August 10th, 2019
7:00pm • Doors open at 6:30
@ The Sandler Center
August 10th, 2019
@ The Sandler Center
7:00pm • Doors open at 6:30
August 10, 2019
@ The Sandler Center
7:00pm • Doors open at 6:30

Meet The 2019 Cast

LISA BAEHR

LISA BAEHR

JOHN P. BERRY

JOHN P. BERRY

MORGAN BYRD

MORGAN BYRD

DEANDRE COKE

DEANDRE COKE

SARAH CREECH

SARAH CREECH

ADRIENNE DOWNING

ADRIENNE DOWNING

CHESS EARMAN

CHESS EARMAN

CHAD

CHAD "CJ" HAVUNEN

MARK D. HORTON

MARK D. HORTON

MARIA HUGO

MARIA HUGO

BEVERLY KIDD

BEVERLY KIDD

KURT KRAUSE

KURT KRAUSE

SHEREE KRAUSE

SHEREE KRAUSE

TAYLOR MALBON

TAYLOR MALBON

JENNIFER MELNYK

JENNIFER MELNYK

ALI O'HARA

ALI O'HARA

ROBERT PIZZINI

ROBERT PIZZINI

MICHAEL REYNOLDS

MICHAEL REYNOLDS

COREY RICHTBERG

COREY RICHTBERG

SHERI RIDNOUER

SHERI RIDNOUER

SHARON SMITH

SHARON SMITH

COURTNEY PACE STOWE

COURTNEY PACE STOWE

SAVANNA BALTERO

SAVANNA BALTERO

SIMONA CAPORALE

SIMONA CAPORALE

TARAS DENYSENKO

TARAS DENYSENKO

WENDY DENYSENKO

WENDY DENYSENKO

ERIC FERNANDEZ

ERIC FERNANDEZ

CHRISTIANE KELSEY

CHRISTIANE KELSEY

ZHENYA KLYUKIN

ZHENYA KLYUKIN

JAY LEARY

JAY LEARY

RICCARDO PACINI

RICCARDO PACINI

ALLIE POWERS

ALLIE POWERS

MARIE RANTS

MARIE RANTS

SIMONE SPADONI

SIMONE SPADONI

SONIA SPADONI

SONIA SPADONI

NOAH STOVALL

NOAH STOVALL

MARK WILLIAMS

MARK WILLIAMS

Cumascaigh School

Cumascaigh School

RED CROOKED SKY INDIAN DANCE TROUPE

RED CROOKED SKY INDIAN DANCE TROUPE

SARAH GOLDEN & BRENT DUNN

SARAH GOLDEN & BRENT DUNN

  • LISA BAEHR
  • JOHN P. BERRY
  • MORGAN BYRD
  • DEANDRE COKE
  • SARAH CREECH
  • ADRIENNE DOWNING
  • CHESS EARMAN
  • CHAD
  • MARK D. HORTON
  • MARIA HUGO
  • BEVERLY KIDD
  • KURT KRAUSE
  • SHEREE KRAUSE
  • TAYLOR MALBON
  • JENNIFER MELNYK
  • ALI O'HARA
  • ROBERT PIZZINI
  • MICHAEL REYNOLDS
  • COREY RICHTBERG
  • SHERI RIDNOUER
  • SHARON SMITH
  • COURTNEY PACE STOWE
  • SAVANNA BALTERO
  • SIMONA CAPORALE
  • TARAS DENYSENKO
  • WENDY DENYSENKO
  • ERIC FERNANDEZ
  • CHRISTIANE KELSEY
  • ZHENYA KLYUKIN
  • JAY LEARY
  • RICCARDO PACINI
  • ALLIE POWERS
  • MARIE RANTS
  • SIMONE SPADONI
  • SONIA SPADONI
  • NOAH STOVALL
  • MARK WILLIAMS
  • Cumascaigh School
  • RED CROOKED SKY INDIAN DANCE TROUPE
  • SARAH GOLDEN & BRENT DUNN
  • LISA BAEHR

    From yoga and volleyball to running and kickboxing, Lisa Baehre, Executive Director of the Sandler Center Foundation, is no stranger to sports or athletic competition. However, aspirations for the dance stage have eluded her ever since a painful encounter with a harsh and demanding ballet teacher at the tender age of 6 foiled her plans for prima ballerina stardom. Boldly trading her gym trainers for dancing shoes, Lisa is ready to take to center stage to represent the Sandler Center Foundation and its mission to educate, inspire, enrich and build our community, strengthen local arts organizations, and instill an appreciation of the arts through the underwriting of world-class performances at the Sandler Center.

    Lisa is the youngest executive director of a preeminent arts organization in Hampton Roads. When she isn’t tackling fundraising, organizational growth, sponsor partnerships, member relations or marketing, you can find her enjoying the spectacular entertainment at YNot Wednesdays with her boyfriend Marc Bernarducci, Happy Hour at Ruth’s Chris, or enjoying the ocean breezes from her home in the Vibe Creative District of Virginia Beach.

    PARTNER: TARAS DENYSENKO
    SPONSORED BY:
  • JOHN P. BERRY

    John was born in Norfolk, Va. and is a proud resident of Chesapeake. He graduated from Great Bridge High School, earned an Associate Degree in Business Administration from Tidewater Community College and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Old Dominion University in 2014.

    John is married to his wife Lori and has two step-sons (Austin & Logan). In his free time, John enjoys coaching youth soccer in Chesapeake, dancing, and music and is excited to support the Virginia Musical Theatre. John is employed with Beskin-Divers Insurance Group, Inc and is the Manager of Enrollments for the Life, Health & Benefits Division.

    John would like to thank the team at Beskin-Divers for sponsoring him and allowing him this opportunity to “strut his stuff”. He also would like to thank Savanna for her hard work and determination with the music, choreography and instruction.

    PARTNER: SAVANNA BALTERO
    SPONSORED BY:
  • MORGAN BYRD

    When I first moved to Virginia Beach, I had the good fortune to meet Miss Barbara Lewis. I immediately tried to convince her of my dancing prowess and ultimate Dancing with the Stars victory, which has since waned considerably. In my defense, I didn't know there were heels involved.

    I have loved dancing from a young age. I danced the Nutcracker for many years at ESO on the Eastern Shore, spent a summer dancing at the Governor's School, and later at Boston University. I moved back to the area for an MBA at W&M, shot over to New Zealand to work as an analyst with the military and have settled back in Virginia Beach as an IT Business Analyst at ADS, Inc. with my two gorgeous kids – Nate, 2, and Peyton, 4.

    A humble thank you to my children for trying to push me off the stage during practices, thereby improving my balance. Watch out kiddos, despite your claims to the contrary, dancing is for mamas.

    In all seriousness, I want to thank the Virginia Musical Theatre for their dedication to enriching our community with the arts. It has fostered a love for the arts for myself and many others and I am grateful for their hard work.

    PARTNER: RICCARDO PACINI
    SPONSORED BY: Juanita Felton
  • DEANDRE COKE

    DeAndre Coke is a Financial Advisor, operating his own practice with Northwestern Mutual. He is also a Director within Northwestern Mutual, running an internship which is top 10 in the country, as well as developing and mentoring new advisors. He works with individuals and families all over the country, specializing on working with young professionals, individuals approaching retirement, and those in the military, with a focus on those in the Special Forces. He is passionate about helping his clients reach their long term financial goals, and building a long term relationship with them in the process. On a personal note, DeAndre lives in Chesapeake where he was born and raised. He enjoys snowboarding, traveling, DJing, dancing, and spending time with friends and family. It is his goal to make a strong impression on the community, thus he serves as Membership Chair on the board of the Chesapeake Division of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce as well as Regional Engagement Vice Chair on the board for tHRive, the young professional program of the Chamber. In 2015 he was chosen by Inside Business as one of Hampton Roads’ Top Forty under 40. DeAndre is also actively involved with the Tidewater Builder’s Association and also supports Alex’s Lemonade Stand and the Roc Solid Foundation.

    PARTNER: WENDY DENYSENKO
  • SARAH CREECH

    Sarah is a native of Virginia and grew up on a farm in Nottoway. She moved to Virginia Beach 15 years ago since her grandparents and parents grew up at the beach. She has always had a love of ballet, dancing through her childhood and high school days. She loves the outdoors, camping, animals and anything out in nature. Sarah is VP of the Junior Virginia Beach Garden Club and spends her free time getting her hands dirty in the garden. She is the owner of Glow Apothecary, a beauty and wellness shop, and loves helping others along their wellness journey. She has 2 boys and a miniature schnauzer named Roon.

    PARTNER: ZHENYA KLYUKIN
    SPONSORED BY:
  • ADRIENNE DOWNING

    A Maryland native, Adrienne first danced her way into Virginia Beach in 2003 the way many military families do, courtesy of the US Navy. As an Air Force veteran, combined with her husband’s military career, she moved 15 times in 30 years, but it makes her smile that her military kids refer to Virginia Beach as “home”.

    She is no stranger to the stage or competition, having grown up playing every sport imaginable as well as a background in ballet, tap, ice skating and theater. Being the lead in the senior class play was enough to convince her that she would rather spend her time in a classroom than in the spotlight. However, always being a champion for a cause, she is excited to stretch her comfort zone and help raise money for the arts through Dancing with the Stars.

    As a REALTOR®️ with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Towne Realty, she is one of the top 50 individual agents in Hampton Roads and her passion for her clients and her career is evident. She was recognized as one of Virginia’s Top Realtors by Virginia Living Magazine in May. She credits her background first in electrical engineering, and then as a Major League Baseball writer and newspaper editor in chief, as the reason she is a tenacious representative for her clients. She is never afraid to pick up to phone or think outside of the box to get a question answered or a problem solved.

    When she isn’t making dreams come true in real estate, she loves cooking, reading, dancing, and anything involving a beach or an airplane.

    She makes her home in Virginia Beach with her husband, three kids and the world’s best Labrador.

    PARTNER: TARAS DENYSENKO
  • CHESS EARMAN

    Chess was born and raised in Harrisonburg Va, where he attended James Madison University. He joined the Army and served a year with the 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam. After retiring from dual careers in banking and the automobile business, he moved to Virginia Beach in 2010, where he met and married the love of his life (and his sponsor tonight) Bari Grohler, President of Beltone Hearing Aid Centers. He does volunteer work with Meals on Wheels and helps his church’s outreach mission provide meals for the less fortunate.

    Three years ago, he returned to the work force as the Marketing Director for Beltone. Bari encouraged him for years to compete in Dancing with the Stars, but he felt too shy and clumsy to even consider it. Last year, while sitting in the audience watching his very pregnant daughter in law compete, judge Grant Narelle turned to the audience and encouraged everyone there to consider dancing, saying “You can do this!” He felt like Grant was talking directly to him. After turning 70 this year, Chess decided it was time to reinvent himself and signed up.

    He is dedicating this dance to everyone that can’t dance due to physical limitations. He hopes that being born with “two left feet” doesn’t detract from his performance.

