At the very young age of 3, Nicole “Nikki” was placed in the McGowan School of Tumbling and Dance in Fairmont, MN. …Nikki says she is fairly certain that it was her constant pursuit to climb the cupboards in their home that solidified this interest in dance/tumbling! Her mother, Marlene, was always calling her a monkey! After about 2 years with the McGowan School, Nikki moved on to a studio education in dance with the Borchardt School of Dance, now known as the “Borchardt Dance Company.” The owner and instructor, Kathy Borchardt, is known for her own connection to many renowned choreographers in New York, in the areas of Jazz, Tap, and Ballet. Nikki was a student and later student-teacher with the Borchardt Dance School until she graduated from Fairmont High School in 1994. Nikki was honorably taught from Kathy, alongside the likes of Gregg Russell and many other choreographers from “Dance Olympus” in Minneapolis, MN.
After graduation in 1994, Nikki attended college in Rochester, MN where she intended to major in Communications/Public Relations, as she also spent many hours on her local radio station where she had a regular live show at age 16! At that point, Nikki was slowly pursuing her college degree as her Mother was undergoing extensive chemotherapy for ovarian cancer, a diagnosis that came only a few months before Nikki’s senior year of high school. Nikki was awarded several scholarships to attend the college of her choice from winning the “Young Woman of the Year” program in 1994.
In 1996, her mother lost a 3 year battle with cancer. From that moment on, she has realized that her life without her mom would never be the same ~
After the loss of her Mom, Nikki decided that she really never lost her inner passion for dance, and decided to take a professional entertainment path by auditioning for such venues as the Minnesota Viking Cheerleaders, Minnesota Timberwolves, and the WCW Nitro Girls. After making the cut for WCW in Biloxi, MS out of more than 200 girls, Nikki was certain that this was the road she desired to be on. In this amazing process in Biloxi, Nikki was able to meet Kimberly Page, and learn from the choreographers to In*Sync.
While back in Minnesota, Nikki moved to Mankato, where both of her parents had attended Minnesota State University. Nikki was also a student here, and became head coach to their National Champion Dance Team. In 2000 she was approached by the local civic center managers that Minnesota was soon to host the “Minnesota Purple Rage” Indoor Football League, (IFL) where was asked to create and be a part of their dance team. So, for an entire season, Nikki, alongside 7 other ladies, spent every weekend performing on the field of the Mankato Civic Center as the opening and halftime entertainment to the Minnesota IFL, working exclusively with Harley Davidson.
In 2003 Nikki made a drastic move to Medora, ND. She very much missed her career as a professional dancer and was not sure where to continue to find work here in North Dakota. So, going back to her other favorite thing in life, radio, Nikki began working on-air at Clearchannel Radio in Dickinson for the next several years…she worked her way up the ladder and eventually entertained audiences with “Wild Bill” on the KCAD Roughrider Country Morning Show. However, this just did not suffice her passion for dance. After visiting several dance studios, Nikki began meeting the “local” dancers, and the rest is truly history…in 2004, “The All American Dance Team” was formed…this team successfully completed 5 summer tours, meeting and opening for such acts as “Warrant,” “Carl Dixon of the Guess Who,” “Poison,” “REO Speedwagon,” and “Styx” and numerous venues with the men and women of our Armed Forces, including the recognition and endorsement of ND Governor John Hoeven. It was during their summer tour of 2006 “Burn the Floor” was established…
By the will and grace of God, Nikki was able to see the success of hard work and organization pay off. “Burn the Floor” was created in 2006 with only 35 students. However it was the 1st studio in SW North Dakota to receive top “High First” place honors at dance competitions in Bismarck and Billings, MT in only 6 months from opening their doors… Burn the Floor amended their name to “Burn the Floor, Diversity in Dance” in 2011 to place emphasis on the “diverse” styles of dance that they encompass…from the classic Jazz, to Lyrical, Ballet, Contemporary, Tap and the ever-famous Hip Hop style known across the globe. This studio has won many top honors for Entertainment, Costumes, and Judges Choice Awards, as well as recognition from judges and choreographers to such artists as Michael Jackson, Usher, and The Radio City Rockettes. The most incredible honor to date was in 2013- 2014 competition season where Burn the Floor received 3 Sportsmanship awards for their intense display of great attitude and treatment of/toward other dance studio’s on and off the stage.
Nikki St. John, known to her mother as “Nicole,” (stemming from her radio name “Nikki”) feels immensely humble to have had such an incredible and AMAZING success with her studio. Together with the help of her Father John, Miss. Deb, Miss Sherri and several unselfish staff members, Nikki has saw Burn the Floor, Diversity in Dance grow to over 150 students in 2012. Her assistant Director/Teacher, Deb, had also opened a successful “Burn the Floor” in South Heart, ND, where Deb is currently employed at the South Heart Public School as a teacher herself! They continue to pass on the love of this art, as well as the education that is necessary for such a passion. They attempt diligently to instill this love in all their students, and to share their gift with our community and our state. “SHARE THE DREAM, DANCE WITH US!”
As of 2016, Burn the Floor was ammended to DFy Studio as a name change displaying a definitive love for being renegade and “defiant” in the dance industry….as of 2018, DFy Studio became a company known as “The DFy PROJECT” and hosts dancers who have chosen dance as their passion. Nikki travels the U.S. as a judge for various National dance competitions, alongside teaching master classes in the US and overseas in such countries as England and Spain. Nikki adores her life as a teacher by day, judge by weekend and mentor all the time!
“Today a new sun rises for me; everything lives, everything is animated, everything seems to speak to me of my passion, everything invites me to cherish it.” ~Anne De Lenclos~