top of page
Karen Thomas

Karen Thomas

It all started in 1981, when Karen began dancing and competing with internationally recognized DanceSport judge and coach Dan Calloway. Turning pro in 1984, she continued her education, studying under several internationally recognized coaches. She now holds two degrees with the North American DanceSport Association and is working on a third!

 In 1990 she began her dance teaching career in Harrisonburg. She opened “Dancing with Karen” in 2006 at the current location, 77 E Market, where she teaches ballroom, Latin, swing, folk, street and club dances.  She welcomes anyone who wants to take a few lessons casually as well as students keen to compete. 

Her studio is known for a friendly atmosphere, always making people with “two left feet” welcome. Dancing with Karen is unique in that there are no expensive contracts to sign.

“It’s not about the money”, says Karen. “I wanted to make dancing accessible to all. I believe in using your gifts to enrich lives and make people feel good about themselves.”

Karen has enriched lives beyond her Studio. She has done free events and performances for many retirement homes, schools and churches. For thirteen years she has donated studio space, coaching and choreography for the annual “Dancing with the Stars of the ‘Burg” event, helping the Harrisonburg Rockingham Child Daycare Center raise over $1,000,000 toward a new facility.

She was among those honored for her work with the HRCDC on National Philanthropy Day, November 21, 2022, by the Shenandoah Chapter Association of Fundraising Professionals. Their motto is “Change the world with a giving heart.” 

Mike and Phoebe Renfro

Phoebe began dancing ballet at the age of 4 and grew up watching Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and Ginger Rodgers, nurturing a love of ballroom dance. After taking time off to raise a family, Phoebe resumed dancing in 2008 when she took her first swing class at Dancing with Karen. From Argentine Tango to many others, Phoebe loves teaching and seeing that "Aha!" moment where the moves make sense.

It was during an Argentine Tango class that Phoebe met her husband, Mike. Mike had also started out with a swing class at Dancing with Karen, after attending a music camp in 2002. Soon he moved on to waltz, foxtrot, quickstep and more. While East Coast Swing and Argentine Tango remain favorites, Mike and Phoebe have also taught Rumba and Cha cha. They love sharing the fun and joy of dance with others.

Mike and Phoebe

Adriel Byrd

Adriel Byrd

Adriel has been a student of Karen Thomas from September 2007 until 2019 learning Ballroom, Latin and Swing dances.  He has been teaching Salsa under Karen's tutalage for over 10 years.  Traveling to events on the east coast to stay up to date on modern expression of Salsa, Bachata, Argentine Tango and West Coast wing.  An engineer by profession, he is excited to share his love of dance with people.

bottom of page