Dance champion who also writes the American Rhythm steps for Dancevision. If you take lessons anywhere else, chances are the material your teacher is using was written at Mary Murphy's Champion Ballroom Academy.

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