    PARTNER: ALLIE POWERS
    SPONSORED BY:
  • CHAD "CJ" HAVUNEN

    CEO Natural Bodyz Fitness – Open 24/7
    CEO USA Elite Trainers LLC
    CEO Natural Bodyz LLC
    CEO JBC Reality LLC
    Founder of “Fitness For All Foundation” 501 c3 Non-Profit
    Drug Free Professional Natural Bodybuilder
    SVCC Associates Degree
    ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer & Nutritional Specialist

    Professional Accolades:
    • Certified personal trainer since 2004
    • Professional Drug Free Bodybuilder (2018, 2nd at OCB PRO Yorton Cup National Championships)
    • Professional Powerlifter (Career records: 685 Squat, 685 deadlift and 455 bench)
    • Founder of USA Elite Trainers
    • Founder of Natural Bodyz Fitness 24/7 (Two Locations – Kempsville & Bayside)
    • Founder of “The Fitness For all Foundation” a Virginia 501 c3 nonprofit corporation (2017)
    Public Works:
    • BNI Ambassador
    • Public Speaker / Emcee
    • Fitness Model
    Beyond the professional setting:
    • Chad is married to the beautiful Kimberley Havunen.
    • They have three wonderful sons Calvin, Benjamin and Adam Havunen.
    Hobbies/Activities:
    • Picking things up and putting them down…and going on family outings.
    • Helping charities like SPCA & CHKD
    • Comedy – (dream to do stand up)
    Keys to success are:
    Keeping faith in God’s word and plan,
    His key to success are two things
    1) Be loyal to the team; you will reap what you sow,
    2) His motto going: “if you’re not growing – you’re shrinking”

    PARTNER: CHRISTIANE KELSEY
    SPONSORED BY:
  • MARK D. HORTON

    Bio Coming Soon!

    PARTNER: WENDY DENYSENKO
  • MARIA HUGO

    Maria is a native of Lynn, Massachusetts and moved to the Hampton Roads area in the early 90s.

    After graduating from Bayside High School in 1997 she did some traveling and then settled down in

    Chesapeake, VA where she now resides with her husband and daughter.

    For the past 17 years Maria has worked for Beskin-Divers Insurance Agency as a Customer Service Representative in the Commercial Insurance division.

    Maria would like to express her gratitude to all the people that donated for this event on her behalf.

    PARTNER: MARK WILLIAMS
  • BEVERLY KIDD

    I bring you the evening news weekly at 6 and 11 p.m. on News 3 in the Norfolk/Va Beach area. I’m a local. I grew up in Va. Beach graduating from Cox High school and Old Dominion University. This is actually my second time around here at the station. I started my reporting career here in the 90’s and in 2001 I took an anchor position in Phoenix at Channel 3 there. I worked in the Valley of the Sun for more than 10 years and loved the people and climate of AZ. But there’s no place like home so I made my way back east in 2014.
I love covering stories that help and inspire people.

    My favorite stories are the People Taking Action segments where I get to surprise someone with an award and money! These are folks who are going out of their way to help others.

    I’m also a health nut and I love learning about health, wellness and nutrition.

    When I’m not working, you can find me hiking at North Landing State Park, Paddleboarding on the Chesapeake Bay or Lynnhaven River or riding my bike on the Boardwalk. I’m also a music lover, having played bass guitar in a rock band at one (brief) time.
I have two sons who are also musicians and all around awesome kids.

    PARTNER: ZHENYA KLYUKIN
  • KURT KRAUSE

    After very successful openings of the Hilton Norfolk The Main (2017), Cavalier Hotel and Cavalier Beach Club (2018) Kurt has assumed the responsibilities as the pre-opening Managing Director of Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront. Scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2020, the 305-room full service Marriott Hotel will feature exciting, innovative food and beverage ventures. The oceanfront project is a perfect complement to the historic Cavalier Hotel.

    From 2006 until his arrival to The Main, Kurt was the General Manager of a 900-room conference center in Loudoun County, The National Conference Center. From 2003 to 2006, Kurt was the Vice President of Business Affairs at Virginia Tech.

    Prior to joining Virginia Tech in October 2003, Kurt served our Country as a “loaned executive” for the Transportation Security Administration. As a founding member of the largest start-up of any private or public organization he was specifically responsible for many of the consumer oriented deliverables. The success of these programs provided Kurt the opportunity to create and staff the Office of Consumer Advocacy and Initiatives within the Administration which is today a very active and consumer oriented department. He was recognized with the Department of Transportation Distinguished Service Medal by Secretary Norman Minetta in 2002.

    Prior to TSA, Kurt spent twenty-two years with Marriott International, where his background included various assignments in the sales and marketing discipline, followed by operational assignments in Florida and Virginia. His last position with Marriott was Vice President of Brand Strategy for Renaissance Hotels Brand Team. However, his most enjoyable position was General Manager at the Westfields Marriott in Chantilly, Virginia.

    Kurt a very proud graduate of Virginia Tech (1980) believing in the university’s motto of Ut Prosim by serving on a number of community boards, task forces, and advisory councils. He is a graduate of Leadership Fairfax (2000), LEAD Virginia (2009), Lead Hampton Roads (2015). A former Chair for the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce (2012), Commissioner on the Loudoun Economic Development Commission, member of Loudoun County’s CEO Cabinet, Secretary for the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance. Kurt currently serves on the Executive Committee for the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, on the Board of Directors for Norfolk Fest Events, and on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Beach Hotel Association.

    PARTNER: MARIE RANTS
  • SHEREE KRAUSE

    For Sheree Krause answering the question,”Where are you from?” has always been difficult. She grew up the youngest of five in a Navy family and they would eventually come to settle in Northern Virginia. She graduated from Virginia Tech and would relocate to Virginia Beach after graduating in search of career and warm salty breezes. Here she would meet her husband and they would have three boys and move seven times in eleven years until finally making it full circle back to Virginia Beach. After 25 years in the Navy, her husband is retiring this year and they can now officially claim this beautiful city as their forever home.

    Moving means being flexible, and Sheree's resume has almost as many job titles as locations. Three years ago, knowing her family would be planting roots here, she became a Stylist with J.Hilburn Custom Menswear. She enjoys working with clients one on one to curate a wardrobe that is as individual as they are. Building relationships and showing how what you wear and how it fits can help to achieve personal and professional goals is very rewarding. This past year, she brought on Rodan and Fields skin care to her image consulting. Now her clients don’t just wear confidence on their sleeve, they have it from head to toe.

    This is her very first experience on a big stage and ballroom dancing. She loves to try new things and embrace new experiences. She’d like to thank everyone who puts this fabulous event on: Ms. Barbara Lewis, Mark Hudgins, all the amazing sponsors, special exhibitors and professional dancers. She especially wants to thank her own partner, Jay Leary for his patience and supporting her when she came to him with this crazy idea to honor her dad.

    Their routine is inspired by the stories her father would tell her of growing up in Philadelphia, PA where as a teen he would frequent tapings of Dick Clark’s American Band Stand and dance in the crowd. She loved watching her parents dance together and hopes this brings a smile to her mother in the audience and her father who will have a front row seat from the stars above.


    PARTNER: JAY LEARY
    SPONSORED BY:
  • TAYLOR MALBON

    Taylor Malbon was born and raised as a tom-boy here in Virginia Beach on a small, 11-acre farm.

    She joined the TowneBank Mortgage team in 2019, with over 15 years of experience in the Sales and Marketing industry. She currently serves on Board of Directors for Great Neck Baseball League where her eldest son has played.

    Taylor is happily married with two sons, Ryder and Joey, and a dog named Batman. Together, they enjoy taking trips in their camper, hosting get-togethers at their house and getting out for live music or trips to the beach whenever they can. Staying close to her farmgirl roots, Taylor enjoys staying on-the-go and doesn't mind getting a little dirty. Her big, crazy family always keeps her on her toes, and she wouldn't have it any other way.

    Taylor is looking forward to taking a swing at ballroom dance. While she is unfamiliar with the ballroom technique, she loves a good challenge and hopes this showcase will help inspire audience members to get out of their comfort zone and try new things!

    PARTNER: RICCARDO PACINI
    SPONSORED BY:
  • JENNIFER MELNYK

    Born in Charlottesville, Va, Jennifer grew up 30 miles Northeast in the small town of Orange. After high school she attended Old Dominion University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. At that time, Jennifer decided to trade in the mountains for the beach and has called Hampton Roads “home” for the last 18 years.

    Jennifer was raised with a passion for helping others. Growing up in an intergenerational childcare in the basement of a nursing home, volunteering summers in various activity programs in nursing homes and staying by her late Grandmother’s side leading up to her passing only intensified this passion and led to her choosing a career in Nursing Home Administration. Jennifer has served Hampton Roads seniors for the last 15 years, currently serving at The Hoy Center of Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay.

    Jennifer resides in the Shore Drive area of Virginia Beach with her husband, Michael, 20 Year Officer for VBPD, their 10 year old daughter, Maeson and their three fur babies. This family trio enjoys spending time with family and friends, laughing and being on the water.

    The Melnyks have quite a family history with this charitable event with four previous mirror ball trophies claimed! Jennifer hopes to uphold this family legacy and sends a special thank you to her sponsors for giving her this opportunity to support this great cause: Premier Millwork, London Bridge Smiles, Chiles Healthcare Consulting, and her parents.

    PARTNER: NOAH STOVALL
    SPONSORED BY:
  • ALI O'HARA

    Ali O’Hara works at Entercom – the leading media company in the market. She has lived in Virginia Beach for about three years now with her fiancé, Steven Slaven and their dog Murdock. O’Hara is originally from the metro Detroit area and attended Michigan State University for undergrad. She then made her way south to South Carolina where she earned her master’s degree from the University of South Carolina. She has been working in the media field professionally for about eight years now, from TV, print to radio marketing. O’Hara is very active in the community and loves to workout, play volleyball, go bowling or walk her dog. She is very exciting to participate in Hampton Roads Dancing with the Stars!

    PARTNER: NOAH STOVALL
    SPONSORED BY:
  • ROBERT PIZZINI

    Robert Pizzini is the Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer of iFLY Va Beach Indoor Skydiving. He began to develop iFLY Va Beach Indoor Skydiving in 2010, bringing this multi-million dollar technologically advanced experience to Virginia Beach in 2015. In 2018 iFLY Va Beach was awarded the Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year.

    Robert retired from the U.S. Navy in 2010 after 26 years of service as a Diver, Master Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technician, and EOD Officer. While on active duty Robert completed multiple deployments in support of various operations throughout the world. In January 2009, he completed a combat tour with the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force, Arabian Peninsula, Balad, Iraq. His personal decorations include the Bronze Star.

    Upon retirement from active duty he was an Associate with R3 Strategic Support Group from 2010-2015 where he managed various client portfolios advancing the government’s ability to combat terrorism.

    Mr. Pizzini received his Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts from New York Regents College and graduated from Troy State University with a Master of Science degree, International Relations, National Security concentration. He is also a graduate of Air Command and Staff College and was an adjunct professor with American Military University’s School of Homeland Security from 2007-2010.

    Robert is a Master EOD Technician, Master Naval Parachutist, Master Training Specialist, Mixed Gas Deep Sea Diving Officer, United States Parachute Association Accelerated Free Fall Instructor (AFFI), and Six Sigma Green Belt. Professional affiliations include membership in the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators, Chair Elect, Va Beach Chamber of Commerce Executive Board of Directors, and the Virginia Beach Hotel Association Legislative Affairs Committee. Robert chairs the Navy Special Operations Foundation Advisory Board as well as the Hampton Roads Sports Commission, and coaches youth hockey and baseball.

