Get to Know DWOS All-Star: Anna Allen

I’m a 6th grade teacher at Lineville Intermediate School in Howard-Suamico. I have been teaching for 16
years and still love what I do. My wonderful and supportive husband, Jerome, and I have been married
for seven years. We have two beautiful children, Asher (5) and Lyla (3), who fill our lives with joy. We
also have an 11-year- old retired Greyhound named Hazel. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, attending
musicals, and choreographing around the area.

Dance and performing have always been a part of my life. I love teaching and choreographing studio
dance at Birder Studio as well as musicals. I recently performed in St. Norbert’s Music Theatre’s Cats
(’16 & ’17) and loved every minute of that crazy ‘Jellicle’ experience.

My favorite moments from DWOS 16 was working with my partner Michael. We are both middle school
science teachers with a passion for performance so every rehearsal was full of story swapping and a
little bit of dancing! I also loved getting to know all the Red Cross volunteers (especially the ‘Hoochies’)
and my fellow DWOS participants. Although it was a competition, everyone cheered each other on! It
was a truly magnificent experience which is why I decided to take part in DWOS All-Stars.

The Red Cross was there when my friend’s house burned down, providing her and her family with the supplies and support they needed. I am thankful for all they do and I am honored to participate in DWOS All-Stars.

American Red Cross Kicks Off 10th & Final Dancing with our Stars Campaign

The 10th and final “Dancing with Our Stars” (aka DWOS) campaign supporting the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin is now underway. Billed as “Dancing with Our Stars 2018: All-Star Edition, presented by the Schneider Foundation”, local community members who participated in previous years are returning to once again be Star Dancers.

The DWOS alumni committed to participate are:

  • Anna Allen: Howard-Suamico School District
  • Chelsea Anderson: University of North Carolina
  • Billi Jo Baneck: Brown County Public Safety
  • Keith Cronin: Green Bay Packers
  • Kati Donaho: Hyatt Regency
  • Mary Gronnert: Schneider Foundation
  • Tracy Lemsky: Associated Bank
  • Emily Matesic: WBAY-TV 2
  • Zeb Metzler: Innovative Services
  • Bill McGlin: Shawano County Public Safety
  • Pam Niles: Women’s Specialty Care
  • Lisa Pritzl: Prophit Marketing
  • Adam Rockman: Bellin Health
  • Stacy Stecker: Associated Bank
  • Dan Terrio: UnitedHealthcare
  • Jody Weyers: American Red Cross
  • Marty Williams: Sierra Dental
  • Kelly Wolff: Kimberly Clark, Aerial Pole Dance Exercise

Paul Kardish of Schneider also joins the team, taking the place of Chris Lofgren who participated in DWOS 2014. And Grant Soletski of CrossFit Green Bay is the final All-Star, dancing in place of Al Jamir who was part of the DWOS 2015 crew.

The campaign will culminate with a two-night extravaganza. First will be a Disco Dance Party fundraiser on Friday, February 23 and then the traditional ballroom dance show the following night on Saturday, February 24. Both events will take place at the KI Convention Center in downtown Green Bay and will feature appearances by professional ballroom dancers Peta Murgatroyd and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, thanks to a sponsorship by Jack’s Maintenance. People in attendance will receive the chance to win personal experiences with Peta and Maks including the opportunity to dance with them.

Shawn Kiser, Executive Producer kicking off our 10th and final year.

While this is the first time Maks will be part of DWOS, it marks Peta’s third appearance as she previously participated as a celebrity judge in 2014 and 2015. Murgatroyd is well known for teaming with Green Bay Packers legend Donald Driver to win Season 14 of ABC-TV’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

People interested in purchasing tickets should send an email to: redcrossdwos@gmail.com.

The goal of this final DWOS campaign is to raise $600,000. In its nine-year history, DWOS has raised more than $2 million. All funds raised support disaster prevention, preparation and relief, the life-saving training of first aid, CPR/AED classes, collection and testing of blood and blood products, support to military members serving around the globe and international programs.

