I can’t say enough about Mayo. It begins with his friendship, warmth, kindness, and a compassionate and caring spirit as a human being both inside and outside of the dance world. In the ballroom Mayo genuinely puts his heart and soul into his work with each and every student. He truly sees what we are capable of and magically brings out the best in us through his gradual challenges. Mayo has taken me on a journey that completely transformed my dance over the last 18 months — technically, expressively and choreographically. He reintroduced me to the passion and joy of dance when I was at a personal crossroad and I’m forever grateful to my friends and female coaches who encouraged me to try out with Mayo. Thank you Mayo! - Kathy


Mayo is without a doubt the most gifted most talented and most perfect teacher a student could hope for. I could write endlessly about how wonderful my experience has been with him as my Smooth Pro-Am instructor these last two+ years, how after two meetings I was convinced to move to New York just to train with him (and did), or how on that second meeting he convinced me he could make me a champion (he did!) but while all of that has been an amazing and wonderful journey nothing matters more than that he inspired me to fall in love with dance all over again like it was something completely new and unexplored! Mayo has an amazing gift of truly loving the art that is ballroom dance and genuinely feels the beauty of the music and shares it in every single moment that he is with you as a teacher and I feel so blessed to be able to call him my instructor, my dance partner, and my friend. - Veronica


Mayo is a class unto himself.  His extraordinary teaching skills are endless - with an ability to spot, diagnose and teach to each person’s interests and abilities. Mayo’s positive energy, upbeat disposition, sense of fun and intuition all ensure his lessons are incredible and constant. His level of caring and consideration for each person that he is working with is 1,000 percent focused and committed. There simply are not enough adjectives to properly relay how uniquely fabulous Mayo is a teacher, dancer, and as a person. I have to say that in the four years I have worked with Mayo, every single lesson has been totally gratifying. - Robin


I moved from Las Vegas Nevada to NYC to get the opportunity to learn from Mayo. He was unlike any teacher I ever had. I felt like I learned more in 1 year of dancing with him than my 17 years prior. He is truly a world renowned dancer and teacher. He took my dancing to new heights and I won the World Pro-Am Competition in Theater Arts. Mayo really knew how to highlight my ballet and contemporary background. Thanks for everything Mayo. I am forever grateful! - Colby


Thank you Mayo for some of the best moments and memories of my life! Dancing with you has been such a phenomenal ride - our crazy late night practice sessions, the fun we had on the dance floor (including when I fell during the pot stirrers), my stress before awards, my joy after awards, you trying to make me do pirouettes, the many duck spins I was subjected to, our crazy lift sessions .... and through it all you have been the perfect teacher and friend. Thank you for teaching me so much, for being patient with me, for believing in me, for challenging me, and for opening up a world of possibilities for me! Looking forward to experiencing many more priceless moments and memories with you! Love and gratitude always. - Aiyesha


It’s one thing to have a dream since you were a young child and it’s one thing for that dream come true in the fashion of a fairytale. Mayo Alanen is the conductor of bringing my dream of dancing to life — making it with the ingredients that is the stuff of every magical force on the planet. There’s ballroom dancing and then there’s ballroom dancing with Mayo Alanen. His passionate movement is spellbinding and soul touching. Mayo is the most beautiful and talented dancer that I have ever had the honor of working with and possess one of the most kind and thoughtful hearts I have ever witnessed in a human being. Ballroom dancing is a not a single man sport, so when you have the life changing opportunity to work with someone that you admire trust whole heartedly that is a rare treasure, one that you never take for granted. Dancing with Mayo closed a gap of longing in my heart that was their since the early days of my existence and for that I am forever thankful. - Lauren


I discovered American Smooth at a time in my life when I needed a lift, and I could not have found a better coach, mentor, or friend than Mayo Alanen. He is kind, thoughtful, knowledgeable, and extremely passionate about teaching dance. He really cares about all of his students and has a seemingly unending supply of patience. When you're in a lesson with him, he is wholly focused and invested in your learning, and does everything he can to create a positive and fun environment while still pushing you to be the best dancer you can be. Mayo, you helped me achieve more as a dancer than I ever thought possible and managed to make me a better human as well. Thanks so much! - Noni