    PARTNER: SONIA SPADONI
    SPONSORED BY:
  • MICHAEL REYNOLDS

    Michael is a Norfolk native, Vidal Sassoon trained Hair Professional, and has been employed at Changes City Spa for the past 31 years. His experience there has not only helped him grow as a person, but also as an artist. Michael is proud that he has been able to cultivate lifelong relationships with not only his coworkers, but clients alike. He loves making his clients feel special, beautiful and top priority.

    Specializing in precision cutting and pristine dress attire, Michael is known for his sharpness. Every year around the holidays Michael, with the support of private donors, sponsors a local school’s family in need. He enjoys gifting the children with clothing, toys and groceries for the whole family.

    Every year he brings Holiday joy to a different family. In his off time Michael enjoys gardening, working out and vacationing in Miami, FL.

    PARTNER: WENDY DENYSENKO
  • COREY RICHTBERG

    Bio Coming Soon!

    PARTNER: SIMONA CAPORALE
  • SHERI RIDNOUER

    As a mother of four, Sheri Ridnouer knows what it means to be placed in the public eye and there isn’t much that can shake this Hampton Roads local….unless you turn on a little Kenny Chesney or Luke Bryan! She is known to be the life of the party, loves a good outdoor concert in the height of summer, and never lets a good beat go down without a decent twist of the hips. Simply put, Sheri isn’t shy and that serves her well during her day job where she is the face of the front office at Great Bridge Middle School.

    Since 2012, Sheri has been sharing her warm smile and fun-loving spirit with all the students, faculty, and families that pass through the halls of GBMS. After all, all of her offspring have warmed the way while blazing plenty of trails for her in the Chesapeake Public School System, where she has her last child graduating from Grassfield High School in 2021. With her on-the-go schedule, fresh sense of humor, and willingness to try just about anything within reason, Sheri is looking forward to shaking things up while learning a few new moves along the way. So, have your cameras out and social media ready because this set is sure to go viral!

    PARTNER: ERIC FERNANDEZ
    SPONSORED BY:
  • SHARON SMITH

    Ms. Sharon Smith was born in beautiful West Virginia near the famous Gauley River. At age nine her family moved to downtown Philadelphia and she now calls Hampton Roads home. She is quick to say that she still loves Philly and her beloved Super Bowl Champions, the Philadelphia Eagles. Ms. Smith is the owner and president of six local flooring stores. She has three brands, including Carpet World Carpet One in Norfolk and Chesapeake, Floor Trader in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, and Prosource in Newport News and Chesapeake. She is blessed to have two beautiful and successful daughters, three wonderful grandsons and two handsome sons-in-law. Her passion is family, business and traveling. She feels that she is truly fortunate to have the opportunity to travel extensively and experience many cultures worldwide.

    Ms. Smith is also a very dedicated community leader, and is currently the co-chairwoman of the Judeo-Christian Outreach Center at the Virginia Beach oceanfront. The JCOC feeds and shelters the homeless in the resort area. In 2018 she was honored with the “Retail Donor of the Year” Award from Habitat for Humanity. Sharon also serves on the advisory board for the Art Institute of Virginia Beach. This is Sharon’s second year in Dancing with the Hampton Roads Celebrity Stars. She says that she “went from dancing at the bars to Dancing with the Stars”. She is very excited to be paired with Riccardo Pacini as her partner again this season, and wishes to thank Riccardo, Ms. Barbara Lewis and Mark Hudgins for allowing her to have this opportunity and is planning on having another exciting experience!

    PARTNER: RICCARDO PACINI
    SPONSORED BY:
  • COURTNEY PACE STOWE

    Bio Coming Soon!

    PARTNER: SIMONE SPADONI
  • SAVANNA BALTERO

    Savanna is currently a ballroom dance instructor and aspiring dance competitor at Arthur Murray Dance Studios; however she has always had an enthusiasm and passion for dance. Close friends and family say she was born to dance having spent the first few years of her life on her toes. From a very young age she showed a natural inclination and an early love for dance, and was enrolled in her first lesson at the age of 7. Savanna started her dance journey in a tiny purple dance studio right in the middle of Oahu, Hawai’i taking all types of dance classes: contemporary, lyrical, jazz, even a little hip-hop. However, Savanna ultimately fell in love with the poise and challenge of ballet and was encouraged by several dance teachers to not only take advanced private lessons, but also join a ballet company.

    Less than a year later she was dancing with a prominent ballet studio, Ballet Hawai’i. Many company performances and Nutcrackers later she relocated to Virginia Beach, Virginia, which she now calls home. Savanna continued dancing ballet in Virginia, but eventually broke into the ballroom world through social swing and blues. She learned to swing locally, basically learning an entirely different style of dance while on the dance floor. After a couple years of social ballroom dancing Savanna was in love just as she had fallen in love with ballet as a child. Luckily, she was presented with the opportunity to not only dance everyday, but also share the joy of dance to people of all walks of life.

    This opportunity was, of course, an instructor position at Arthur Murray Virginia Beach. As a teacher, she believes dance can fix any problem – and she intends to try just that! Savanna is so thrilled that she is able to combine her passion with her career and is looking forward to her future as a ballroom instructor, ballroom competitor, and Dancing with the Stars of Hampton Roads 2016 professional!

    PARTNER: JOHN P. BERRY
  • SIMONA CAPORALE

    Bio Coming Soon!

    PARTNER: COREY RICHTBERG
  • TARAS DENYSENKO

    Taras was born and raised in Rochester, NY, where he found early in life a love and talent for dancing. Fostering an appreciation for the family’s Ukrainian heritage, Taras’s parents introduced their children to the country’s culture and customs. Through this exposure, Taras’s aptitude for Ukrainian Folk dancing became evident.

    Throughout his childhood years Taras studied, practiced, and performed as a principle dancer for his group, and traveled to ballet workshops and intensives to solidify his foundation in this art. Seeking a means to supplement his lifestyle as a bourgeoning rock star, Taras stumbled upon the movie ‘Swing Kids’, which inspired a call to the Arthur Murray Dance Studio. After his initial visit, the studio owner offered him a position as an instructor.

    Training in the array of positions Arthur Murray has to offer quickly commenced. Taras started his employment in 1996 at the Rochester studio. He would go on to achieve many goals and receive accolades as an instructor, from being one of the top teachers in the organization to becoming the franchisee of the studio within five years.

    A few of his professional dance accomplishments with his wife, Wendy, include: Southern Ontario Rhythm Champions, World Salsa finalists, Arthur Murray Rising Star Rhythm Champions, and Open Rhythm Champions and World finalists.

    In 2009, Taras and Wendy moved to Virginia Beach and opened the Arthur Murray Studio as it is today. As Certified Dance Masters, they travel across the country as Adjudicators, Trainers and Consultants. Their goal is to bring Hampton Roads the highest quality and the finest service dance instruction has to offer. They train their teachers and inspire their students locally as well as across the Arthur Murray organization to achieve their highest potential while having fun.

    PARTNER: LISA BAEHRE
  • WENDY DENYSENKO

    Dancing has been a lifelong passion and pursuit for both Taras and Wendy. When the two began their dance careers as Instructors with Arthur Murray Dance Studios, they joined the organization with individual, yet equally extensive backgrounds in Fine Arts. Wendy, a Musical Theatre Major, started dancing at a young age with a classical background in Ballet, Tap, and Jazz. Her love and talent for the stage was highlighted in the well-known productions of Grease and Man of la Mancha. Taras found his love of dance through his culture, as he explored movement and music through Ukrainian Folk Dance. His natural ability and talent for Ballet earned him the title of Lead Dancer in the premier Ukrainian Folk Dance Group of Rochester, New York. Passion met opportunity when Taras and Wendy discovered the world of Ballroom Dance. Taras and Wendy chose to pursue their personal and professional dance goals, which led them to great achievement. Partnered in 2001, they dedicated themselves to the continued growth of their respective dance studios while simultaneously training to reach champion-level success in the competitive dance arena. Taras and Wendy professionally thrive in all positions within Arthur Murray as Instructors, Managers, Coaches, and most recently as Franchisees of the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

    The successes and accolades of Taras and Wendy are numerous. Wendy’s ability to teach and motivate, with her reassuring and positive approach to students, earned her the title of Top Teacher in the Rochester Studio, which led to her promotion as Executive Supervisor overseeing the growth of her staff and helping to create one of the leading studios on the East Coast. As Dance Director of the Rochester Studio, Taras helped raise the area’s dance standard. As a natural leader, his ability to organize international competitive events helped Arthur Murray students and teachers broaden their perspective of the power of dance to connect people of different cultures. His ingenuity as a choreographer, as well as his skill for highlighting the unique talents and abilities of his students, is demonstrated with every formation, spotlight performance, dance show, and competitive routine to which he lends his talents.

    Taras and Wendy credit much of their competitive career success to their wonderful teachers and dance coaches. Having worked with some of the Industry’s best, Taras and Wendy acquired the skills and level of discipline necessary to achieve a level of professional success that only top competitors will know. In 2005 Taras and Wendy Denysenko became Arthur Murray Rising Star Rhythm Champions. Since then they have been finalists and champions in such competitions as the Caribbean DanceSport Championship, the New York City Superama and Dance-O-Rama, Atlanta Open, Atlantic City Dance-O-Rama, Las Vegas World-O-Rama, La Classique du Québec and Falls Premier Ball. They experience continued success in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

    In 2009, an exciting opportunity led Taras and Wendy to relocate to Virginia Beach where they opened their own Arthur Murray Dance Studio. Since that time, their consistent efforts to evolve in the field of Performance Art have reinvigorated dance in Virginia Beach. The authentic quality and standard of dance that typically exists only in major cities, like New York and Los Angeles, can be experienced in their Virginia Beach Studio. Presently their goal is to expand so that everyone in Hampton Roads may have the opportunity to experience the magic that Arthur Murray’s brings. Visit www.cutarug.net

    PARTNER: DEANDRE COKE
  • ERIC FERNANDEZ

    Eric is a Hampton Roads native, born and bred. As a child he grew up break dancing with local neighborhood kids, and experimenting with many different dance styles. He was first introduced to Latin dancing at a young age while working at a local nightclub. This sparked a passion for Latin dance in Eric; from then on he spent his free time learning those dances such as salsa, bachata, and merengue.

    Eric then went on to honorably serve nine years in the United States Navy where he acquired many illustrious skills. He also took an interest in martial arts where he closely studied many techniques refining his speed, timing, agility, and strength. However, dancing had always left an impression that he just could not forget; he decided to pursue dance as his career.

    Eric applied for a position as a ballroom dance instructor at Arthur Murray Virginia Beach and since that day has never had to work again – it’s a beautiful thing when one’s passion and career come together. Eric is known throughout the studio as having a keen eye for technique and instilling confidence in all of his students. Eric plans on continuing to teach while working towards opening an Arthur Murray studio of his own as well as develop his photography business.

    PARTNERS: SHERI RIDNOUER, & ADRIENNE DOWNING
  • CHRISTIANE KELSEY

    Christiane is an active member of the Native American community participating through head dancing, singing, regalia design and historical presentation preparation and tribal dance competitions. Attending powwows and other tribal gatherings frequently, She and her family became increasingly involved in the Native community and helped to found Red Crooked Sky. Which is an Inter tribal dance troupe, which puts on historical and educational exhibitions and has performed for prestigious events such as the Dali Lama’s reception in the U.S. Christiane spent her young adult life expanding her dance knowledge by taking advantage of formal dance classes. She mainly focused on ballet, tap, jazz, and lyrical dance.