Rane Cegelski, Ballroom by Jay, Get Out and Dance in Weston, Simply Ballroom of Green Bay, TC Dance Club of Appleton and Arthur Murray Dance Centers of Madison are the participating professional dance partners for the event.

Associated Bank, Bay Industries, BayTek Games, Belmark, Broadway Automotive, Festival Foods, Green Bay Packaging, Green Bay Packers, Hyatt Regency Green Bay, Jack’s Maintenance, Khrome Agency, Sanimax, Schneider, Shift Visuals, Three Three Five, Wisconsin Public Service Foundation, WBAY-TV 2 and 101 WIXX are proud sponsors of Dancing with our Stars.

More event details can be found on the following Red Cross platforms:

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross

American Red Cross to Unveil Final Dancing with Our Stars Cast

The American Red Cross will begin its 10th and final “Dancing with Our Stars” campaign this week. Billed as “Dancing with Our Stars 2018: All-Star Edition, presented by the Schneider Foundation”, local community members who participated in previous years are returning to once again be Star Dancers.

A private kickoff party will take place Tuesday, October 3 at The Marq in De Pere. Media members looking to attend are encouraged to arrive by 6:30 p.m. The program starts at 7:00 p.m.

The campaign will culminate with a two-night extravaganza. First will be a Disco Dance Party fundraiser on Friday, February 23 and then the traditional ballroom dance show the following night on Saturday, February 24. Both events will take place at the KI Convention Center in downtown Green Bay and will feature appearances by professional ballroom dancers Peta Murgatroyd and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, thanks to a sponsorship by Jack’s Maintenance. People in attendance will receive the chance to win personal experiences with Peta and Maks including the opportunity to dance with them.

While this is the first time Maks will be part of DWOS, it marks Peta’s third appearance as she previously participated as a celebrity judge in 2014 and 2015. Murgatroyd is well known for teaming with Green Bay Packers legend Donald Driver to win Season 14 of ABC-TV’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

People interested in purchasing tickets should send an email to: redcrossdwos@gmail.com.

The goal of this final DWOS campaign is to raise $600,000. In its nine-year history, DWOS has raised more than $2 million. All funds raised support disaster prevention, preparation and relief, the life-saving training of first aid, CPR/AED classes, collection and testing of blood and blood products, support to military members serving around the globe and international programs.

More event details can be found on the following Red Cross platforms:

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Dancing with Our Stars 2017 Fundraiser Raises Awareness for Local Services and $206,000+!

The 9th Annual Dancing with Our Stars for the American Red Cross held on Saturday, February 25 at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay featured fantastic fundraising as well as spectacular dancing. Together, with the amazing efforts of our star and professional dancers, sponsors, and with the support of the community, we raised more than $206,000 to support Red Cross programs and services in our community.

Taking away the top honor for the Mirror Ball Fundraising Trophy – Team Division was Stacy Stecker and Chelsea Anderson of Team Rock for the Red. They raised more than $66,000 to support the local Red Cross. The winner of the Mirror Ball Fundraising Trophy – Individual Division was Jim Knopf who raised more than $25,000.

People’s Choice Champion Award went to Billi Jo Baneck and Michael Witte for their dance to “I Won’t Let Go.”  The People’s Choice Runner Up Award went to Ryan Martin and Mina Witte for their Paso Doble to “Kiss the Sky.”

The Judges’ Choice Champion Award went to Kelly Wolff and Terry Irwin for their Rhythm Medley to “One Night Only.” The Judges’ Choice Runner Up Award went to Sarah Larson and Rane Cegelski for their Harry Potter-themed Smooth Medley.

Sarah Larson and Rane Cegelski for their Harry Potter-themed Smooth Medley.

Sarah Larson and Rane Cegelski for their Harry Potter-themed Smooth Medley.

