Above, Mark & Cheryl teach a class in Las Vegas for 160 students

Mark & Cheryl

In Memory of Mark Hovind

Hi DanceGig Visitors,

This is Cheryl, Mark's wife. Mark passed away Sunday night, February 5th. It was heart/pulmonary related, unexpected, and immediate. The Lord just yanked him up.

The dance community has been our connection to the many wonderful people who have blessed our lives. Dancing was how Mark and I met, and was the start of wonderful adventure that added so much to our lives. Thank you for your open acceptance and friendships.

I know that Mark is still taking care of me. I received an email from someone who had taken a few dance classes from us in Auburn. Their pastor wanted to know if we could teach lessons for their church, Grace Lutheran Church, in Des Moines, WA. The lessons would be open to all faiths and reach out to the community. I know Mark had a hand in this since we had not found a church home, and had discontinued the lessons at the Eagles here in Auburn, due to racial discrimination issues at the club. This pastor wanted dance classes exactly like Mark always wanted to be part of. Anyway, they want me to teach and continue Mark's legacy to teach the world to dance and motivate people to reach out to each other.

Mark had a passion for his work and enjoyed working with all of his clients and reaching out to job seekers from all over the world through his volunteer work with the workshops the we held. Over his forty plus years of working in so many diversified arenas, he developed the Job Bait technique that improved the successful odds of landing that next job. He loved his work, and was blessed to be working with such talented individuals. Mark was a very honorable man, and I know that he regrets not being able to get every single person out there back to work in careers that they would thrive in.

I will be leaving the dancegig.com website up for now. Please feel free to email me at cheryl@dancegig.com with questions or concerns. I ask you to be patient with me if it takes me a little time getting back with you.

We will be celebrating his life at 2pm Sunday, February 12th at the Wm. C. Warren Bldg., 405 E Street, Auburn, WA, located in the Veterans Memorial Park. There will be another gathering July 15th, 2012, at Sunrise on Mt. Rainier.

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/seattletimes/obituary.aspx?n=mark-e-hovind&pid=155803272 (the address in the newspaper should have read 405 E St, Auburn, WA 98002)

I am so blessed to have been a part of his life for almost twenty years. I miss him dearly.


Cheryl Hovind

About DanceGig

Mark and Cheryl taught swing dancing for 17 years, from 1993 through 2010. Twelve of these years were in the Seattle metro area, primarily for singles groups; and five were in Las Vegas to raise money for victims of domestic violence.

Their  mission was simple: Improve the self-confidence and self-esteem for as many as possible, and they did - by the thousands. Some of the testimonials are shown below.

Mark and Cheryl now only teach for special events. They can be reached at Mark at DanceGig.com and Cheryl at DanceGig.com.

See what it was like

These videos are from a class in Las Vegas, and from the CBS evening news.

DanceGig Testimonials

Hi Mark and Cheryl: I see you now have DanceGig going [in Auburn]. Your new students do not realize how lucky they are to have you both teaching them. I want to thank you and Cheryl for all you have done for us and me while you were in Vegas. We try to meet each Friday and try to get together every Wednesday & Sunday. Thanks to our teachers and Hosts. There a lots of DanceGig friends that do not get together with us but if we meet them while out dancing at various places, They always say Hi and talk with us. There is a bond between all of us that cannot be broken. Again thank you for opening the avenue of dancing to me and for all the wonderful lifelong friends I now have. Sincerely, Fran.

The Teachers ... a poem by Kenny read out loud at our last class in Las Vegas before moving back to Auburn, WA.