    After a year she was asked to become a student teacher and assist with the development of younger dancers, assisting with choreography and technique. During her high school she participated in musical theatre groups where she choreographed dances and performed for local businesses. Towards the end of high school, with a heavy heart, she hung up her dance shoes in order to focus on formal education. She first explored partner dancing in college, dancing anything from waltz and salsa to swing and blues.

    She started dancing socially with friends and rekindled a love for dancing. Christiane is currently a ballroom professional at the Arthur Murray Ballroom Dance studio where she gives the gift of dance to her students through her warm enthusiasm and gentle encouragement. She hopes to continue pursuing a competitive career and to become an Arthur Murray executive. She hopes to show students and educators the many benefits of dance not only as physical exercise or a hobby but to also show the mental and emotional benefits of dance as therapy.

    PARTNER: CHAD HAVUNEN
  • ZHENYA KLYUKIN

    Zhenya moved to Hampton Roads thirteen years ago from Yekaterinburg, Russia. He began dancing in Russia when he was just 6 years old and holds many championship titles from his competitive career in Standard and Latin dancing in Russia. He currently competes with many students throughout the year at various competitions throughout the United States, some dancing at the highest level of competition available. He enjoys sharing his love of dance with people, whether they be beginner social dancers…or competitive advanced dancers.

    He and his wife, Rebekah, have owned A Time to Dance studio in Virginia Beach for eleven years. At the studio they offer private lessons, group classes, instruction and entertainment for private events, and social dance parties. Additionally, they have two children, Izabella and Dmitry, and two dachshunds, Simba and Nala. He can be reached by calling 757.490.8999 or via email at [email protected] Zhenya would like to thank his partner, Kellie Gessler, for the privilege of dancing with her in this competition!

    PARTNER: SARAH CREECH & BEVERLY KIDD
  • JAY LEARY

    Has been dancing for 13 years, starting in ballet with the Arizona Youth Ballet where he danced for two years, learning ballet and jazz. He extended his dancing styles to include other genres, including modern, contemporary, and hip hop. Jay attended Grand Canyon University majoring in Dance Education, where he choreographed and performed. He began dancing ballroom in 2012 with Fred Astaire Dance Studio, where he instructed and competed professionally. Currently serving in the Navy on active duty on the USS Abraham Lincoln, Jay continues to teach, as well compete at Dancesport VA.

    PARTNER: SHEREE KRAUSE
  • RICCARDO PACINI

    Riccardo and Sonia both started dancing when they were 6 years old. They have both trained with some of the most prestigious coaches in the world. In 2002, they started dancing together at the Junior Open Gold level in Italy.

    After only 1 year of partnership, they achieved 1st place at the Italian Open Championship in Latin and the Combined 10 Dance competition. Riccardo and Sonia also placed second at the Standard Open Championship. Two years later, in 2004 they began to compete internationally. By 2006, they were ranked 2nd in the world. That same year they placed second in the under 21 category at the World 10 Dance Championship in Platja d’Aro Spain. Finally, after a successful career at the Junior and Under 21 levels, Riccardo and Sonia began competing in the more challenging Adult category. After entering the more challenging Adult category, Riccardo and Sonia placed second at the Italian Open Champion in both Standard and Latin in 2008. They also placed second in the Italian Open Championship both Standard and Latin as well as reaching the finals in many prestigious competitions around Europe.

    2010 was an exciting year for Riccardo and Sonia. They placed second in the Italian Open Combined 10 Dance Championship and opened their own studio in Rome, Italy and that same year. Three years later, in 2013 Riccardo and Sonia placed in the top three in some of the most prestigious competitions around the world. Such as the UK Open, the German Open Championship, and the Disney Cup in Paris, France. They also placed 2nd at the World Latin Show Dance Championship. The next year, 2014, they won the Italian Open Championship in Latin dance style. That same year they decided to move to USA. Since moving to the United States, they have achieved great results competing in the Professional Division. They have placed first in many competitions, such as Virginia State, New Jersey State, Maryland Dance Championship, Commonwealth Classic, Heritage Classic, Michigan Dance Challenge, Cincinnati Dance Challenge, and Philadelphia Dance Sport. They are currently working as independent teachers in Virginia Beach, VA.

    PARTNERS: MORGAN BYRD, TAYLOR MALBON, SHARON SMITH
  • ALLIE POWERS

    Allie Powers has danced most of her life, beginning at the early age of 4 training in ballet, tap, and hip-hop. She formalized her Ballroom Dancing career in 2004, training under Yevgeny Klyukin training in International Latin and Standard. She has competed in Maryland and Washington D.C. placing 1st and taking the “overall categories” in all of her competitions. For the past 10 years, Allie has been training and teaching at “A Time to Dance”. Allie excels in International style Latin but has a passion for all forms of dancing and enjoys teaching the art of Ballroom Dancing to her students.

    PARTNER: CHESS EARMAN
  • MARIE RANTS

    Marie Rants, Owner/Artist Director of Rants Ballroom Company, has been dancing professionally since 1996. She holds a BA in Dance and is also part of the adjunct dance faculty at Old Dominion University.

    Ms. Rants has been coached by World Latin/Ballroom Champions and specializes in the American Rhythm & Smooth Ballroom disciplines. Having been awarded Top Teacher honors at the competitive level, she is also committed to teaching dance as art even at the social-dance level. Marie is passionate about sharing her love of dance with her students, from the young to the young at heart.

    PARTNER: KURT KRAUSE
  • SIMONE SPADONI

    Bio Coming Soon!

    PARTNER: COURTNEY PACE STOWE
  • SONIA SPADONI

    Riccardo and Sonia both started dancing when they were 6 years old. They have both trained with some of the most prestigious coaches in the world. In 2002, they started dancing together at the Junior Open Gold level in Italy.

    After only 1 year of partnership, they achieved 1st place at the Italian Open Championship in Latin and the Combined 10 Dance competition. Riccardo and Sonia also placed second at the Standard Open Championship. Two years later, in 2004 they began to compete internationally. By 2006, they were ranked 2nd in the world. That same year they placed second in the under 21 category at the World 10 Dance Championship in Platja d’Aro Spain. Finally, after a successful career at the Junior and Under 21 levels, Riccardo and Sonia began competing in the more challenging Adult category. After entering the more challenging Adult category, Riccardo and Sonia placed second at the Italian Open Champion in both Standard and Latin in 2008. They also placed second in the Italian Open Championship both Standard and Latin as well as reaching the finals in many prestigious competitions around Europe.

    2010 was an exciting year for Riccardo and Sonia. They placed second in the Italian Open Combined 10 Dance Championship and opened their own studio in Rome, Italy and that same year. Three years later, in 2013 Riccardo and Sonia placed in the top three in some of the most prestigious competitions around the world. Such as the UK Open, the German Open Championship, and the Disney Cup in Paris, France. They also placed 2nd at the World Latin Show Dance Championship. The next year, 2014, they won the Italian Open Championship in Latin dance style. That same year they decided to move to USA. Since moving to the United States, they have achieved great results competing in the Professional Division. They have placed first in many competitions, such as Virginia State, New Jersey State, Maryland Dance Championship, Commonwealth Classic, Heritage Classic, Michigan Dance Challenge, Cincinnati Dance Challenge, and Philadelphia Dance Sport. They are currently working as independent teachers in Virginia Beach, VA.

    PARTNER: ROBERT PIZZINI
  • NOAH STOVALL

    As the oldest sibling of four naturally gifted people, Noah Stovall grew up surrounded by the arts and always possessed a talent for leading. So it comes as no surprise that his leading abilities easily transferred to the dance floor! Noah’s first formal dance lessons were with a youth dance troupe in middle school. Here he explored all different genres of dance: ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, even krump and tutting. After graduating from Tallwood High School, Noah was introduced to ballroom and was hooked.

    A mere month after studying ballroom Noah competed in an independent ballroom contest, and his success there furthered his love for ballroom dance even more. After a brief hiatus from ballroom due to an injury, Noah couldn’t stay off the dance floor any longer. He took up social swing and blues in the Hampton Roads community and realized that he wanted to spend the rest of his life dancing. Luckily, he found that in Arthur Murray Virginia Beach over a year ago and has been dancing every day ever since. Noah takes such pride in his students and believes the best part of his job is watching his students grow into confident dancers.

    PARTNERS: JENNIFER MELNYK & ALI O'HARA
  • MARK WILLIAMS

    Mark Williams started his Ballroom and Latin dancing in 2000 with the International Dance Studio, here in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

    He has studied and been coached by some of the top world champions and distinguished dance Instructors such as Bill Sparks, Marcel Vilonel, Clive Stevens, Forrest Vance, Alan Hedgepeth, Brent Dunn, Marie Rants, Brennar Goree and Melinda Spencer.

    Mark and his wife Julie Williams competed in the 2007 Ohio Star Ball and they took “Top American Style Couple”. Mark loves to perform at many of the local organizations and is very passionate about helping others of all ages learn to Ballroom dance and perform. Mark is currently dancing at the Rants Ballroom Company here in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

    PARTNER: MARIA HUGO
  • Cumascaigh School

    The Cumascaigh School of Irish Dance, with locations in Yorktown and Williamsburg, VA, is registered with An Coimisiun Le Rinci Gaelacha (CLRG), the most prominently recognized and oldest Irish Dance Authority in the world. As a CLRG member, the Cumascaigh School seeks to foster a love for Irish Dancing, music, and culture!

    The Cumascaigh School performs in many “shows” or performances throughout the year. For those who are interested, there is a competitive side of Irish Dance where dancers may compete in a “feis”, a competition which allows them to earn medals and trophies for their dancing. The Cumascaigh School has dancers who participate in both of these aspects of Irish Dance. You will learn more about these opportunities as you become more involved in Irish Dancing. Many dancers may choose to compete annually at the Regional, National, and World level, and some simply take classes for pure enjoyment of honing their dancing skills and learning the culture.

    For our sponsorship we would like to thank Priority Pest Services and dedicate our performance in memory of their late owner, Larry Pilkington, and his family. We are grateful for the opportunity to benefit local arts!

    SPONSORED BY:
  • RED CROOKED SKY INDIAN DANCE TROUPE

    Bio Coming Soon!

    SPONSORED BY:
  • SARAH GOLDEN & BRENT DUNN

    Brent is the owner of Shall We Dance Virginia specializing in Wedding Preparation, Social Dancing and Competitive Ballroom and Latin Dancing.

    Brent has been awarded Top Teacher at the Virginia State Ballroom Championships for the past three years as well as Top Teacher awards at The Heritage Classic, Philadelphia Dancesport Festival and Randy Ferguson’s Dance Houston. Brent is also the leader of the Shall We Dance Competition Team. Brent has been involved with the Performing Arts for over 30 years and a Professional Ballroom Dance Instructor in the Hampton Roads area since 1995.

