Head back in time to the ’80s!
The Atascadero Dancing With Our Stars fundraiser will return to raise money for nonprofits around the North County in March. The event’s theme of “Time Machine: Back to the ‘80s” will come to life on Thursday, March 21, Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23 at 5:30 p.m. at Atascadero Pavilion on the Lake.
While the event started as a major fundraiser for relocating the Atascadero library, once the funds were raised for that purpose, the event was modified to raise money for local nonprofits as well as Friends of Atascadero Library.
“This is our third year sharing this phenomenal fundraiser with six participating local nonprofit organizations,” Dancing With Our Stars Producer Jeannie Malik said. “We continue to include two community star dancers representing the library to assist with ongoing expenses, as in updating furnishings and technology.”
The dancer who raises the most money is named champion of the event… One dollar equals one vote. Votes are cast by putting cash or a check into the dancer’s collection container or by donating online at FriendsoftheAtascaderoLibrary.org.
“The stars host fundraising events, preview parties, etc,” Malik said. “Each organization should have a voting link on their specific website for Dancing With Our Stars fundraising. Each participating nonprofit has a fundraising chairman that organizes the events and helps relieve the star of this task so the star can focus on their dance routine. All checks are written directly to the specific organization.”
Tickets went on sale in mid-January and are expected to sell out quickly. Tickets are $85 per person and include wine from Opolo Vineyards, beer from Central Coast Brewing, appetizers, a buffet dinner catered by Pacific Harvest Catering, plated dessert, coffee and the show. There will also be a silent auction during the event each night. The championship trophies will be presented only on Saturday, March 23 at the conclusion of the show.
“In addition to the fundraising champions, we invite the audience at each show to vote for their favorite dancers,” Malik said. “Each night we present a People’s Choice trophy to the star and partner.”
In 2018, Brenda May and her choreographer Brian Reeves were named as Grand Champions for raising $30,000. Last year a total of $93,000 was raised for participating nonprofits. This coming production is the seventh for Malik and the first for artistic director Molly Comin.
“Frank Sanchez directed Dancing With Our Stars the past four years and brought this event to a professional level,” Malik said. Sanchez is still very much involved this year as a choreographer for two community stars and also a vignette dance featuring his granddaughter Mia.
Malik said that Comin will cast vignette dance routines in between the community stars.
“Many of these vignettes will include professional dancers and past community star dancers,” she said.
2019 Community Stars:
Terrie Banish will dance the Charleston with choreographer Chris Harmon. Her nonprofit is Friends of the Atascadero Library. As a child, Banish took ballet and tap lessons but did not continue it into adulthood. Banish is the deputy city manager of outreach, promotions and events for the city of Atascadero. She also owns and operates boutique winery Black Hand Cellars with her husband. Harmon is a dancer and choreographer who teaches both dance and high school economics.
Nancy Beckett will dance the Cha Cha choreographed by Christina Troxel. Her nonprofit is Paso Robles Youth Arts Foundation. Beckett has been dancing since she was young and has gone from student to performer to teacher and then patron of the arts. She is on the board of the Paso Robles Youth Arts Foundation, which offers art classes free to the community. Nancy and her husband Doug own Peachy Canyon Winery. Her choreographer is Christina Troxel, who is another life-long dancer. She has taught swing and ballroom dancing at the Agricultural Hall in Atascadero.
Atascadero Unified School District Superintendent Tom Butler will present a swing dance with choreographer Kara Frenzel. His nonprofit is the Greyhound Athletic Foundation. He made an appearance in the 2018 Colony Days Parade as part of the comedy in the entry on his bicycle. He is a member of the Atascadero Rotary Club and is on the board of directors for the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art. Unlike some of the other community stars, Butler does haven’t any dancing experience. His partner will balance his lack of dance experience. Frenzel is a West Coast Swing champion and was recently nominated for the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame.
Atascadero City Council member Susan Funk will perform a country western dance with Aaron Avila and choreographed by Laura Slania. Funk’s nonprofit is Atascadero chapter AAUW. The funds raised by Funk for AAUW will help underwrite the organization’s scholarship program. Susan and her husband, Gordon, along with their college-age son have lived in Atascadero for the past 10 years. Funk is one of newest members of Atascadero City Council. While Funk does not have a lot of dancing experience, she is a singer and has sung with the SLO Masters Chorale and Canzona. Her partner started dancing at The Graduate when he was attending Cal Poly two decades ago. He started dancing when he was attending Cal Poly. Slania teaches dance and gives private lessons. She is also a paralegal and buys and sells antiques with Avila.