Thank you to our sponsors including: Associated Bank; AT&T; BayTek Games; Broadway Automotive; Festival Foods; Green Bay Packaging; Green Bay Packers; Kimberly-Clark; Nature’s Way; Sanimax; Schneider Foundation, Simply Ballroom, SKB Management, Tundraland and Wisconsin Public Service. We also thank our media partners of WBAY-TV2, 101 WIXX and 94.3 JackFM for their promotional support.

Special thanks to Cami Rapson of WBAY-TV 2 and Shawn Kiser of Rally Man Entertainment for serving as masters of ceremonies and Christopher Mangless, Matthew Rassmussen and Heather Wudstrack for their professional and colorful commentary as judges.

Thank you to all our star dancers for their time, commitment, energy and passion:

  • Team Champagne Strut:
    • Jennie Sykes – Brand Ambassador, Elevate97
    • Jillian Dempsey – Co-owner, The Heel
  • Team Culinary Chemist:
    • Jyll Everman – Co-Owner/Executive Chef, Gather on Broadway
    • Sarah Larson – Quality Control Chemist, Nature’s Way
  • Team E-Rock:
    • Emily Matesic – Fox Valley Bureau Chief, WBAY-TV
    • Adam Rockman – BSN/RN/CCRN, Bellin Health
  • Team Rock for the Red:
    • Chelsea Anderson – UW School of Medicine and Public Health
    • Stacy Stecker – Senior Vice President/Private Banking Group Manager, Associated Bank
  • Team Vixens:
    • Kelly Wolff – Kimberly-Clark
    • Lusine Weitz – Owner, NC Janitorial

The community members competing individually:

  • Billi Jo Baneck – Dispatcher, Brown County Public Safety
  • Jim Knopf – Sales & Marketing Manager, Servpro
  • Dr. Ryan Martin – Professor of Psychology at UW-Green Bay
  • Tara Steinhorst – Founder, Colton’s Cure
  • Carla Vander Loop – Stylist/Social Media Marketing, LS Boutique
  • Woody from 94.3 JackFM – Program Coordinator/On-Air Talent

 Also, thank you to our pro dance partners:

Rane Cegelski; Terry Irwin from TC Dance Club of Appleton; Charles Michaels from Arthur Murray School of Dance in Sun Prairie; Jay Morth from Ballroom by Jay; Michael Witte and Mina Witte from Simply Ballroom of Green Bay.

To view videos of the dances click HERE.

Check out our Northeast Wisconsin Facebook Page to view event photos.

Thank you to the event committee, volunteers and most of all the community for supporting your local Red Cross.

 

DWOS17 Meet our Star Dancers: Jennie Sykes & Jillian Dempsey – Team Champagne Strut

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Team Champagne Strut – Jennie Sykes

My current occupation is that of Brand Ambassador for Elevate97. While this role has traditionally been focused on client services, it has recently evolved into a sales and marketing position. I was born in and enjoyed a terrific childhood in Neenah. My family then moved to Utah where I spent a lot of time getting really good at being very bad at skiing and mountain climbing and hiking. In general, I’m not very athletic. My only two competitive sports are sledding and whack-a-mole and that one time I took up gymnasium floor hockey.

My son Alrick and I live on the East side of Green Bay in the Astor Park Neighborhood. He is my best friend and favorite side kick and I couldn’t imagine life without him. Being the mother of a pre-teen boy has proven far more interesting than anything I’ve ever done and we’re just getting started.

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Jennie and her dance partner Michael Witte, of Simply Ballroom,  on their first day of practice.

My first dancing recollection was as a four-year-old, playing my record of “Mary Martin’s Peter Pan” at my church basement daycare for the other kids during show and tell. I demanded they all get up and join in the choreography I had crafted from watching a lot of Solid Gold, Fame and Mitzi Gaynor specials. Had sequins not been considered a choking hazard, there would have been costuming involved.

My dream dance partner has been and always will be Liza Minelli. Preferably as she sings something. And if this dream scenario could take place on a stage in late 70’s New York City that would be tremendous.