    Sarah grew up in Detroit and had a love for gymnastics and dance early on. She studied modern dance at the University of Michigan for a couple of years before trying to make “a go of it” in New York City. Her time in the Big Apple was filled with great experiences studying dance, performing in small modern dance companies and waiting on a lot of tables to pay the bills! After deciding she was not going to “make it” as a dancer, she eventually ended up in Virginia Beach and went back to school earning her B.S. in Computer Engineering at ODU. Sarah is President and Chief Administrative Officer of The GBS Group (GBS), a systems engineering, technology integration and reliability engineering services company headquartered in Virginia Beach. Outside of GBS, Sarah is proud mom to sons Samuel and Aaron, supports ODU Engineering, is a member of the ODU Women’s Initiative Network (WIN), mentors young female students at ODU, as well as serving on the Board for Samaritan House. Sarah is loving being back on the dance floor again this year!
  • LISA BAEHR
  • JOHN P. BERRY
  • MORGAN BYRD
  • DEANDRE COKE
  • SARAH CREECH
  • ADRIENNE DOWNING
  • CHESS EARMAN
  • CHAD
  • MARK D. HORTON
  • MARIA HUGO
  • BEVERLY KIDD
  • KURT KRAUSE
  • SHEREE KRAUSE
  • TAYLOR MALBON
  • JENNIFER MELNYK
  • ALI O'HARA
  • ROBERT PIZZINI
  • MICHAEL REYNOLDS
  • COREY RICHTBERG
  • SHERI RIDNOUER
  • SHARON SMITH
  • COURTNEY PACE STOWE
  • SAVANNA BALTERO
  • SIMONA CAPORALE
  • TARAS DENYSENKO
  • WENDY DENYSENKO
  • ERIC FERNANDEZ
  • CHRISTIANE KELSEY
  • ZHENYA KLYUKIN
  • JAY LEARY
  • RICCARDO PACINI
  • ALLIE POWERS
  • MARIE RANTS
  • SIMONE SPADONI
  • SONIA SPADONI
  • NOAH STOVALL
  • MARK WILLIAMS
  • Cumascaigh School
  • RED CROOKED SKY INDIAN DANCE TROUPE
  • SARAH GOLDEN & BRENT DUNN
LISA BAEHR

LISA BAEHR

From yoga and volleyball to running and kickboxing, Lisa Baehre, Executive Director of the Sandler Center Foundation, is no stranger to sports or athletic competition. However, aspirations for the dance stage have eluded her ever since a painful encounter with a harsh and demanding ballet teacher at the tender age of 6 foiled her plans for prima ballerina stardom. Boldly trading her gym trainers for dancing shoes, Lisa is ready to take to center stage to represent the Sandler Center Foundation and its mission to educate, inspire, enrich and build our community, strengthen local arts organizations, and instill an appreciation of the arts through the underwriting of world-class performances at the Sandler Center.

Lisa is the youngest executive director of a preeminent arts organization in Hampton Roads. When she isn’t tackling fundraising, organizational growth, sponsor partnerships, member relations or marketing, you can find her enjoying the spectacular entertainment at YNot Wednesdays with her boyfriend Marc Bernarducci, Happy Hour at Ruth’s Chris, or enjoying the ocean breezes from her home in the Vibe Creative District of Virginia Beach.

PARTNER: TARAS DENYSENKO
SPONSORED BY:
JOHN P. BERRY

JOHN P. BERRY

John was born in Norfolk, Va. and is a proud resident of Chesapeake. He graduated from Great Bridge High School, earned an Associate Degree in Business Administration from Tidewater Community College and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Old Dominion University in 2014.

John is married to his wife Lori and has two step-sons (Austin & Logan). In his free time, John enjoys coaching youth soccer in Chesapeake, dancing, and music and is excited to support the Virginia Musical Theatre. John is employed with Beskin-Divers Insurance Group, Inc and is the Manager of Enrollments for the Life, Health & Benefits Division.

John would like to thank the team at Beskin-Divers for sponsoring him and allowing him this opportunity to “strut his stuff”. He also would like to thank Savanna for her hard work and determination with the music, choreography and instruction.

PARTNER: SAVANNA BALTERO
SPONSORED BY:
MORGAN BYRD

MORGAN BYRD

When I first moved to Virginia Beach, I had the good fortune to meet Miss Barbara Lewis. I immediately tried to convince her of my dancing prowess and ultimate Dancing with the Stars victory, which has since waned considerably. In my defense, I didn’t know there were heels involved.

I have loved dancing from a young age. I danced the Nutcracker for many years at ESO on the Eastern Shore, spent a summer dancing at the Governor’s School, and later at Boston University. I moved back to the area for an MBA at W&M, shot over to New Zealand to work as an analyst with the military and have settled back in Virginia Beach as an IT Business Analyst at ADS, Inc. with my two gorgeous kids – Nate, 2, and Peyton, 4.

A humble thank you to my children for trying to push me off the stage during practices, thereby improving my balance. Watch out kiddos, despite your claims to the contrary, dancing is for mamas.

In all seriousness, I want to thank the Virginia Musical Theatre for their dedication to enriching our community with the arts. It has fostered a love for the arts for myself and many others and I am grateful for their hard work.

PARTNER: RICCARDO PACINI
SPONSORED BY: Juanita Felton
DEANDRE COKE

DEANDRE COKE

DeAndre Coke is a Financial Advisor, operating his own practice with Northwestern Mutual. He is also a Director within Northwestern Mutual, running an internship which is top 10 in the country, as well as developing and mentoring new advisors. He works with individuals and families all over the country, specializing on working with young professionals, individuals approaching retirement, and those in the military, with a focus on those in the Special Forces. He is passionate about helping his clients reach their long term financial goals, and building a long term relationship with them in the process. On a personal note, DeAndre lives in Chesapeake where he was born and raised. He enjoys snowboarding, traveling, DJing, dancing, and spending time with friends and family. It is his goal to make a strong impression on the community, thus he serves as Membership Chair on the board of the Chesapeake Division of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce as well as Regional Engagement Vice Chair on the board for tHRive, the young professional program of the Chamber. In 2015 he was chosen by Inside Business as one of Hampton Roads’ Top Forty under 40. DeAndre is also actively involved with the Tidewater Builder’s Association and also supports Alex’s Lemonade Stand and the Roc Solid Foundation.

PARTNER: WENDY DENYSENKO
SARAH CREECH

SARAH CREECH

Sarah is a native of Virginia and grew up on a farm in Nottoway. She moved to Virginia Beach 15 years ago since her grandparents and parents grew up at the beach. She has always had a love of ballet, dancing through her childhood and high school days. She loves the outdoors, camping, animals and anything out in nature. Sarah is VP of the Junior Virginia Beach Garden Club and spends her free time getting her hands dirty in the garden. She is the owner of Glow Apothecary, a beauty and wellness shop, and loves helping others along their wellness journey. She has 2 boys and a miniature schnauzer named Roon.

PARTNER: ZHENYA KLYUKIN
SPONSORED BY:
ADRIENNE DOWNING

ADRIENNE DOWNING

A Maryland native, Adrienne first danced her way into Virginia Beach in 2003 the way many military families do, courtesy of the US Navy. As an Air Force veteran, combined with her husband’s military career, she moved 15 times in 30 years, but it makes her smile that her military kids refer to Virginia Beach as “home”.

She is no stranger to the stage or competition, having grown up playing every sport imaginable as well as a background in ballet, tap, ice skating and theater. Being the lead in the senior class play was enough to convince her that she would rather spend her time in a classroom than in the spotlight. However, always being a champion for a cause, she is excited to stretch her comfort zone and help raise money for the arts through Dancing with the Stars.

As a REALTOR®️ with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Towne Realty, she is one of the top 50 individual agents in Hampton Roads and her passion for her clients and her career is evident. She was recognized as one of Virginia’s Top Realtors by Virginia Living Magazine in May. She credits her background first in electrical engineering, and then as a Major League Baseball writer and newspaper editor in chief, as the reason she is a tenacious representative for her clients. She is never afraid to pick up to phone or think outside of the box to get a question answered or a problem solved.

When she isn’t making dreams come true in real estate, she loves cooking, reading, dancing, and anything involving a beach or an airplane.

She makes her home in Virginia Beach with her husband, three kids and the world’s best Labrador.

PARTNER: TARAS DENYSENKO
CHESS EARMAN

CHESS EARMAN

Chess was born and raised in Harrisonburg Va, where he attended James Madison University. He joined the Army and served a year with the 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam. After retiring from dual careers in banking and the automobile business, he moved to Virginia Beach in 2010, where he met and married the love of his life (and his sponsor tonight) Bari Grohler, President of Beltone Hearing Aid Centers. He does volunteer work with Meals on Wheels and helps his church’s outreach mission provide meals for the less fortunate.

Three years ago, he returned to the work force as the Marketing Director for Beltone. Bari encouraged him for years to compete in Dancing with the Stars, but he felt too shy and clumsy to even consider it. Last year, while sitting in the audience watching his very pregnant daughter in law compete, judge Grant Narelle turned to the audience and encouraged everyone there to consider dancing, saying “You can do this!” He felt like Grant was talking directly to him. After turning 70 this year, Chess decided it was time to reinvent himself and signed up.

He is dedicating this dance to everyone that can’t dance due to physical limitations. He hopes that being born with “two left feet” doesn’t detract from his performance.

PARTNER: ALLIE POWERS
SPONSORED BY:
CHAD

CHAD "CJ" HAVUNEN

CEO Natural Bodyz Fitness – Open 24/7
CEO USA Elite Trainers LLC
CEO Natural Bodyz LLC
CEO JBC Reality LLC
Founder of “Fitness For All Foundation” 501 c3 Non-Profit
Drug Free Professional Natural Bodybuilder
SVCC Associates Degree
ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer & Nutritional Specialist

Professional Accolades:
  • Certified personal trainer since 2004
  • Professional Drug Free Bodybuilder (2018, 2nd at OCB PRO Yorton Cup National Championships)
  • Professional Powerlifter (Career records: 685 Squat, 685 deadlift and 455 bench)
  • Founder of USA Elite Trainers
  • Founder of Natural Bodyz Fitness 24/7 (Two Locations – Kempsville & Bayside)
  • Founder of “The Fitness For all Foundation” a Virginia 501 c3 nonprofit corporation (2017)
Public Works:
  • BNI Ambassador
  • Public Speaker / Emcee
  • Fitness Model
Beyond the professional setting:
  • Chad is married to the beautiful Kimberley Havunen.
  • They have three wonderful sons Calvin, Benjamin and Adam Havunen.
Hobbies/Activities:
  • Picking things up and putting them down…and going on family outings.
  • Helping charities like SPCA & CHKD
  • Comedy – (dream to do stand up)
Keys to success are:
Keeping faith in God’s word and plan,
His key to success are two things
1) Be loyal to the team; you will reap what you sow,
2) His motto going: “if you’re not growing – you’re shrinking”

PARTNER: CHRISTIANE KELSEY
SPONSORED BY:
MARIA HUGO

MARIA HUGO

Maria is a native of Lynn, Massachusetts and moved to the Hampton Roads area in the early 90s.

After graduating from Bayside High School in 1997 she did some traveling and then settled down in

Chesapeake, VA where she now resides with her husband and daughter.

For the past 17 years Maria has worked for Beskin-Divers Insurance Agency as a Customer Service Representative in the Commercial Insurance division.

Maria would like to express her gratitude to all the people that donated for this event on her behalf.

PARTNER: MARK WILLIAMS
BEVERLY KIDD

BEVERLY KIDD

I bring you the evening news weekly at 6 and 11 p.m. on News 3 in the Norfolk/Va Beach area. I’m a local. I grew up in Va. Beach graduating from Cox High school and Old Dominion University. This is actually my second time around here at the station. I started my reporting career here in the 90’s and in 2001 I took an anchor position in Phoenix at Channel 3 there. I worked in the Valley of the Sun for more than 10 years and loved the people and climate of AZ. But there’s no place like home so I made my way back east in 2014.
I love covering stories that help and inspire people.

