About PJ Turner
PJ Turner lives in Knoxville, Tennessee with his beautiful wife Lisa and his 2 amazing daughters Alyssa and Brianne. His dance journey follows below, but first get to know his roots. PJ was born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee and still resides there. His whole family lives nearby including his Mom, Dad and older brothers. He met his wife in high school, where they became best friends and then fell for each other. PJ became a father at a very early age and then married Lisa after high school. Needing to provide for his family he immediately went into the workforce. He gained experience in carpentry, HVAC, plumbing, electrical and appliance repair, collector, server, Dance Teacher—basically a Jack of all trades. At one point he held 3 jobs at the same time trying to make it in the dance world. He has worked very hard to get where he is and will continue to do so.
If you have seen PJ at a dance event you know that he is one of the most approachable pros in the business. He always wears a backwards hat and a big cheesy grin, he may talk a little funny, but he’s down to earth, dances with everyone, is always animated on the floor, and brings a smile to your face with his southern charm. These are some of the reasons that he is one of the most sought-after pros!! His classes are always super fun with his BOOM MOMENTS so always be prepared for him to scare the pee out of you! LOL.
PJ started dancing at age 10 with Clogging (a form of tap). His brother was going out to a local club to learn line dancing and came home telling these amazing stories. At the age of 12, PJ started Line dancing at the same place as his brother. By 14, PJ started partner dancing and met his future wife. She taught him East Coast Swing, some mixer dances, and the Sweetheart Schottische.
While still a teen, he discovered that his grandmother had become very sick and could not come to see him and his brother dance. At the same time PJ’s family learned that there was a national TV show being filmed in Knoxville called Club Dance. So the family went on the show and his grandmother was able to see both her grandsons dance!!! On set, PJ met a bunch of new dancers and trainers. He stayed on this show for the next 3 years. During his TV career he learned 2-step, triple two, waltz, cha cha, polka and then he saw WEST COAST SWING!!!! This dance suited him perfectly, so quit other dances to focus entirely on developing his WCS.
In 2001 he went to his very first dance event/competition: Peach State in Atlanta, GA. Previously he had been dancing in a club bar for 8 years, and the dance event was a huge change. At the event he saw WCS for the 1st time in its real form, danced by Robert Royston, Mario Robau Jr., Kyle Redd and Sarah Vann Drake. His dream was to become skilled like them. He entered his first Jack and Jill contest and placed 3rd in a packed Novice Division filled with lots of competitors.
A few years later PJ joined a small dance team called Team Joe. They traveled all around the southeast of the U.S. to teaching, competing and social dancing. The energetic team competed and placed in team divisions, strictlies, Jack and Jills at events like Grand Nationals and UCWDC Worlds. They developed quite the reputation and people were excited to see them! Team Joe had a great run and ended in 2011.
PJ started traveling the Swing Circuit all over the nation competing in Jack and Jills and strictly competitions. He was on a mission for the NASDE tour. In 2012, he was awarded the NASDE tour Champion. Along the way he also received several Social Dance awards including the Prestigious Bob Preiss Social Dance Award from Swing Diego, Boogie by the Bay and River City Swing. In 2013 PJ partnered with Tashina Beckmann King. Dancing together, they put 6 routines on the floor including Feel Again, Counting Stars, Demons, Livin on a Prayer, Let the Good Times Roll and Helium. They were US Open finalists and performed in an Off-Broadway show in New York called Swango. While they were dance partners, they were invited all over the U.S. and internationally to teach, judge and perform.
In 2015, PJ quit his job and commenced dancing professionally full time. It’s a decision he has never regretted. PJ loves dancing and is extremely passionate about teaching and social dancing. Now PJ travels all over the world teaching, judging, performing, competing, and always learning! Despite his rigorous travel schedule, PJ NEVER forgot that the most important thing is family. He has an AMAZINGLY SUPPORTIVE FAMILY that is his rock and cheers him on.
If you see PJ out at an event, don’t ever hesitate, just ask him to dance. His motto is and will always be: Just make her smile!!!