Who is my favorite dancer of all time on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and why?  Rumer Willis for the win on this one…tremendous passion, expression and talent. Performance of any kind done well, creates an emotional connection and resonates with everyone around you. Rumer is a wonderful example of this.

Why am I supporting the American Red Cross through DWOS? Discrimination should never be a barrier to being the answer to those in need. Relieving human suffering is a powerful connector and a true catalyst towards creating a greater peace. These are ideas at the core of our mission and they are ideas that I hold as personal values.

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70’s classic rock & KISS themed Halloween Costume Party at Titletown Brewing Co, Tap Room, hosted on October 29 to support the Red Cross. Team Champagne Strut with our amazing Red Cross Volunteers    (l-r) Ann VandeHei, Barb Vanden Langenberg, Jillian Dempsey, Jennie Sykes and Sharon Bryfcznski.

Team Champagne Strut – Jillian Dempsey

I was born in Shreveport, Louisiana. My father’s job took us all over the place, but we finally settled in Iron Mountain, Michigan. The majority of my childhood took place there. But I feel I’m equal parts southern girl and yooper. As a result, I make a mean gumbo and a killer pasty!

Dancing was always a part of my life. Ballet, tap, jazz, gymnastics, competitive cheer (Go Mountaineers!), figure skating, musical theatre, choir… if it involved dancing, I was there.

After high school, I studied communications at Ferris State University. Then I moved around a LOT! (Standing still has never been my strong suit.) Eventually, life led me back to a wonderful man from my hometown. Troy Dempsey and I married in 2008. We moved to Green Bay in 2009, in order to take over The Heel shoe store. Troy is a pedorthist. So this was a perfect fit.

13450204_10153551235266691_2533558317457883653_nThe Heel has existed downtown since the 1970’s. When we took over, Troy was pretty much the only in-store employee. We have grown substantially since then. Troy’s goal has always been providing healthy, quality footwear and educating customers on proper foot health. You would be surprised how much a shoe can help or hurt you!

Somewhere in there we had two fantastic kids. Amelia is 7 and Grey is 4. Amelia is shy, sweet, quiet, gentle, incredibly tall and fantastically nerdy! If you know my husband and I, you are as baffled as we are that we created a shy, quiet human! Grey was a preemie, born at 29 weeks. So his journey has been a crazy one! As a result, he is quite a character! Stubborn, hilarious, loud and dramatic! His only complication is a mild cerebral palsy. Basically it only affects his ability to use his right leg properly. He receives botox and physical therapy and as a result, he is one tough cookie! My kids are by far the biggest part of my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

We currently live in the Astor Park area of Green Bay. We absolutely LOVE the community here. I have come to know so many incredible, inspiring people! One of those people being my teammate, neighbor and friend, Jennie Sykes! We have many similarities, but she is far and away the more impressive one! She shines light and love everywhere she goes! She is one of the most creative people I know and a huge inspiration to me. I am SO fortunate to take this journey with her! Not to mention the fact that I never would have taken the steps had she not taken me as her plus one to the event this year!

Who is my dream dance partner? I fell in love with Mikhail Baryshnikov when I saw him dance the Nutcracker. Most people watch it at Christmas time. But from the age of 6, I had that VHS tape in our VCR year-round! I have dreamed of dancing the Nutcracker with him ever since!

As for my favorite dancer on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”, it’s a tie between Rumer Willis and Meryl Davis. Rumer’s journey was so inspiring to young women everywhere. She was raw, brave and enormously talented. And let’s face it, she and Val were HOT! Everyone who has ever put on a pair of figure skates dreams of being able to move like Meryl Davis. Her skill was breathtaking! I love that she brought a whole new audience to ice dancing!

The American Red Cross is profoundly vital. Among so many ways they help around the world, they are always the first to respond in any disaster. Regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, religion… If there is a need, the Red Cross is there. I’ve seen it first-hand. So really, how could anyone refuse the chance to lend their support?