My favorite stories are the People Taking Action segments where I get to surprise someone with an award and money! These are folks who are going out of their way to help others.

I’m also a health nut and I love learning about health, wellness and nutrition.

When I’m not working, you can find me hiking at North Landing State Park, Paddleboarding on the Chesapeake Bay or Lynnhaven River or riding my bike on the Boardwalk. I’m also a music lover, having played bass guitar in a rock band at one (brief) time.
I have two sons who are also musicians and all around awesome kids.

PARTNER: ZHENYA KLYUKIN
KURT KRAUSE

KURT KRAUSE

After very successful openings of the Hilton Norfolk The Main (2017), Cavalier Hotel and Cavalier Beach Club (2018) Kurt has assumed the responsibilities as the pre-opening Managing Director of Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront. Scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2020, the 305-room full service Marriott Hotel will feature exciting, innovative food and beverage ventures. The oceanfront project is a perfect complement to the historic Cavalier Hotel.

From 2006 until his arrival to The Main, Kurt was the General Manager of a 900-room conference center in Loudoun County, The National Conference Center. From 2003 to 2006, Kurt was the Vice President of Business Affairs at Virginia Tech.

Prior to joining Virginia Tech in October 2003, Kurt served our Country as a “loaned executive” for the Transportation Security Administration. As a founding member of the largest start-up of any private or public organization he was specifically responsible for many of the consumer oriented deliverables. The success of these programs provided Kurt the opportunity to create and staff the Office of Consumer Advocacy and Initiatives within the Administration which is today a very active and consumer oriented department. He was recognized with the Department of Transportation Distinguished Service Medal by Secretary Norman Minetta in 2002.

Prior to TSA, Kurt spent twenty-two years with Marriott International, where his background included various assignments in the sales and marketing discipline, followed by operational assignments in Florida and Virginia. His last position with Marriott was Vice President of Brand Strategy for Renaissance Hotels Brand Team. However, his most enjoyable position was General Manager at the Westfields Marriott in Chantilly, Virginia.

Kurt a very proud graduate of Virginia Tech (1980) believing in the university’s motto of Ut Prosim by serving on a number of community boards, task forces, and advisory councils. He is a graduate of Leadership Fairfax (2000), LEAD Virginia (2009), Lead Hampton Roads (2015). A former Chair for the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce (2012), Commissioner on the Loudoun Economic Development Commission, member of Loudoun County’s CEO Cabinet, Secretary for the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance. Kurt currently serves on the Executive Committee for the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, on the Board of Directors for Norfolk Fest Events, and on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Beach Hotel Association.

PARTNER: MARIE RANTS
SHEREE KRAUSE

SHEREE KRAUSE

For Sheree Krause answering the question,”Where are you from?” has always been difficult. She grew up the youngest of five in a Navy family and they would eventually come to settle in Northern Virginia. She graduated from Virginia Tech and would relocate to Virginia Beach after graduating in search of career and warm salty breezes. Here she would meet her husband and they would have three boys and move seven times in eleven years until finally making it full circle back to Virginia Beach. After 25 years in the Navy, her husband is retiring this year and they can now officially claim this beautiful city as their forever home.

Moving means being flexible, and Sheree’s resume has almost as many job titles as locations. Three years ago, knowing her family would be planting roots here, she became a Stylist with J.Hilburn Custom Menswear. She enjoys working with clients one on one to curate a wardrobe that is as individual as they are. Building relationships and showing how what you wear and how it fits can help to achieve personal and professional goals is very rewarding. This past year, she brought on Rodan and Fields skin care to her image consulting. Now her clients don’t just wear confidence on their sleeve, they have it from head to toe.

This is her very first experience on a big stage and ballroom dancing. She loves to try new things and embrace new experiences. She’d like to thank everyone who puts this fabulous event on: Ms. Barbara Lewis, Mark Hudgins, all the amazing sponsors, special exhibitors and professional dancers. She especially wants to thank her own partner, Jay Leary for his patience and supporting her when she came to him with this crazy idea to honor her dad.

Their routine is inspired by the stories her father would tell her of growing up in Philadelphia, PA where as a teen he would frequent tapings of Dick Clark’s American Band Stand and dance in the crowd. She loved watching her parents dance together and hopes this brings a smile to her mother in the audience and her father who will have a front row seat from the stars above.


PARTNER: JAY LEARY
SPONSORED BY:
TAYLOR MALBON

TAYLOR MALBON

She joined the TowneBank Mortgage team in 2019, with over 15 years of experience in the Sales and Marketing industry. She currently serves on Board of Directors for Great Neck Baseball League where her eldest son has played.

Taylor is happily married with two sons, Ryder and Joey, and a dog named Batman. Together, they enjoy taking trips in their camper, hosting get-togethers at their house and getting out for live music or trips to the beach whenever they can. Staying close to her farmgirl roots, Taylor enjoys staying on-the-go and doesn’t mind getting a little dirty. Her big, crazy family always keeps her on her toes, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Taylor is looking forward to taking a swing at ballroom dance. While she is unfamiliar with the ballroom technique, she loves a good challenge and hopes this showcase will help inspire audience members to get out of their comfort zone and try new things!

PARTNER: RICCARDO PACINI
SPONSORED BY:
JENNIFER MELNYK

JENNIFER MELNYK

Born in Charlottesville, Va, Jennifer grew up 30 miles Northeast in the small town of Orange. After high school she attended Old Dominion University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. At that time, Jennifer decided to trade in the mountains for the beach and has called Hampton Roads “home” for the last 18 years.

Jennifer was raised with a passion for helping others. Growing up in an intergenerational childcare in the basement of a nursing home, volunteering summers in various activity programs in nursing homes and staying by her late Grandmother’s side leading up to her passing only intensified this passion and led to her choosing a career in Nursing Home Administration. Jennifer has served Hampton Roads seniors for the last 15 years, currently serving at The Hoy Center of Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay.

Jennifer resides in the Shore Drive area of Virginia Beach with her husband, Michael, 20 Year Officer for VBPD, their 10 year old daughter, Maeson and their three fur babies. This family trio enjoys spending time with family and friends, laughing and being on the water.

The Melnyks have quite a family history with this charitable event with four previous mirror ball trophies claimed! Jennifer hopes to uphold this family legacy and sends a special thank you to her sponsors for giving her this opportunity to support this great cause: Premier Millwork, London Bridge Smiles, Chiles Healthcare Consulting, and her parents.

PARTNER: NOAH STOVALL
SPONSORED BY:
ALI O'HARA

ALI O'HARA

Ali O’Hara works at Entercom – the leading media company in the market. She has lived in Virginia Beach for about three years now with her fiancé, Steven Slaven and their dog Murdock. O’Hara is originally from the metro Detroit area and attended Michigan State University for undergrad. She then made her way south to South Carolina where she earned her master’s degree from the University of South Carolina. She has been working in the media field professionally for about eight years now, from TV, print to radio marketing. O’Hara is very active in the community and loves to workout, play volleyball, go bowling or walk her dog. She is very exciting to participate in Hampton Roads Dancing with the Stars!

PARTNER: NOAH STOVALL
SPONSORED BY:
ROBERT PIZZINI

ROBERT PIZZINI

Robert Pizzini is the Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer of iFLY Va Beach Indoor Skydiving. He began to develop iFLY Va Beach Indoor Skydiving in 2010, bringing this multi-million dollar technologically advanced experience to Virginia Beach in 2015. In 2018 iFLY Va Beach was awarded the Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year.

Robert retired from the U.S. Navy in 2010 after 26 years of service as a Diver, Master Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technician, and EOD Officer. While on active duty Robert completed multiple deployments in support of various operations throughout the world. In January 2009, he completed a combat tour with the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force, Arabian Peninsula, Balad, Iraq. His personal decorations include the Bronze Star.

Upon retirement from active duty he was an Associate with R3 Strategic Support Group from 2010-2015 where he managed various client portfolios advancing the government’s ability to combat terrorism.

Mr. Pizzini received his Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts from New York Regents College and graduated from Troy State University with a Master of Science degree, International Relations, National Security concentration. He is also a graduate of Air Command and Staff College and was an adjunct professor with American Military University’s School of Homeland Security from 2007-2010.

Robert is a Master EOD Technician, Master Naval Parachutist, Master Training Specialist, Mixed Gas Deep Sea Diving Officer, United States Parachute Association Accelerated Free Fall Instructor (AFFI), and Six Sigma Green Belt. Professional affiliations include membership in the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators, Chair Elect, Va Beach Chamber of Commerce Executive Board of Directors, and the Virginia Beach Hotel Association Legislative Affairs Committee. Robert chairs the Navy Special Operations Foundation Advisory Board as well as the Hampton Roads Sports Commission, and coaches youth hockey and baseball.

PARTNER: SONIA SPADONI
SPONSORED BY:
MICHAEL REYNOLDS

MICHAEL REYNOLDS

Michael is a Norfolk native, Vidal Sassoon trained Hair Professional, and has been employed at Changes City Spa for the past 31 years. His experience there has not only helped him grow as a person, but also as an artist. Michael is proud that he has been able to cultivate lifelong relationships with not only his coworkers, but clients alike. He loves making his clients feel special, beautiful and top priority.

Specializing in precision cutting and pristine dress attire, Michael is known for his sharpness. Every year around the holidays Michael, with the support of private donors, sponsors a local school’s family in need. He enjoys gifting the children with clothing, toys and groceries for the whole family.

Every year he brings Holiday joy to a different family. In his off time Michael enjoys gardening, working out and vacationing in Miami, FL.

PARTNER: WENDY DENYSENKO
COREY RICHTBERG

COREY RICHTBERG

Bio Coming Soon!

PARTNER: SIMONA CAPORALE
SHERI RIDNOUER

SHERI RIDNOUER

As a mother of four, Sheri Ridnouer knows what it means to be placed in the public eye and there isn’t much that can shake this Hampton Roads local….unless you turn on a little Kenny Chesney or Luke Bryan! She is known to be the life of the party, loves a good outdoor concert in the height of summer, and never lets a good beat go down without a decent twist of the hips. Simply put, Sheri isn’t shy and that serves her well during her day job where she is the face of the front office at Great Bridge Middle School.

Since 2012, Sheri has been sharing her warm smile and fun-loving spirit with all the students, faculty, and families that pass through the halls of GBMS. After all, all of her offspring have warmed the way while blazing plenty of trails for her in the Chesapeake Public School System, where she has her last child graduating from Grassfield High School in 2021. With her on-the-go schedule, fresh sense of humor, and willingness to try just about anything within reason, Sheri is looking forward to shaking things up while learning a few new moves along the way. So, have your cameras out and social media ready because this set is sure to go viral!

PARTNER: ERIC FERNANDEZ
SPONSORED BY:
SHARON SMITH

SHARON SMITH

Ms. Sharon Smith was born in beautiful West Virginia near the famous Gauley River. At age nine her family moved to downtown Philadelphia and she now calls Hampton Roads home. She is quick to say that she still loves Philly and her beloved Super Bowl Champions, the Philadelphia Eagles. Ms. Smith is the owner and president of six local flooring stores. She has three brands, including Carpet World Carpet One in Norfolk and Chesapeake, Floor Trader in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, and Prosource in Newport News and Chesapeake. She is blessed to have two beautiful and successful daughters, three wonderful grandsons and two handsome sons-in-law. Her passion is family, business and traveling. She feels that she is truly fortunate to have the opportunity to travel extensively and experience many cultures worldwide.

