‘Dancing with our Stars’ in Nevada County | TheUnion.com

‘Dancing with our Stars’ in Nevada County

Dancing With Our Stars, The Center for the Arts signature fundraiser, returns to Veterans Memorial Auditorium in downtown Grass Valley.
Photo by John Taber |


WHAT: 5th Annual Dancing with our Stars

WHEN: Saturday at 8 p.m.

Pre-show Red Carpet at 6 p.m.

After-party at The Center’s Off Center Stage — 11:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.

WHERE: Veterans Memorial Auditorium, 255 South Auburn Street, Grass Valley.

After-party at the Off Center Stage, behind The Center for the Arts, 315 Richardson Street, Grass Valley.

TICKETS: Reserved Seating:

$152 Premium Table Seating includes parking, drink ticket and desserts

$127 Side Table Seating includes parking drink ticket and desserts

$52/62 member/non-member Tier 1 Reserved Bleacher Seating General Admission:

$27/37 member/non-member Tier 2 General Admission Bleacher Seating

INFO: http://www.thecenterforthearts.org/5th-annual-dancing-with-our-stars/

Ten local celebrities, each paired with a professional dancer, have for the past six months been diligently rehearsing fancy steps, high-speed turns, and other choreography leading up to Saturday’s “Dancing with our Stars.”

But one dancer-celebrity pair has had less than three weeks to practice for the Center for the Arts’ fundraiser. The star originally paired five months ago with professional dancer Dori Delgado suddenly dropped out due to a family emergency.

The show must go on; Casey Burke to the rescue!

“I’m very excited to have Casey as my new partner,” said Delgado, who is managing director and a teacher at Center Stage Dance Studio. “It’s one thing to teach someone new the routine, but we also must ensure it’s good enough quality to perform. There is tremendous pressure to do a good job so the show goes well.”

Burke has been performing in Nevada County for eight years, including creating several original comedies for Off Center Stage. His “Dancing with our Stars” debut marks his first public performance as a dancer.

“From the start two-and-a-half weeks ago, I was fairly confident we could make it happen,” said Burke. “I’ve never worked with a partner in a ballroom setting, but I’m a quick study. Dori manages a dance studio, so if anyone could teach me to dance quickly, it’s her. We’re confident we’ll be able to put on a good show. I think we’ll be competitive and I think we could win. People are going to be surprised at what we were able to put together.”

Delgado said she hopes practice — although short — makes perfect.

“We’ve been practicing every day for two hours,” Delgado added. “I brought in a friend who teaches swing to help us fine-tune some of the lifts and tricks. Casey is a quick learner. He’s very dedicated and I appreciate him stepping in at the last moment. We’re going to be ready.”

Local and regional Dancing with our Stars celebrities agree to raise money, train conscientiously, learn intricate dance moves from their assigned dance pro, and have fun. Among the 10 local stars are an educator, professional singer, audio-book narrator, architect, construction company owner, and other business leaders.

Three coveted mirrorball trophies will be awarded: one to the couple who raises the most money before the event, another to the couple with the most “votes” (donations) the night of the show, and the grand prize to the couple with the highest combined judges’ scores. Audience members are encouraged to help their favorite team take home a mirrorball trophy by buying tickets in advance and donating the night of the show.

Tickets range from $27 for general admission bleacher seating to $152 per person for reserved seating at a premium table including parking, a VIP reception, drink ticket, and dessert.

The pre-show red carpet arrival extravaganza, featuring paparazzi and crowds cheering for both performers and patrons, kicks off at 6 p.m. The dancing competition, with each pair performing two numbers, begins at 8 p.m. After the awards ceremony, performers and ticket-holders sashay over to Off Center Stage behind the Center for the Arts. There they will kick up their heels at a post-party until 1:30 a.m.

A married couple of dance pros are competing this year — against each other. Denay Woodman is teamed with Fit Culture Studio personal trainer Steve Conrad. Woodman’s husband, Martin Bullo, is paired with “Love Works for You” relationship specialist Sonika Tinker.