Over 10 years ago this tall young guy from BYU arrived on the NJ dance scene and became my instructor (Standard at the time). Alas, all too soon he headed back to El Paso and for 3 long months, from July to September, I remained in limbo – what to do? Then, via the grapevine, I heard Mayo was back! An immediate text confirmed the happy news and Smooth with Mayo became my new dance focus. Thank you Mayo for 10 years of a fun and wonderful learning experience with you. You are not only a great teacher but you always demonstrate a rare quality of professional care for your students both on and off the floor. I am so happy to be among your students, to be In your dance world, and to know you as a very special friend. I am so looking forward to the next 10 years! - Rita


Mayo Alanen is the epitome of a beautiful human being. I cannot describe what it means to have a coach and partner that is so kind, caring and mindful of the work that he does consistently every day. He defines every aspect of what it means to be a professional. His absolute pure joy and pride in the details of his work make him unique and so special to me as a student. His natural artistry, experience and dedication to improvement give him endless possibilities to explore movement in an organic way that is individual to and shines a light on the beauty of each of his students. I am beyond grateful to have this opportunity and never take for granted the gift that I have been given by working with Mayo. - Melissa


At the time I didn’t know it, but it was one of the luckiest days of my life.... my Czech teacher introduced me to Mayo Alanen in April 2011. I was studying Spanish and wanted to dance Latin. Three months later, Mayo and I did our first competition at Manhattan Dancesport in International Latin/Bronze level where we placed third. During those first 3 months, Mayo softly suggested a couple times that I think about trying Smooth. My response, “What’s Smooth?” That was the start of an amazing journey that still continues. With patience, calm persistence and a remarkable sense of humor, Mayo literally led me to World Championship titles and a Best of the Best win in the American Smooth style. I learn much more than dance steps from Mayo. His professionalism and respect for others is inspiring. Mayo is a remarkable teacher and an astounding person with never-ending energy and optimism. Yes, it was my lucky day... and still is!  Thank you Mayo, for keeping me dancing into my 60s. - Kristi


Dancing with Mayo is a joy and a privilege. From the very first moment, it was delicious and illuminating.  Mayo has a gift of quickly discovering how each student learns and what motivates them so he can help each of us continually learn and grow as dancers. He challenges, encourages, and stretches you (physically, emotionally, intellectually) beyond what you thought was possible.  On top of that he has a terrific sense of humor, a true love for people and a joy for life.  He is also a fabulous fantasy football coach.  Thank you Mayo. - Kathy


Mayo’s outlook on life is amazing and a great example to others. He is kind, generous, talented, and a ton of fun to be around. I am fortunate and proud to be his student and friend. Everyone I meet has the nicest things to say him and it is truly amazing what a great reputation he has and how respected he is by the people around him. With Mayo, all of his students feel important and brings out the best in each of us. No student can ask for more than that. Thank you, Mayo. Larry and I feel blessed to have you in our lives. - Inez


I spent a few of the best and happiest years of my life being a student of Mayo.  And if it wasn’t for distance and injury I would still be his student. Beyond being a talented dancer and inspirational teacher, he is one of the kindest humans on earth. That kindness and thoughtfulness is felt by his students when they dance with him and off the dance floor as well. The comment that I received most often when he was my teacher, was how lucky I was to have him.  I definitely felt lucky and blessed and proud of him and our partnership. Not only did I learn and grow  to be a better dancer because of Mayo, I also learned so much about myself and grew as a person.  On the competition floor when nerves and anxiety would grip me, Mayo would smile and squeeze my hand to let me know, “I got this.”  And he did. He handled my nerves and insecurities so sweetly and calmly. Eventually he helped me turn it into strength and confidence. I used to tell Mayo he was a dance therapist as well as teacher. For that alone, I am truly grateful. He touched my heart and changed me as a person. Surely, I am one among many. - Kathleen


Mayo is a gem of a teacher. He brings joy and excellence to a partnership, a combination that carries a student through all the rough patches of learning a challenging skill.  Many of his students are highly accomplished at the highest level.  But the greater challenge he seems to enjoy is taking a less trained student and making a champion. He enriches the path of making this hope a reality with calm, kindness, and impeccable ethics. - E.T.


