Ed Grisamore

Gris: Dance shoe now on the other foot

It’s only fitting Joanna “JoJo” Jones will dance to disco in eight days.

After all, she lives her life in constant motion. She is a moving target, whether it’s selling real estate or playing tennis.

So it’s hard to imagine her following the slow steps of the waltz or fox trot. She’s more of a footloose, jolly jaywalking, giddy-down kind of gal.

On Saturday, May 2, at 7 p.m. at the City Auditorium, she will be one of 10 local celebrities participating in the Dancing Stars of Central Georgia to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.

Her professional partner is Pilar Wilder, who owns Hayiya Dance Theatre and is a co-champion from last year’s dance, which raised $1.9 million statewide for the association.

A year ago, JoJo was asked to be a dance judge in her hometown after her rise to fame as the co-star of the HGTV reality show “Beat the House.’’

Now the proverbial shoe is on the other foot.

JoJo admits even disco dance divas can get nervous. It’s not easy remembering all the moves while trying to get all the butterflies to fly in formation.

She has been on national TV in front of millions of viewers. She grew up performing in plays and musicals on the stages of local community theaters. She has competed in front of crowds at tennis tournaments.

But dancing is not in her comfort zone.

“Ask me to be a judge? Yes,’’ she said. “Ask me to be a dancer? I’m terrified. I’m afraid of getting all twisted up. But even if I fall down, the show must go on.’’

(As a “veteran’’ of dancing events for Make-A-Wish in 2008 and the Alzheimer’s Association last year, I told her not to fret. The crowd will be having too much fun to notice any missteps.)

JoJo grew up in Macon, the daughter of Dr. Waldo Floyd Jr. and the late Joann Peterson Floyd. Her mother died in June 2014, six weeks after watching her daughter judge the dancing at the City Auditorium. JoJo has an older brother and sister, Dr. Waldo Floyd III and Susan Causey, and a younger brother, John.

“I think my mother signed me up for dance lessons from every dance instructor in Macon when I was growing up,’’ she said. “I can’t remember all their names, but I remember where they were.’’

She graduated from Stratford Academy in 1980. She and her husband, Casey, have three children -- Casey, Peterson and Montgomery.

When she began rehearsing for Dancing Stars of Central Georgia a few months ago, the memories came rushing back the minute she walked into Wilder’s dance studio at 3128 Vineville Ave.

It’s in the same building where JoJo opened her retail boutique, The Midnight Pickle, in 1985. She later moved the store across the street next to ChiChester’s before closing the doors in 1998.

She began selling real estate at Sheridan, Solomon & Associates in 2000, becoming one of the top-selling agents in the company and later, rather serendipitously, its No. 1 TV star.

Macon’s Roy and Kay Powell have a niece, Allison, who is a talent scout. In 2013, Allison told Kay that HGTV was looking for a spunky Southern real estate agent for a new reality show.

JoJo was wearing her tennis outfit when she met with her niece Valli Berg, Allison and Roy to video an interview.

“I was asked what was the wildest place I had ever sold a house,’’ JoJo said.

That was easy enough. She told about the time she stopped by a house on the way home from a dress rehearsal at the Macon Little Theatre, where she was in the cast for “The Sound of Music.’’

She sold the house in her nun costume.

At the end of the audition video, she looked into the camera.

“And let me tell you,’’ she said. “I ain’t no nun.’’

Her over-the-top personality easily landed her a role on the reality show with co-star Christopher Kromer, a real estate broker from New York.

She spent two and a half months living in a Fifth Avenue apartment while filming on location in Long Island, Westchester County and New Jersey. The seven episodes aired from January through April 2014.

Her spirit was evident on camera. And she is confident it will show up in her high-energy dance routine ... despite whatever jitters may follow her dance steps on stage.

“I’m very competitive. I like to win,’’ she said. “I need people to show up and cheer for me. I need cheers.’’

Reach Gris at 744-4275 or egrisamore@macon.com.

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