Ms. Smith is also a very dedicated community leader, and is currently the co-chairwoman of the Judeo-Christian Outreach Center at the Virginia Beach oceanfront. The JCOC feeds and shelters the homeless in the resort area. In 2018 she was honored with the “Retail Donor of the Year” Award from Habitat for Humanity. Sharon also serves on the advisory board for the Art Institute of Virginia Beach. This is Sharon’s second year in Dancing with the Hampton Roads Celebrity Stars. She says that she “went from dancing at the bars to Dancing with the Stars”. She is very excited to be paired with Riccardo Pacini as her partner again this season, and wishes to thank Riccardo, Ms. Barbara Lewis and Mark Hudgins for allowing her to have this opportunity and is planning on having another exciting experience!

PARTNER: RICCARDO PACINI
SPONSORED BY:
COURTNEY PACE STOWE

COURTNEY PACE STOWE

Bio Coming Soon!

PARTNER: SIMONE SPADONI
SAVANNA BALTERO

SAVANNA BALTERO

Savanna is currently a ballroom dance instructor and aspiring dance competitor at Arthur Murray Dance Studios; however she has always had an enthusiasm and passion for dance. Close friends and family say she was born to dance having spent the first few years of her life on her toes. From a very young age she showed a natural inclination and an early love for dance, and was enrolled in her first lesson at the age of 7. Savanna started her dance journey in a tiny purple dance studio right in the middle of Oahu, Hawai’i taking all types of dance classes: contemporary, lyrical, jazz, even a little hip-hop. However, Savanna ultimately fell in love with the poise and challenge of ballet and was encouraged by several dance teachers to not only take advanced private lessons, but also join a ballet company.

Less than a year later she was dancing with a prominent ballet studio, Ballet Hawai’i. Many company performances and Nutcrackers later she relocated to Virginia Beach, Virginia, which she now calls home. Savanna continued dancing ballet in Virginia, but eventually broke into the ballroom world through social swing and blues. She learned to swing locally, basically learning an entirely different style of dance while on the dance floor. After a couple years of social ballroom dancing Savanna was in love just as she had fallen in love with ballet as a child. Luckily, she was presented with the opportunity to not only dance everyday, but also share the joy of dance to people of all walks of life.

This opportunity was, of course, an instructor position at Arthur Murray Virginia Beach. As a teacher, she believes dance can fix any problem – and she intends to try just that! Savanna is so thrilled that she is able to combine her passion with her career and is looking forward to her future as a ballroom instructor, ballroom competitor, and Dancing with the Stars of Hampton Roads 2016 professional!

PARTNER: JOHN P. BERRY
SIMONA CAPORALE

SIMONA CAPORALE

Bio Coming Soon!

PARTNER: COREY RICHTBERG
TARAS DENYSENKO

TARAS DENYSENKO

Taras was born and raised in Rochester, NY, where he found early in life a love and talent for dancing. Fostering an appreciation for the family’s Ukrainian heritage, Taras’s parents introduced their children to the country’s culture and customs. Through this exposure, Taras’s aptitude for Ukrainian Folk dancing became evident.

Throughout his childhood years Taras studied, practiced, and performed as a principle dancer for his group, and traveled to ballet workshops and intensives to solidify his foundation in this art. Seeking a means to supplement his lifestyle as a bourgeoning rock star, Taras stumbled upon the movie ‘Swing Kids’, which inspired a call to the Arthur Murray Dance Studio. After his initial visit, the studio owner offered him a position as an instructor.

Training in the array of positions Arthur Murray has to offer quickly commenced. Taras started his employment in 1996 at the Rochester studio. He would go on to achieve many goals and receive accolades as an instructor, from being one of the top teachers in the organization to becoming the franchisee of the studio within five years.

A few of his professional dance accomplishments with his wife, Wendy, include: Southern Ontario Rhythm Champions, World Salsa finalists, Arthur Murray Rising Star Rhythm Champions, and Open Rhythm Champions and World finalists.

In 2009, Taras and Wendy moved to Virginia Beach and opened the Arthur Murray Studio as it is today. As Certified Dance Masters, they travel across the country as Adjudicators, Trainers and Consultants. Their goal is to bring Hampton Roads the highest quality and the finest service dance instruction has to offer. They train their teachers and inspire their students locally as well as across the Arthur Murray organization to achieve their highest potential while having fun.

PARTNER: LISA BAEHRE
WENDY DENYSENKO

WENDY DENYSENKO

Dancing has been a lifelong passion and pursuit for both Taras and Wendy. When the two began their dance careers as Instructors with Arthur Murray Dance Studios, they joined the organization with individual, yet equally extensive backgrounds in Fine Arts. Wendy, a Musical Theatre Major, started dancing at a young age with a classical background in Ballet, Tap, and Jazz. Her love and talent for the stage was highlighted in the well-known productions of Grease and Man of la Mancha. Taras found his love of dance through his culture, as he explored movement and music through Ukrainian Folk Dance. His natural ability and talent for Ballet earned him the title of Lead Dancer in the premier Ukrainian Folk Dance Group of Rochester, New York. Passion met opportunity when Taras and Wendy discovered the world of Ballroom Dance. Taras and Wendy chose to pursue their personal and professional dance goals, which led them to great achievement. Partnered in 2001, they dedicated themselves to the continued growth of their respective dance studios while simultaneously training to reach champion-level success in the competitive dance arena. Taras and Wendy professionally thrive in all positions within Arthur Murray as Instructors, Managers, Coaches, and most recently as Franchisees of the Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

The successes and accolades of Taras and Wendy are numerous. Wendy’s ability to teach and motivate, with her reassuring and positive approach to students, earned her the title of Top Teacher in the Rochester Studio, which led to her promotion as Executive Supervisor overseeing the growth of her staff and helping to create one of the leading studios on the East Coast. As Dance Director of the Rochester Studio, Taras helped raise the area’s dance standard. As a natural leader, his ability to organize international competitive events helped Arthur Murray students and teachers broaden their perspective of the power of dance to connect people of different cultures. His ingenuity as a choreographer, as well as his skill for highlighting the unique talents and abilities of his students, is demonstrated with every formation, spotlight performance, dance show, and competitive routine to which he lends his talents.

Taras and Wendy credit much of their competitive career success to their wonderful teachers and dance coaches. Having worked with some of the Industry’s best, Taras and Wendy acquired the skills and level of discipline necessary to achieve a level of professional success that only top competitors will know. In 2005 Taras and Wendy Denysenko became Arthur Murray Rising Star Rhythm Champions. Since then they have been finalists and champions in such competitions as the Caribbean DanceSport Championship, the New York City Superama and Dance-O-Rama, Atlanta Open, Atlantic City Dance-O-Rama, Las Vegas World-O-Rama, La Classique du Québec and Falls Premier Ball. They experience continued success in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

In 2009, an exciting opportunity led Taras and Wendy to relocate to Virginia Beach where they opened their own Arthur Murray Dance Studio. Since that time, their consistent efforts to evolve in the field of Performance Art have reinvigorated dance in Virginia Beach. The authentic quality and standard of dance that typically exists only in major cities, like New York and Los Angeles, can be experienced in their Virginia Beach Studio. Presently their goal is to expand so that everyone in Hampton Roads may have the opportunity to experience the magic that Arthur Murray’s brings. Visit www.cutarug.net

PARTNER: DEANDRE COKE
ERIC FERNANDEZ

ERIC FERNANDEZ

Eric is a Hampton Roads native, born and bred. As a child he grew up break dancing with local neighborhood kids, and experimenting with many different dance styles. He was first introduced to Latin dancing at a young age while working at a local nightclub. This sparked a passion for Latin dance in Eric; from then on he spent his free time learning those dances such as salsa, bachata, and merengue.

Eric then went on to honorably serve nine years in the United States Navy where he acquired many illustrious skills. He also took an interest in martial arts where he closely studied many techniques refining his speed, timing, agility, and strength. However, dancing had always left an impression that he just could not forget; he decided to pursue dance as his career.

Eric applied for a position as a ballroom dance instructor at Arthur Murray Virginia Beach and since that day has never had to work again – it’s a beautiful thing when one’s passion and career come together. Eric is known throughout the studio as having a keen eye for technique and instilling confidence in all of his students. Eric plans on continuing to teach while working towards opening an Arthur Murray studio of his own as well as develop his photography business.

PARTNERS: SHERI RIDNOUER, & ADRIENNE DOWNING
CHRISTIANE KELSEY

CHRISTIANE KELSEY

Christiane is an active member of the Native American community participating through head dancing, singing, regalia design and historical presentation preparation and tribal dance competitions. Attending powwows and other tribal gatherings frequently, She and her family became increasingly involved in the Native community and helped to found Red Crooked Sky. Which is an Inter tribal dance troupe, which puts on historical and educational exhibitions and has performed for prestigious events such as the Dali Lama’s reception in the U.S. Christiane spent her young adult life expanding her dance knowledge by taking advantage of formal dance classes. She mainly focused on ballet, tap, jazz, and lyrical dance.

After a year she was asked to become a student teacher and assist with the development of younger dancers, assisting with choreography and technique. During her high school she participated in musical theatre groups where she choreographed dances and performed for local businesses. Towards the end of high school, with a heavy heart, she hung up her dance shoes in order to focus on formal education. She first explored partner dancing in college, dancing anything from waltz and salsa to swing and blues.

She started dancing socially with friends and rekindled a love for dancing. Christiane is currently a ballroom professional at the Arthur Murray Ballroom Dance studio where she gives the gift of dance to her students through her warm enthusiasm and gentle encouragement. She hopes to continue pursuing a competitive career and to become an Arthur Murray executive. She hopes to show students and educators the many benefits of dance not only as physical exercise or a hobby but to also show the mental and emotional benefits of dance as therapy.

PARTNER: CHAD HAVUNEN
ZHENYA KLYUKIN

ZHENYA KLYUKIN

Zhenya moved to Hampton Roads thirteen years ago from Yekaterinburg, Russia. He began dancing in Russia when he was just 6 years old and holds many championship titles from his competitive career in Standard and Latin dancing in Russia. He currently competes with many students throughout the year at various competitions throughout the United States, some dancing at the highest level of competition available. He enjoys sharing his love of dance with people, whether they be beginner social dancers…or competitive advanced dancers.

He and his wife, Rebekah, have owned A Time to Dance studio in Virginia Beach for eleven years. At the studio they offer private lessons, group classes, instruction and entertainment for private events, and social dance parties. Additionally, they have two children, Izabella and Dmitry, and two dachshunds, Simba and Nala. He can be reached by calling 757.490.8999 or via email at [email protected] Zhenya would like to thank his partner, Kellie Gessler, for the privilege of dancing with her in this competition!

PARTNER: SARAH CREECH & BEVERLY KIDD
JAY LEARY

JAY LEARY

Has been dancing for 13 years, starting in ballet with the Arizona Youth Ballet where he danced for two years, learning ballet and jazz. He extended his dancing styles to include other genres, including modern, contemporary, and hip hop. Jay attended Grand Canyon University majoring in Dance Education, where he choreographed and performed. He began dancing ballroom in 2012 with Fred Astaire Dance Studio, where he instructed and competed professionally. Currently serving in the Navy on active duty on the USS Abraham Lincoln, Jay continues to teach, as well compete at Dancesport VA.