With both husband and wife devoting 10 hours each week to practicing with their partners, it’s been a challenge to keep the home fires burning.

“The house is a little bit of a wreck, but we’ll get to it,” said Woodman. “There are a lot of piles of laundry. We have a five-year-old son, so there have been a few quick hand-offs here and there. It’s been a challenge finding time that works for us, family, and both our dance partners.”

“The biggest challenge has been the past two weeks,” said Bullo. “It’s been more complicated with choosing costumes, lighting, and being nervous because it’s getting close to the time. But it’s the fun part of the experience.”

“We know how to have a healthy competition,” said Woodman. “We give each other a little bit of heat. But not too much, just enough to keep it fun.”

Another local celebrity is, in fact, a reality television star. Alison Kenyon, a season three finalist on “Skin Wars” and owner of Body Masterpiece body painting, is teamed with dance pro Brian Arsenault.

“Last summer I was on a reality TV show called ‘Skin Wars,’” said Kenyon. “It’s a competition patterned after shows such as ‘Face Off’ and ‘Project Runway,’ but it’s about body painting. Each week the concepts got more complex and the time to paint the models got shorter. I placed second.”

In addition to fame from the show, which continues in reruns, Kenyon was awarded … nothing.

“First place got $100,000, but second place got nothing!” she said.

Kenyon has done makeup for Dancing with our Stars performers the past three years. This is her first year appearing on stage.

“We have both our pieces entirely finished and we’re polishing up our moves,” she said. “We’re putting the finishing touches on our costumes. I think we’ve got a chance to win it. I didn’t go into it caring about that, but now I’m thinking, ‘Holy moley, we could win!’ I’m proud of what we’ve created together.”

Dancing with our Stars is the Center’s biggest annual fundraiser and its signature event. Celebrities are asked to raise a minimum of $2,000 before the competition. Last year’s show netted $67,000. Organizers hope to net $70,000 this year.

Months of painstaking preparation and rehearsing that “special move” all come together on this spectacular night, said Amber Jo Manuel, the Center’s Development Director.

“Everyone that attends gets to experience the glamour of walking the red carpet and rubbing elbows with the ‘Who’s Who’ of Nevada County,” said Manuel. “After you make your way past the onlookers and paparazzi into the largest and hands-down most fun fundraising event of the year, you’ll watch and cheer as local stars, experienced dancers, and first-timers dance their hearts out for a great cause.”

Lorraine Jewett is a freelance writer who lives in Nevada County. She can be reached at lorrainejewettwrites@gmail.com.


Robert Rossman

Robert Rossman is the Artistic Director for Sierra Stages Community Theatre in Nevada County and has directed theatre productions including Avenue Q, Spelling Bee, End Days, Little Shop of Horrors, and the recent hit musical Chicago. Acting credits include The Producers, Lend Me a Tenor, Cripple of Inishmann, and Death of a Salesman. A little known fact about Bob; he was a street mime in San Francisco in the early ‘80s.

Robert moved to Grass Valley from the Bay Area in 2007. Most of Robert’s career was in computer game animation and art direction. Recently he switched to audio-book narration and voice acting. You can listen to his audio-book work at http://www.robertrossmann.com.

Robert is dancing with pro dancer Kate Haight.

Michael Melas

Michael Melas is the owner of Melas Energy Engineering and has been married for 30 years to his college sweetheart, Emily Malsam. They have two grown daughters, Sophia and Eva, who have inherited Michael’s love of travel.

Born to a German mother and Greek father, Michael spent his early childhood in the South of France and his later childhood in the mountains of Southern California. He is avid cyclist, and he enjoys skiing, dancing, walking his dogs and having a coffee with family and friends.

He is grateful for the diverse and vibrant music scene in Nevada County. And while he feels out of his comfort zone performing in Dancing with our Stars, he welcomes the challenge and is happy to contribute to The Center for the Arts.

Michael is dancing with pro dancer Natina Pistone.