Mayo's passion for dance projects onto all his students. He often starts a lesson with a big enthusiastic beam, "I’ve thought about some changes to our routines!"  Then we make up some cool new moves based on what has intrigued him in the latest dance competition. He doesn’t have to apologize to his students for changing the routine over and over again — who doesn’t want to learn from the latest industry trend, enlarge their dance vocabulary, and dance more beautifully on the floor?  It is fascinating to be part of the evolving dance style of American Smooth. It is even more fascinating to have a teacher who is constantly bringing the latest to our dancing. Mayo is one of the most professional people I have ever met in my life. He treats us with great respect. His belief in his students is overwhelmingly powerful. The high standards and expectations he holds me to brings out the best in me. He really puts his heart into developing his students into great dancers. No one in the entire Pro-Am dance industry has ever written such long Facebook posts about his students' dance journeys, complete with beautiful photos and illustrations. I was truly moved by his posts long before I became his student. I am so excited to be the newest member of Team Mayo. I look forward to many years of great dancing to come! - Amy


Mayo is one of a kind.  He has rekindled my love of dancing...twice...with his high level instruction, creativity, infectious enthusiasm, and kindness. No other coach comes even close to Mayo for so many reasons. His instruction is absolutely top notch. It's no coincidence that most of the top level amateurs in the northeast take lessons with him. His choreography is creative and unique - no recycling routines from other competitors. And his technique information is absolutely top tier as well.  He'll cater to your strengths as a dancer and as a couple, and help you do what YOU do best, not try to make you into something else. I wish everyone could have the experience. Mayo's enthusiasm during lessons pumps you up. You leave a lesson feeling like you're amazing. He's always so positive: you feel like you're good at dancing and after a few lessons with him, you actually are. And he always goes out of his way to make you feel good. Overall one of the nicest and kindest people I know. And lastly, just so generous. He often teaches 14 lessons a day and spreads his talent to so many people. He'll go overtime if his schedule allows for it. He'll spend time with students outside of lessons because of the friendship that he builds with you. And he often attends competitions just to cheer on his students. Mayo, you're one of a kind. Thank you for everything you've done and continue to do for so many people. You touch people's lives in ways that you don't always see. But your influence is enriching the world, one lesson at a time. Thank you. - Jason


Mayo is the kind of teacher who puts 150% into every student, while also working longer days than most other teachers. We often see Mayo towards the end of his work day after he's been on his feet and teaching for 8-10 hours already, and he's still just as cheerful as when he began his day, as shown on his Instagram stories. Mayo exudes happiness and it influences his students and everyone else around him at the studio and at competitions. Mayo was our coach with both our previous Smooth partnerships, and when we started dancing Smooth together in 2015, we knew we wanted him to guide our dancing. Mayo has worked with us to create countless versions of our choreography over the past few years to help us find what's unique about our dancing and to show off what we can do best. He's constantly taking influence from other forms of dance he watches live or on videos to help expand his choreography. If you’re willing to put in the time, Mayo will help you create unique routines that highlight your best qualities to set you apart from other dancers. Each partnership is different and he wants to help showcase those differences when you work with him. Mayo has always been there to inspire us to dance confidently into our best results and he's also been there to help us get through the disappointing ones. He's honest and tells us when we’re not fully reaching our potential and helps us to achieve that every day. He’s become a great friend of ours and we’ve been glad to be able to break bread together on numerous occasions, although not literally because Mayo hates bread. That part is kind of strange. We love bread, but we still like Mayo. We always recommend Mayo as a coach when people ask because you’re not only getting a coach, but you’re getting a person who truly cares about progressing your dancing and getting you closer to your goals. Mayo has been our guiding post for the past four years and we'll be with him for years to come. - Steve & Nicole


I met Mayo in the elevator at Manhattan Ballroom back in 2011 or 2012. I was eating some Sunchips, and I offered him one. He was taken aback that I, a stranger, would offer him a chip, so he and I struck up a conversation as we walked from MBD to the subway. He was so moved by my “generosity” that he offered my partner at the time, Nicole, and me a free lesson. I definitely think we got the better end of the deal, as from that moment on, Mayo became our teacher, our mentor, and our friend. Mayo’s generosity, care for his students, capacity for adaptation to a student’s ability level, sense of humor, and immense store of knowledge have made him one of the best teachers I’ve ever had, not only in dance but also in life. He knows how to push you to your limits in the best way possible, giving you the chance to accomplish things you never knew that you could accomplish. I wish everyone had the chance to take lessons with Mayo; I know that I’m a better dancer and human being for them. - Daniel