PARTNER: SHEREE KRAUSE
RICCARDO PACINI

RICCARDO PACINI

Riccardo and Sonia both started dancing when they were 6 years old. They have both trained with some of the most prestigious coaches in the world. In 2002, they started dancing together at the Junior Open Gold level in Italy.

After only 1 year of partnership, they achieved 1st place at the Italian Open Championship in Latin and the Combined 10 Dance competition. Riccardo and Sonia also placed second at the Standard Open Championship. Two years later, in 2004 they began to compete internationally. By 2006, they were ranked 2nd in the world. That same year they placed second in the under 21 category at the World 10 Dance Championship in Platja d’Aro Spain. Finally, after a successful career at the Junior and Under 21 levels, Riccardo and Sonia began competing in the more challenging Adult category. After entering the more challenging Adult category, Riccardo and Sonia placed second at the Italian Open Champion in both Standard and Latin in 2008. They also placed second in the Italian Open Championship both Standard and Latin as well as reaching the finals in many prestigious competitions around Europe.

2010 was an exciting year for Riccardo and Sonia. They placed second in the Italian Open Combined 10 Dance Championship and opened their own studio in Rome, Italy and that same year. Three years later, in 2013 Riccardo and Sonia placed in the top three in some of the most prestigious competitions around the world. Such as the UK Open, the German Open Championship, and the Disney Cup in Paris, France. They also placed 2nd at the World Latin Show Dance Championship. The next year, 2014, they won the Italian Open Championship in Latin dance style. That same year they decided to move to USA. Since moving to the United States, they have achieved great results competing in the Professional Division. They have placed first in many competitions, such as Virginia State, New Jersey State, Maryland Dance Championship, Commonwealth Classic, Heritage Classic, Michigan Dance Challenge, Cincinnati Dance Challenge, and Philadelphia Dance Sport. They are currently working as independent teachers in Virginia Beach, VA.

PARTNERS: MORGAN BYRD, TAYLOR MALBON, SHARON SMITH
ALLIE POWERS

ALLIE POWERS

Allie Powers has danced most of her life, beginning at the early age of 4 training in ballet, tap, and hip-hop. She formalized her Ballroom Dancing career in 2004, training under Yevgeny Klyukin training in International Latin and Standard. She has competed in Maryland and Washington D.C. placing 1st and taking the “overall categories” in all of her competitions. For the past 10 years, Allie has been training and teaching at “A Time to Dance”. Allie excels in International style Latin but has a passion for all forms of dancing and enjoys teaching the art of Ballroom Dancing to her students.

PARTNER: CHESS EARMAN
MARIE RANTS

MARIE RANTS

Marie Rants, Owner/Artist Director of Rants Ballroom Company, has been dancing professionally since 1996. She holds a BA in Dance and is also part of the adjunct dance faculty at Old Dominion University.

Ms. Rants has been coached by World Latin/Ballroom Champions and specializes in the American Rhythm & Smooth Ballroom disciplines. Having been awarded Top Teacher honors at the competitive level, she is also committed to teaching dance as art even at the social-dance level. Marie is passionate about sharing her love of dance with her students, from the young to the young at heart.

PARTNER: KURT KRAUSE
SIMONE SPADONI

SIMONE SPADONI

Bio Coming Soon!

PARTNER: COURTNEY PACE STOWE
SONIA SPADONI

SONIA SPADONI

Riccardo and Sonia both started dancing when they were 6 years old. They have both trained with some of the most prestigious coaches in the world. In 2002, they started dancing together at the Junior Open Gold level in Italy.

After only 1 year of partnership, they achieved 1st place at the Italian Open Championship in Latin and the Combined 10 Dance competition. Riccardo and Sonia also placed second at the Standard Open Championship. Two years later, in 2004 they began to compete internationally. By 2006, they were ranked 2nd in the world. That same year they placed second in the under 21 category at the World 10 Dance Championship in Platja d’Aro Spain. Finally, after a successful career at the Junior and Under 21 levels, Riccardo and Sonia began competing in the more challenging Adult category. After entering the more challenging Adult category, Riccardo and Sonia placed second at the Italian Open Champion in both Standard and Latin in 2008. They also placed second in the Italian Open Championship both Standard and Latin as well as reaching the finals in many prestigious competitions around Europe.

2010 was an exciting year for Riccardo and Sonia. They placed second in the Italian Open Combined 10 Dance Championship and opened their own studio in Rome, Italy and that same year. Three years later, in 2013 Riccardo and Sonia placed in the top three in some of the most prestigious competitions around the world. Such as the UK Open, the German Open Championship, and the Disney Cup in Paris, France. They also placed 2nd at the World Latin Show Dance Championship. The next year, 2014, they won the Italian Open Championship in Latin dance style. That same year they decided to move to USA. Since moving to the United States, they have achieved great results competing in the Professional Division. They have placed first in many competitions, such as Virginia State, New Jersey State, Maryland Dance Championship, Commonwealth Classic, Heritage Classic, Michigan Dance Challenge, Cincinnati Dance Challenge, and Philadelphia Dance Sport. They are currently working as independent teachers in Virginia Beach, VA.

PARTNER: ROBERT PIZZINI
NOAH STOVALL

NOAH STOVALL

As the oldest sibling of four naturally gifted people, Noah Stovall grew up surrounded by the arts and always possessed a talent for leading. So it comes as no surprise that his leading abilities easily transferred to the dance floor! Noah’s first formal dance lessons were with a youth dance troupe in middle school. Here he explored all different genres of dance: ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, even krump and tutting. After graduating from Tallwood High School, Noah was introduced to ballroom and was hooked.

A mere month after studying ballroom Noah competed in an independent ballroom contest, and his success there furthered his love for ballroom dance even more. After a brief hiatus from ballroom due to an injury, Noah couldn’t stay off the dance floor any longer. He took up social swing and blues in the Hampton Roads community and realized that he wanted to spend the rest of his life dancing. Luckily, he found that in Arthur Murray Virginia Beach over a year ago and has been dancing every day ever since. Noah takes such pride in his students and believes the best part of his job is watching his students grow into confident dancers.

PARTNERS: JENNIFER MELNYK & ALI O’HARA
MARK WILLIAMS

MARK WILLIAMS

Mark Williams started his Ballroom and Latin dancing in 2000 with the International Dance Studio, here in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

He has studied and been coached by some of the top world champions and distinguished dance Instructors such as Bill Sparks, Marcel Vilonel, Clive Stevens, Forrest Vance, Alan Hedgepeth, Brent Dunn, Marie Rants, Brennar Goree and Melinda Spencer.

Mark and his wife Julie Williams competed in the 2007 Ohio Star Ball and they took “Top American Style Couple”. Mark loves to perform at many of the local organizations and is very passionate about helping others of all ages learn to Ballroom dance and perform. Mark is currently dancing at the Rants Ballroom Company here in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

PARTNER: MARIA HUGO
Cumascaigh School

Cumascaigh School

The Cumascaigh School of Irish Dance, with locations in Yorktown and Williamsburg, VA, is registered with An Coimisiun Le Rinci Gaelacha (CLRG), the most prominently recognized and oldest Irish Dance Authority in the world. As a CLRG member, the Cumascaigh School seeks to foster a love for Irish Dancing, music, and culture!

The Cumascaigh School performs in many “shows” or performances throughout the year. For those who are interested, there is a competitive side of Irish Dance where dancers may compete in a “feis”, a competition which allows them to earn medals and trophies for their dancing. The Cumascaigh School has dancers who participate in both of these aspects of Irish Dance. You will learn more about these opportunities as you become more involved in Irish Dancing. Many dancers may choose to compete annually at the Regional, National, and World level, and some simply take classes for pure enjoyment of honing their dancing skills and learning the culture.

For our sponsorship we would like to thank Priority Pest Services and dedicate our performance in memory of their late owner, Larry Pilkington, and his family. We are grateful for the opportunity to benefit local arts!

SPONSORED BY:
RED CROOKED SKY INDIAN DANCE TROUPE

RED CROOKED SKY INDIAN DANCE TROUPE

Bio Coming Soon!

SPONSORED BY:
SARAH GOLDEN & BRENT DUNN

SARAH GOLDEN & BRENT DUNN

Brent is the owner of Shall We Dance Virginia specializing in Wedding Preparation, Social Dancing and Competitive Ballroom and Latin Dancing.

Brent has been awarded Top Teacher at the Virginia State Ballroom Championships for the past three years as well as Top Teacher awards at The Heritage Classic, Philadelphia Dancesport Festival and Randy Ferguson’s Dance Houston. Brent is also the leader of the Shall We Dance Competition Team. Brent has been involved with the Performing Arts for over 30 years and a Professional Ballroom Dance Instructor in the Hampton Roads area since 1995.

Sarah grew up in Detroit and had a love for gymnastics and dance early on. She studied modern dance at the University of Michigan for a couple of years before trying to make “a go of it” in New York City. Her time in the Big Apple was filled with great experiences studying dance, performing in small modern dance companies and waiting on a lot of tables to pay the bills! After deciding she was not going to “make it” as a dancer, she eventually ended up in Virginia Beach and went back to school earning her B.S. in Computer Engineering at ODU. Sarah is President and Chief Administrative Officer of The GBS Group (GBS), a systems engineering, technology integration and reliability engineering services company headquartered in Virginia Beach. Outside of GBS, Sarah is proud mom to sons Samuel and Aaron, supports ODU Engineering, is a member of the ODU Women’s Initiative Network (WIN), mentors young female students at ODU, as well as serving on the Board for Samaritan House. Sarah is loving being back on the dance floor again this year!

Premiere Sponsor


Star Sponsors


Co-Star Sponsors


supporting players

BILLY ALMOND - WPL

JAMES ARNHOLD

THE BREEDEN COMPANY

CHARLES BARKER MERCEDES BENZ

STACY CUMMINGS - PRIORITY AUTO

THE KLETT CONSULTING GROUP, INC.

LIFENET

LINWOOD BRANCH

MANCON

SUZANNE NOWERS

PACE COLLABORATIVE, P.C.

MEAGAN PARKER - TOWNEBANK

RON & DONNA RIPLEY

MICHAEL & JOYCE SPENCER

FRIENDS OF MORGAN STANLEY

HOWARD SYKES - SYKES, BOURDON, AHERN & LEVY, PC

SUMMIT GROUP OF VA, LLP

SUSSEX DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

FRANK TEHEL

WARE INSURANCE

MICHAEL D. ZEIDERS


Media Sponsors

About HR Celebrity Stars

Dancing with the Hampton Roads Celebrity Stars,” the fifth annual fundraising event to benefit local arts groups, will be held August 10th at 7:00 pm at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach. Based on the hit TV show, twenty-four local contestants, made up of business leaders, media celebrities, civic and political leaders and other various professionals with limited or no dance experience will be paired with a professional dancer/choreographer to perform before a live audience and professional judges.

Barbara Lewis

Local entrepreneur and owner of Town Center City Club, Barbara Lewis, is the producer of this event.

Joe Flanagan

A former longtime reporter from WVEC, will be the MC for this year’s event

AUGUST 10TH 2019 @ THE SANDLER CENTER

All proceeds from the event will benefit local arts groups, including Virginia Musical TheaterThe Governors School for the Arts and others.
Limited tickets for the event are currently on sale for a $50.00 tax-deductable donation. Buy tickets online, from contestants, or at local ballroom Studios.
Created by Array Digital
© 2019 hrcelebritystars.com