Sunday nights are special, I'm learning how to dance
I want to look just perfect when I put on my black pants

The girls are very nice and very friendly too
Drugs, swearing and some drinking are off limits and taboo

Mark and Cheryl teach us, we try to do our best
In the middle of the session we take a little rest

They tell us in the lesson our brains will fall out soon
I hope I make it through the hour before this impending doom

The years have come and gone, we will miss them very much
I hope that Mark and Cheryl will try to keep in touch

We all will miss the dancing, Sundays will be a waste
We love you Mark and Cheryl, we will miss this happy place

Hi Mark and Cheryl,

Thank you so much for all that you have done for our community. My only regret is that I didn't find the dance class sooner. It really has helped my self esteem. You both will be missed dearly. Would you please add me to your mailing list? I want to stay informed and hopeful someone will attempt to fill the big shoes you have left behind. Thank you so much May God be with you always. Hugs and kisses. Susan

It is better to light just one little candle than to stumble in the dark. You have lit a candle for so many. Your kindness and caring have helped those who might have been lonely or lost on so many Sunday nights. You shall both be missed very much. Thank you seems so small, but thank you for a wonderful experience. I hope you enjoy the light of the candle. Adele

How tremendously generous you have been with your time and talents. You will be greatly missed by many many people. Love. Tona

Thank you for your time. The dance lessons, your caring devotion, and your friendship. We will all miss you. Karen

People like you Mark and Cheryl bring out the best in others. You have a special way of caring and making everyone feel welcome. The dance class has been so much fun. We will miss the dancing and especially both of you. Thanks for being you. Best wishes. Be health and save. Jane and Walter

Dear Mark and Cheryl. You both are extra special. Thank you for saving so many lives, including mine. The very best to you both always. Fran

You two have been so amazing. Your ministry offered a port when I was in a storm. Then you showed your hearts to serve and I was amazed. We'll certainly miss you. Michelle and Richard

Cheryl and Mark. Thank you so very much for your time and patience. Both of you are special and greatly appreciated. Cleo

Thanks a lot for your time to teach me East Coast Swing dancing. It's very much appreciated. Good luck. Sincerely, Haim

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Robert and Tamara

The Sunday night dance has been one of the highlights of my social life during my snowbird stays in LV. Thank you both so much. Don

Hello Mark,

Once again, I want to thank you for what you have provided to our community and to me personally via your weekly Dance class. I will miss you and your wonderful sense of humor and your unique emphasis on having fun!

I have talked about you and the Dance class ministry to many friends and acquaintances, and everyone sees immediately what a treasure it is. What an incredible resource to the community, and how it makes such a positive difference in the lives of so many people. And no one had heard about anything like it before.

In my opinion, you have done such an amazing job of organizing and producing every aspect of the class, it seems like it would be entirely possible to replicate the idea in other communities. So I was thinking of working with you to put together a video that was both informative, and hopefully inspirational enough to perhaps motivate other people in other communities to do something similar.

When I heard your announcement on Sunday, I was sad that by my not talking with you sooner, that I had "missed the boat". But then I thought, maybe this was the impetus I needed to just get moving on the idea. I know nothing about how to do something like this, but my friend Graciela who attended your March JobBait workshops does know about video production. I have attached her resume... which, by the way, is 1000% improved over what she had when she came to your Work Ministry class! Although Gracy has not actually ever made it to one of your Dance classes, she is a dancer, and she has seen the positive difference in me, before and after attending your classes. Sima

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so loyal to the dancing singles and couples. Char

Dear Mark,

I am very sorry to hear you are leaving. You will be greatly missed by everyone. Wishing you and your wife all the best of luck and success, Karen

Mark and Cheryl, Thank you so much for the great service that you have provided with these dance classes! You have helped many people! I appreciate it very much! Sincerely, Mike

Thanks to you and Cheryl for your dedication to the dance class. You will both be missed. I started the class in January 08. Had no idea how to swing dance. After a few non-threatening lessons, I gained the experience and the confidence to dance at the local clubs in Vegas. Not only have I lost 21 pounds since January, I have made lasting friendships with the wonderful men and women who attend the lesson. I met the 'love of my life' on the dance floor at the Red Rock. This life changing event occurred because you gave me the tools and training. My life has dramatically changed because or your efforts. Thank you again, Chris

Dear Mark & Cheryl,

I am so glad I am coming back to catch your last class. Kirk & I will miss you terribly. We started with you in the fall of 2006. At that time Kirk was just about to stand without falling. Your dance classes have been a tremendously therapeutic as part of physical therapy for him in helping him recover from his traumatic brain injury. The insurance stopped but your dance classes did not. He loved swing dance before his accident and your classes helped him to recover.

