Everyone in the ballroom community knows Travis and Jaimee Tuft. And if you haven’t heard of them, prepare yourself for a long you-tube session, you have a lot of catching up to do. While you’re familiar with their gorgeous dancing and unbelievably fun show routines (baby shark, anyone?!) What you may not know is the journey to become THE Tufts. So saddle up, because here goes:
Their story begins with the start of the new millennium. BYU-Idaho, formerly Ricks College, was holding annual ballroom dance summer camps. Travis, an immature 16, and Jaimee, a wise 14, were both attending camp. They would meet for the first time during the course of that fateful week. Their first meeting would not be “love at first sight”, nor would the second or the third meeting, as they were both fairly oblivious of each other.
After graduating from high school, their paths further diverged for the next two years. Travis served a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Mexico; Jaimee graduated from high school and attended BYU-Idaho. Simultaneously and unbeknownst to one another, Travis returned home from his mission and began making preparations to attend Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Coincidentally Jaimee also made preparations to transfer to the very same university.
Their reunion at BYU was an uneventful one. Their first year at school they had little contact with one another. They were in different majors: Jaimee, Mathematics and Travis, who knows what he was studying?! Also, they were on two different teams of the five that exist within the ballroom dance program at BYU.
However, the following year fate began to bring them together. They were both placed on the top Touring Team in the company. As the year progressed, they had significantly more contact with each other during rehearsals and tours. Travis also needed help with his calculus homework and was able to coax Jaimee into tutoring him. The extra time spent together allowed them to start building a great friendship.
The formation team experience at BYU gave Travis and Jaimee many opportunities that they would not have had otherwise. With the team they were able to tour much of the United States, England, Scotland, Hong Kong, and China.
After a few months on the team together, their friendship quickly developed into a relationship and then into a courtship. By the following summer, Travis and Jaimee were engaged and then married in September of 2008.
At this point in their relationship, they decided it was time to try dancing together competitively. With prior partners they had both competed in all styles of ballroom, but their common passion was American Smooth. Their passion showed, bringing with it immediate success. Travis and Jaimee earned themselves two consecutive NDCA National Amateur American Smooth titles.
Their success certainly didn’t come easy. Juggling a full time class load with homework, team rehearsals and shows, work, and individual competitive practice and competitions was a hard task. Despite the obstacles, Travis and Jaimee were able to finish their schooling at BYU rather quickly. In April of 2010, Jaimee graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics with an emphasis in Actuarial Science and a minor in Ballroom Dance and Travis graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a minor in Ballroom Dance.
While preparing for graduation, Travis and Jaimee pondered their future. Not knowing if they had what it would take to be successful professional dancers, they knew they owed it to themselves to take the shot. They moved across the country to New Jersey with nothing more than hopes and dreams and a plan to give it a year, and give it everything they had. Now, ten years later they are glad they took the risk.
A few of their major accomplishments include:
A few additional things people may not know about this couple: Travis is an Eagle Scout, both grew up on farms in Idaho, they both own Harley Davidson motorcycles, they enjoy horseback riding, wakeboarding, scuba diving and many other outdoor activities.
While this dynamic couple has had an incredible dance career, they have also dedicated a substantial amount of time to continuing education beyond the dance floor. They are both fully certified adjudicators and are currently working to complete all of their fellow ballroom exams in 2021. They have a passion for learning and helping others discover the joy of dance and the many benefits it has to offer.