Thomas “Huggy” Tootkins began his dancing career in 1997 at Twinkle Toes Studios in Los Angeles, CA. For the next 6 years, Huggy honed and perfected his skills under the tutelage of Nick and Nancy Splurn. The Splurns were sad to see him go, but Huggy received an offer he couldn’t refuse: a position as an Operations Assistant, Ballroom Division at Julliard. There, he trained and directed some of the biggest names in ballroom dancing including Alphonso and Jayme Clutterbuck, Scoot and Tina Nubbins, Soren and Nyla Spooner, and Chaz O’Doherty.
As fate would have it, Julliard was also the birthplace of the most magical love story between Huggy and Blanche Boogy-Tootkins. And, boy, was her name fitting: she really could ‘boogy’. The two fell deeply in love and married right away. Their wedding was the talk of the town and holds the Guinness World Record for the best Ballroom dance ever completed in North America.
Huggy eventually left his position at Julliard to start his own stage work company. He worked with artists such as Snow Patrol, Prince (before and after he changed his name to a symbol) and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
After a brief homelessness spell, Huggy and Blanche eventually settled down in Asheville, North Carolina. They started what is now BlueRidgeBallroom.com within a year of moving to town, and the rest is history.