When Kirk first began to come to a few of the dance classes, I had one lady ask me "if he can talk".. She just rolled her eyes at us. Fortunately at the time Kirk was unable to comprehend the by play going on. We persisted and I for one has really come to look forward to a night of just easy going social exercise. I have met some wonderful people and I am surely going to miss you two.

Many Many Thanks for the wonderful time both Kirk and I have had with you. Kirk & Lois

Mark and Cheryl, I was sad to hear that you are leaving. I'll miss you. You are both wonderful people. Your love and dance ministry has been a blessing in so many ways. When I think back on it I thought I was coming to learn how to dance, but looking back I realize I gained so much more from it. Jackie

The fellowship that you nourished through your dance ministry has touched many lives. Many thought they were learning to dance...that was second to God's plan for all that attended the Sunday night class. May God's peace and grace always be with you. Aloha Pumehana, Char

Whew, how can we begin to express how much this couple and their ministry has meant to the Las Vegas community. As a single I counted on this dance class and the socials to be a safe, fun place to socialize with new and old friends. And now my husband & I still find this our main place to meet with those we care about.

Mark & Cheryl make us feel like we're some of their favorite friends - as I'm sure they do with most of the dancers. They have met with this class every single Sunday evening - holiday or not - except for a few on church event days - and their commitment did not go unnoticed. This town is often criticized for the transitional nature and lifestyle of the area and Mark & Cheryl have brought a cherished stability to many. Also, there are stories of many dancers who offered a friendly word or help to newcomers.

Let's find a way of continuing the Dance Ministry for years to come. God bless you as you continue your journey of giving... Toni & Bob

I want to thank you and Cheryl for all your hard work and time you have so generously put in to doing this for so long. Have a great time in whatever you do. Again, my thanks and prayers are with you. Bonnie

Mark and Cheryl are not only fantastic dancers, they were always available to each and every one of us who had a concern, a problem, needed advice, or just to be listened to with a strong shoulder to lean on. They turned no one away and were always there with an eager ear to listen and an open heart to offer encouragement and support. Dance class was never canceled - come rain or shine - unless First Presbyterian needed the facility for a church event.

Some people are unique and special and are remembered warmly and kindly as time passes and the years go by. Mark and Cheryl's contribution to singles and couples in the Las Vegas valley will long be remembered, treasured and cherished by the hundreds of lives they touched.

So precious to me is having had the opportunity to be a part of the initial start-up team and to watch the success, growth, and spiritual connections made as a result of Mark and Cheryl's selflessness and unceasing commitment to do all that they could for our community.

To my special friends, Mark and Cheryl, may God bless you in all the ways you have blessed those of us fortunate enough to know you and to love you!

Love and blessings, always ~

I would like to express my gratitude to a great group of people and to Mark and Cheryl for their dedication to this dancing ministry. I live in WI and visit Vegas a few times a year. I love to come to the Sunday Dance Group and I even plan my trips to ensure that I can make the dance group on my way in and out of town. It has been through this group that I have met some wonderful and truly great people that I count among my friends. I have had the pleasure of dancing in the group on Sundays and dancing with members of the group out in the community during the balance of my visits. I thank all of you for making me feel welcome and included as I dance when I get the chance.

With music in my heart and dancing in my feet - Jill aka- "Wisconsin"

Dear Mark and Cheryl,

In the 15 months since I accidentally discovered this powerful group, my personal and spiritual lives have been enriched and blessed by you two and all the great folks at DanceGig. My testimonies about how your ministry has changed my life are heartfelt and on record.

Nothing that has happened so far compares to what has happened now. The flood of prayer, personal contact and all types of support by DanceGig folks rallying to my side during my current illness, speaks eloquently to the power of your ministry and the wonderful message of spiritual civility that you two have inspired in the hearts of DanceGig members. Folks who know me well, or hardly know me, or who may even have gently crossed swords with me, have blessed me and lifted me to a serenity and sense of worth never achieved before in my life.