Steffi Kitzler will dance the Samba with professional dancer Justin McMillan as choreographed by Frank Sanchez. Ketzler’s nonprofit is the El Camino Homeless Organization. Kitzler is not new to Dancing With Our Stars but this is the first year she’s participated as a community star. She was born and raised in Germany and moved to the United States in 2000 and to Atascadero in 2003. She became a United States citizen in December 2018. She owns and operates Baby Seals Swim Academy, which provides aquatic survival and swim lessons to infants and young children. Her partner has worked for nonprofits around the county doing a variety of tasks. He is currently the owner of The Ridiculous Fun Camps, a party and event rental business. He is also writing a “choose your own adventure” book for young dancers.
Jan Lynch will dance East Coast Swing with Charlie Bradley, choreographed by Frank Sanchez. Lynch has lived in Atascadero for 32 years with her husband, Patrick. She’s not a newcomer to dancing. She was an aerobic dance teacher for many years and has taken lessons in many different forms of dance, including clogging and line dancing. While Lynch is representing the Kiwanis Club, the organization will direct what money comes in toward the Woods Humane Society Education Program, which teaches children the importance of being a responsible pet owner. Her partner is a retired bank executive who picked up his dancing shoes and motorcycle gloves after leaving his professional life. Their choreographer, Sanchez, has been a part of the fundraiser for the last several years, serving as director for four, and continues on this year. He grew up in a large, musical family and ballroom dance training in his early 20s.
Karen McNamara will perform a Nightclub 2 Step choreographed by Chris Harmon. Her nonprofit is the Atascadero Printery Foundation. Karen is one of the founders, and current president, of the Atascadero Printery Foundation, which is working toward rehabilitating the Printery. She owns Hope Chest Emporium in downtown Atascadero and is a Realtor with Classic Coast Realty Team of Pacific Home Brokers. Karen is also the outgoing chairperson of the Atascadero Colony Days Committee, and a member of the Atascadero Optimist Club.
Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno will present a freestyle dance choreographed by Rod Ware. Her nonprofit is Friends of the Atascadero Library. Moreno has participated in the fundraiser before. She was a community star in 2014 and has continued to dance in the show each year. She has a background in jazz and tap lessons and has continued dancing into her adult life. Moreno owns Weight Breakthrough and was recently sworn in as mayor of Atascadero after serving as a city council member. Her choreographer is a retired firefighter and is focusing on dance in his retirement. He is a student, choreographer and director with the San Luis Obispo School of Ballet Theatre.
2010: Jim Lewis with choreographer Debi Lewis
2011: Bill White with choreographer Sharon Davis
2012: Jeannie Malik and Jim Patterson with choreographer Judy Magonacelaya
2013: Dan and Eileen O’Grady with choreographer Frank Sanchez
2014: Rolfe Nelson with choreographers Leigh Ormonde and Chris Harmon
2015: Vicky Morse with choreographer Chris Harmon
2016: Mary Kay Mills with choreographer Ernie Gamble
2017: E.J. and Tobi Rossi with choreographer Tracy Rossi
2018: Brenda May with choreographer Brian Reeves
$10,000 Diamond Sponsor
$5,000 Platinum Sponsor
Julie C Fallon MD
John & Yvonne Webster
$3,500 Emerald Sponsor
$2,500 Gold+ Sponsor
Howard Products, Inc.
$2000 Gold Sponsor
Ron & Liz Helgerson
So Cal Gas
Atascadero 76-Don Giessinger
Bill Gaines Audio
Helen & Don Jernigan
$1000+ Silver Sponsor
Greg Malik Real Estate
Bill & Grenda Ernst
Grigger & Alice Jones ($1500 sponsor)
Eric J. Gobler, Civil Engineering
Richard & Marguerite Pulley
K.JONS Diamonds & Gems
David Burt & Virginia Severa
Awakening Ways Spiritual Community
Leon & Sandy Fairbanks
County Supervisor Debbie Arnold
Rob Garcia Wealth Management
El Camino Veterinary Hospital
American Riviera Bank
Quota International of Atascadero
The Real Estate Book
Cheryl Strahl Photography
DJ Joy Bonner
On the Wall Galaxy Theatre Advertising
Central Coast Brewing
$500 Bronze Sponsor
Charles Bourbeau-City Council Member
Rotary Club of Atascadero
Andee Allen, Real Estate Services