Dan Maliszewski

Dan Maliszewski is a general contractor and owner of Maliszewski Construction. He has been working and residing in the area with his family since 2006. Dan and his wife, Stacy, a Dancing with our Stars alumni, previously competing as a professional dancer, have 3 children.

Dan is an avid hunter and fisherman. He also loves to snowboard, boat, and watch movies with his family. Dan has enjoyed experiencing a taste of his wife’s dancing profession.

Dan is dancing with pro dancer Melissa Stewart.

Steve Conrad

Steve Conrad grew up in Grass Valley and graduated from Nevada Union in 2004. After high school, he ran track at UC Berkeley, then studied Kinesiology in graduate school in Chico before moving back to Grass Valley in 2012 to help care for his grandmother and live closer to his family.

Four years ago, he started working at Fit Culture Studio in Nevada City as a trainer and business partner. He also coaches track at Nevada Union High School and with the Sierra Gold track team, a “Masters” team.

Steve has absolutely no dance background. He tries to make a habit of challenging himself which led him to train for American Ninja Warrior as well as participating in Dancing with Our Stars this year.

Hobbies include track training and Ninja Warrior training, as well as listening to audio books, golfing, and disc golfing.

Steve is dancing with pro partner Denay Woodman.

Sonika Tinker

Sonika Tinker, MSW, is a Business Owner, Relationship Specialist, Certified Mediator, Certified Enneagram Teacher, Certified NLP Professional, Co-Author of Seize Your Opportunities and The Good Divorce, and is the Founder of LoveWorks (loveworksforyou.com), a relationship training company.

Sonika produces and leads live transformational trainings and online courses with her husband, Christian Pedersen, and has a private practice in Meadow Vista, California.

Sonika is dancing with pro Martin Bello.

Yolanda Williges

Yolanda Williges is a mother of four and an exercise enthusiast. She has worked at the Nevada City School District and is currently the “Healthy Kids” Program Educator at Deer Creek Elementary and the Director for the After School Enrichment Program for the District. She has attended every “Dancing with our Stars” performance which inspired her to get involved this year.

Her partner, Chris Marcum is a Nevada Union High School alumni and danced in their program for three years. His passion for dance started when he was 12 and saw a Michael Jackson video and told his mother that someday he was going to dance just like him. Chris has auditioned for America’s Got Talent twice, and is registered to audition for the upcoming JLo’s “World of Dance.” He currently teaches hip hop clinics at Anderson’s Step it Up Dance Studio in Nevada City.

Richard Baker

Richard Baker is a fifth generation Nevada City native and owner of Siteline Architecture. He is a past president of the board of directors of The Center for the Arts and a past trustee for the Nevada Joint Union High School District.

Richard’s passion for this community, his love for the Center for the Arts and his desire to please his wife Julie Baker have drawn him to dance this year. Richard’s background in dance comes from his time working with Onsite Dance Company in the Bay Area in the early to mid ‘90s both designing set elements and dancing.

Richard is dancing with pro dancer Maria Dicintio. Having spent time on field trips with Maria, his sons fourth grade teacher, at the School of the Arts, Richard knew that they would be a perfect fit as partners for the competition.

Haven Caravelli

Haven Caravelli, born and raised in Nevada County, has been a dancer since the age of two. She has danced with several dance studios and competed in numerous dance competitions around Northern California. Professionally, Haven has taken master classes with Los Angeles based Tremaine Dance Company and nationally recognized Dupree Dance Academy. She has taught multiple forms of dance at Sierra Dance Institute for over 12 years.

To better incorporate her love of dance and respect for the human body she was certified with Integrated Teacher Training Pilates in 2005. Haven is now a Master Level trainer with Integrated Teacher Training and is excited to be the first off-site certification studio and educator.

Haven is also certified in Bodykey and Master Stretch from Italy with Kelly and Victor Uygan, and Bodycode with founder Pino Carbone. Haven’s extensive training and years of teaching have made her a true healer. Haven is the owner of center of movement Pilates and functional fitness studio located in historical downtown Grass Valley.