All of this must reflect back directly to Cheryl and Mark. It is their ministry. It is their people. The good flows from them through others and on. Outsiders think this is just about dancing. We know better!

Thank you, Mark and Cheryl, and thank all of you at DanceGig. You give me The Heart Of A Dancer. -- Art

Hi Mark and Cheryl: I just wanted you to know that I have been attending your dance class for a year now and my life has changed dramatically because of it.

At my second class, I met a very nice man who has turned out to be a truly good, wonderful addition to my life. In addition to that, I have gotten quite good under your tutelage and am now dancing at least three days a week, with a resulting improvement in my body and my outlook on life.

Thank you very much for sharing your special talents with us all. The Sunday night dance classes remain the highlight of my life. This is a spiritual as well as social experience.


Mark and Cheryl know my personal story. They know how I traveled to a life of decadence, self-indulgence and self-destruction. And they know how my accidental discovery of the Sunday Church Class Dance Experience change my life, spiritual and personal, for the better. Mark and Cheryl are, after all, in the ministry of changing lives.

Sometime after I left a life of sin and began attending the Sunday church classes, I took my 12 year old son to see the latest and final edition of Star Wars. In this film there were a series of scenes in which Anakin abuses his free will to become the evil Darth Vader. These scenes were very uncomfortable for me to watch, because I had recently free-willed myself into a terrible, morally offensive, lifestyle. I had done exactly what Anakin did. Except my actions were real, not fiction.

It happened that my son and I saw the last Star Wars episode on a Sunday afternoon. That evening, before the start of First Presbyterian Church dance classes, I spoke with Mark and related my experience from earlier in the day. I told Mark how uncomfortable I was watching Anakin ruin his life as I had done making wrong choices.

Mark took me by the shoulders, looked me square in the eyes, and said, "it doesn't matter where you have been and what you have done. What matters is that you are with us now."

I have never been overwhelmed with such a comforting feeling of acceptance, forgiveness and tolerance as I was when Mark said that to me. Mark welcomed me into the spiritual warm community of the Sunday Church Dance Group, never mind what evil and damage I had done before I showed up at his and Cheryl's doorstep for my first dance class.

So this is why Mark, Cheryl, the Church and the fine folks who dance each Sunday, are special to me. God love you all. I sure do.


Dear Mark & Cheryl, Your dance class is one of the the highlights of my week! You make the lessons easy, relaxing & FUN in a safe & wholesome atmosphere! Your dedication to these classes & the people that attend them is such a blessing to all of us!

Our thanks, love & prayers are with you always,
Patty B.


Mark & Cheryl, I came across the CD of Halloween photos and as I browsed through them and remembered how I love these dear people – I want to be sure to thank you once again for this ministry. ‘This place’, these people, and my CLC Singles Ministry group - are the most dear to me outside of my family...

Love & Prayers,

I went to your dance for the first time on Sunday I had a great time...every one was friendly...all in all a great crowd. I am thankful to have discovered this venue...also the fact that there is no smoking and drinking. I love it thank you ....Oh yes ..The lesson is great. I was able to catch on the some new moves.


Thank you Mark and Cheryl for another great swing dance class Sunday. In my too-recent unchristian-behavior days, I enrolled in The Dark Side. How I got there is unimportant--that I used my free will to go there begs eternal forgiveness. You note on your website that you change lives. You certainly have changed mine. Thank you both.


I just wanted to thank all of the members of your group who donated items for our Easter Party at the shelter. We would not be able to to our work without the assistance of our community. Although Easter Candy is not life saving, it goes a long way in making our shelter feel a little more like home for our residents. Thanks again for your generosity!

Andrea Sundberg
SAFE House


Thanks, Mark and Cheryl, for the love and devotion for us singles. I'm sure you want to be alone some weekends, just the two of you. We appreciate your presence every Sunday night, rain or shine, and Easter too. WE love you very much. May God bless you and reward you richly ... and Happy Easter.


Dear Dance Group: On behalf of the Board of Directors and the victims of domestic violence we serve, we wish to express our heartfelt appreciation for your donation of Easter items to S.A.F.E. House, Inc. It is through the support and generosity of individuals like you that we are able to help families and continue the fight against family violence. Your involvement goes a long way to help us Stop Abuse in the Family Environment and strengthen families. Again, thank you for your donation.

Julie Proctor
S.A.F.E. House, Inc.

Dear Mark & Cheryl. Thank you doesn’t sound like enough, but thankfulness means so much for being who you are and for sharing your specialty. I sincerely thank you! You have made a big difference in the life of our church and in our lives.

God’s Grace.
Steve and Linda.

Mark & Cheryl - Thank you for all your time and dedication to our dance class. I'm sure that you will never know how many lives you have changed because of your efforts. On behalf of all of us, I want to thank you for helping make our lives so happy.

Many years ago after my divorce I prayed to God to help me not become an angry, depressed person who only thought of revenge. I didn't want to become one of those hard, bitter people who could only remember the painful & ugly times of their marriage. Believe me, I prayed long and hard because I didn't like myself anymore. God answered my prayers and put me back together.

After moving to Las Vegas three years ago, I again asked God to help me. I moved to Las Vegas to be near two of my children and grandchildren. The move here was wonderful, but I left all my old friends & family in San Jose. Most of the new people that I met in Vegas were heavy drinkers, gamblers, or had other problems, so I stayed home on the weekends. I joined Central Christian Church, which is a wonderful church, but they didn't have a singles group.

So in moving to Vegas, I became a very lonely person. God & I had many long talks and I cried my heart out. Last New Year's Eve my daughter & I decided to take some ballroom dance lessons. We wanted to lose a little weight and meet new friends. We joined Dance Elegance and we met Richard & Andrew who encourage us to attend the dance group on Sunday night at the First Presbyterian Church. Boy!!! how that one chance meeting changed my life. Thank you God for putting me in the right place at the right time in my life to meet such great people.

See Ya!

I've become somewhat of a hermit since my dad died in May - and Dance Class is one of the few places I go besides church and work. Learning new steps is just a bonus to getting to meet nice people. My Mom came to the Halloween Dance and had a very nice time - thanks to our attentive - very nice - men and women. May others lives be blessed as mine has been the past year+.


I want to express my thanks to Mark and Cheryl for their unique and useful service to the community. The Sunday night lessons are THE HIGHLIGHT of my week!

I was quite lost emotionally when my wife ended our marriage of 25 years. I had tried to get it together with the aid of a (self-styled) “educational organization”. They seemed OK at first, but later on tried to change my religious faith, and get as much money as they could talk me into giving them. I was very discouraged and downhearted (especially after the experience with the “E O”). I was becoming a bitter, depressed old hermit, only going out to work, and to church.

I learned of Mark and Cheryl’s Dance lessons through SOAR. We had tried ballroom dancing lessons when we were married, but I couldn’t get the hang of it. I came to the dance class anyway. I had to force myself to come in, afraid I’d be disappointed.

After a couple of Sunday night lessons, I was hooked! I could actually DO this! I like the method of teaching here. At first, my depression would go away, at least for a day or two. As I continued to come for these 10 or 11 months, my weeks got better and better. I was less and less depressed, and I actually had (and still have) something to look forward to.

I don’t think that someone can dance and be depressed at the same time. I know I can’t. Thank you, Mark and Cheryl for your time and effort and the service you give so generously to the greater Las Vegas community!


I have been a single woman for 16 years and a Christian for 10. For 8 years I didn’t go out and I have never had many friends. I just went to work and home.

I found this dance class through SOAR and what a change it has made in my life. I have always loved to dance but was never taught how. I love how Mark and Cheryl teach; they have got such a gift at teaching and they making it so easy. I have always felt isolated as a Christian single woman but now I feel included because not only do I get to go out and dance (through the message board on the website) without having to go on a date but I have met so many good friends.

For the first time in my life I feel part of something and it so happens that I love it. Thank-you Mark and Cheryl for giving your time, money, energy and effort. Truly I don’t know what I did before dance classes. I so appreciate both of you. May God Bless you both. You are truly a God Send, you have no idea how you have impacted my life and this community.



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