Haven is dancing with pro dancer Marissa Hernandez.

Chad Conner Crow

Chad Conner Crow is musically adept and adores introducing different faces to different styles of music. Chad is the front man for the ‘20s Gatsby group, The Earles of Newtown. He also fronts an onstage circus called Organism Orchestra, and is Grit, in the blues trio Grease, Grit and Grime. He plays drums for a band called HomeFree (formed at a homeless shelter) and has fun as the horned antihero of heavy metal band EarWrecked. He also organizes events here in Nevada County and the Bay area, under the umbrella of As the Crow Flies Productions.

Chad is dancing with pro Dori Delgado.

Alison Kenyon

Alison Kenyon is a mom, an artist, and goofball. She started performing in 1993 as a burlesque dancer, fire swallower, clown, and later added contortionist, makeup artist and pro-wrestler to her resume. Makeup turned into face painting and then body painting — ultimately landing her in second place on GSN’s top rated reality competition show Skin Wars. She lovingly refers to her unique fashion sense as “Granny Chic.”

Alison is dancing with pro Brian Arsenault.


Barry Friedman

Barry Friedman is a four-time world champion juggler, six-time TED presenter, and one-time father. He uses his entrepreneurial skills and experience to design custom presentations, create online training programs, and coach/consult for Fortune 500 companies around the world. He has co-led Rites of Passage adventure weekends for teens since 2008; authored a bestselling book on redefining our relationship to sugar; provides private coaching and consulting; and, for a lot of his life, he traveled the world as one-half of the four-time World Juggling Championship team, The Raspyni Brothers.

Last year is was an MC for Dancing with our Stars and for this year’s event he will be joining us as a judge.

Yelena Holt

Yelena Holt has been an educator and dance instructor in Nevada County since 1980. With a background in dramatic and musical theater, classical ballet from Crockett School of Dance and Sacramento Ballet, and a State of California Credential and Masters in English Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Mrs. Holt has nurtured Nevada County’s young dancers in achieving exemplary skills, not only in dance but in all walks of their lives.

With 35 years of experience in developing dancers, Yelena Holt, through Holt Ballet Conservatory, aims to guide Nevada County aspiring dance artists in the training and opportunities they need in order to become beautiful dancers and empowered people. Holt Ballet Conservatory not only trains young people in the magical skills of dance technique, but also creates opportunities for the trained dancers to showcase their talents.

Yelena Holt has placed more than 60 Nevada Country dancers in some of the nations more competitive and highly acclaimed dance conservators, universities and colleges, and pre-professional programs.

This will be her first time judging Dancing with Our Stars.

Tresa Honaker

Tresa Honaker attended The St. Louis Visual and Performing Arts Academy on a dance scholarship, where she studied classical ballet, jazz, and modern dance. She worked exclusively with young children at the Lagervale Dance Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her training includes work with The Edge in LA, Step I in Sacramento, and with San Francisco Dance Center. Aerial studies include classes with Ingrid Hoffman, Hollywood Aerial Arts, Aloft Chicago, The San Francisco Circus School, Cirque School LA and Trapeze Arts in Oakland. Tresa is one of the founding members of The Movement Alliance Dance Company. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of AirAligned aerial dance group and AirAligned Academy.

Tresa continues to choreograph and perform throughout the United States for Corporate, Private and Commercial events. AirAligned is part of Jean Anne Ryan Productions, which books the finest entertainment for cruise lines. Locally, Tresa has taught for Sierra Dance Institute, was the team Dance Coach for Gold Country Gymnastics and heads up AirAligned’s Academy, teaching aerial arts to Nevada, Placer and Sacramento Counties.

She is also one of a handful of artists selected to live at Warehouse Artist Lofts in Sacramento and recently spoke at TEDx finishing her talk performing on aerial net high above The Community Center Theater. Tresa received a standing ovation that day and is now receiving many requests to present aerial work and classes across the nation.

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