DWOS17 Meet our Star Dancers: Team E-Rock

Emily Matesic

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Emily back at it with her dance partner, Jay Morth

I’ve worked in broadcast journalism for more than 15 years. I’ve been with WBAY-TV since August, 2005, and in 2010 was promoted to Fox Valley Bureau Chief.

After a year as a production assistant on “Special Edition” (now “MSNBC Investigates”), I accepted a job as a reporter at WENY-TV in upstate New York in 2001. A month later I was anchoring. In 2002, I led the team that produced, wrote and edited a 90-minute, commercial-free special commemorating the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, earning the New York State Associated Press Award, the station’s first AP award.

I’ve has covered a lot of memorable stories, but my personal favorite was flying with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds when the elite aerobatic unit came to EAA AirVenture to perform for the first time in the summer of 2014.

A former Division I college soccer player, I still enjoy playing soccer today. I also volunteer for the American Red Cross, especially during the Dancing with Our Stars fundraisers.

And while I made Northeast WI my home, I’m originally from Pittsburgh and love to cheer for the Steelers.  As they like to say in my hometown, you can take the girl out of Pittsburgh but you can’t take the Pittsburgh out of the girl!

I remember dancing in the kitchen as a kid at a very young age.  My parents grew up in the 50’s/60’s so Motown was often playing in our house.  My dad was always spinning my mom around the kitchen doing a Jitterbug or a Cha-Cha.  I loved when my dad would grab my hand for my turn to take a spin!  Thirty-nine years later, my parents continue to dance and I still love dancing with my dad!

As a girl who grew up watching Dirty Dancing, I think the late Patrick Swayze would be my dream dance partner.   Nobody puts Baby/me in a corner!  But I’m hoping this experience inspires my fundraising teammate/fiancé, Rock, to enjoy dancing and maybe we can cut some rug more often!

I’m a homer so Mirror Ball Champion Hines Ward is definitely my favorite star dancer on Dancing with the Stars.  Antonio Brown was pretty impressive, too!  Pro-wise, I think Maks (Maksim Chmerkovskiy) tops my list.   While I don’t always like his bad boy, badass behavior, the guy can dance!!

As a reporter, I’ve covered lots of tragedies and I’ve seen people at their worst.  The Red Cross is always on those scenes not only helping the victims, but the emergency responders as well.   It doesn’t matter if it’s two in the morning or two in the afternoon, the Red Cross is always coming to the aid of others.

 

Adam Rockman

img_0476-57d1b3731fe39I made a major life change in 2010 when I decided to leave the motorsports industry I worked in for more than 10 years to return to school to pursue my Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.  I graduated in 2012 and began working at Bellin Health where I am currently employed as a registered nurse (RN) in the intensive care unit (ICU).

I love my new career.  As an ICU RN, I often work with people on the worst day of their lives.  Although being an RN can be physically and emotionally exhausting, helping my patients and their families through tough times is one of the things that keeps me motivated in my job.

Originally from Escanaba, Michigan, I’ve has been living in the Green Bay area since attending St. Norbert College where I played football for the Green Knights.  I has a five-year-old son named Troy and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Desmo.  We live together with my wonderful fiancé and DWOS teammate, Emily Matesic.

For me, dancing usually involves quite a bit of vodka and looks closer to “The Humpty Dance” than any type of ballroom dancing. So, the night of the event should be interesting…

I’m supporting the American Red Cross because it always seems to be the first one in and the last one out to any tragedy or disaster.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a small local fire or a national emergency; the Red Cross is always there.

Want to support Team E-Rock?  Check out there fun Casino Night event on January 7th.  Click HERE for more information.

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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?

DWOS17 Meet our Star Dancers: Lusine Weitz and Kelly Wolff – Team Vixen!

Lusine Weitz

img_0494I was born in Gyumri, Armenia.  I lived in my hometown until the Spitak earthquake devastated my town and region in 1988.  50,000 Armenians lost their lives and 130,000 suffered injuries in this tragedy.  In the aftermath, my family moved to Yoshkar-Ola, Russia where I obtained a degree in music.  Additionally, I graduated from the Moscow Open Social University where I earned a degree in law.  In 2006, I met my husband in Russia and move to the United States.  In 2009, I established a commercial cleaning company in Appleton called NC Janitorial, Inc.

Since coming to America, I’ve sought to cultivate my lifelong love of dance.  I am extremely blessed to be a student of the talented Mr. Terry Irwin, owner of TC Dance Club.  I am very excited to participate in Dancing with Our Stars.

Over the years, I’ve waited for an opportunity to give back to the American Red Cross.  I’m committed to the Red Cross and its important mission. I’ve seen firsthand the critical difference this organization makes in literally saving people’s lives around the world.  In my hometown of Gyumri, thousands of people would have perished if not for the quick response to this earthquake.  Within days of this tragedy, advance teams of rescue personnel were on site, and within a week hundreds of Red Cross volunteers were also there. If you want to see a thankful community, come visit Gyumri.  You will never find a town that is so appreciative of the work of the Red Cross.

 

Kelly Wolff

img_3960I am very excited to be participating in Dancing with Our Stars for the American Red Cross. Not only do I love to dance, I am honored to help raise money and bring awareness to the Red Cross and the work it does. But this event and what we are doing isn’t really about me, it’s about all of us. Volunteering and supporting volunteer organizations is a part of how we show our compassion for each other and how we reinforce our sense of community. When we do it we truly get more out of it then we give. With this in mind, I’d like to thank you for supporting this event and helping those in need.

My mother, Debbie Wolff, used to go out dancing while she was pregnant with me. And she passed this along to me. So I guess you could say I’ve been dancing since before I was born! From there I have fun memories of dancing with my girlfriends in my parents’ basement, performing on the Cedarburg High School and St. Norbert College dance teams, coaching the Cedarburg Colts Cheer & Dance Team for a decade, and of learning and loving ballroom dancing from Terry and Toby at TC Dance Club in Appleton. While there, I am able to dance with my dream dance partner, my husband, Arnie Enz. I don’t think anything can top our wedding dance.

During the day, I work as a formulation scientist at Kimberly-Clark designing lotions and potions for their personal care product lines. I have been working toward a Masters in Cosmetic Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati, though I took the last semester off to get married. Kimberly-Clark is very supportive of my volunteer activities and has given me many wonderful opportunities to organize STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) activities for kids on campus and in the local schools. Since I love to dance, I also work as an instructor at Aerial Dance Pole Exercise, a fitness-based aerial arts studio for women to safely build strength and confidence while having fun!

Oh, and as for my favorite DWTS performer, there are just too many to name. But while I can always appreciate a perfect routine, I can’t help but to root for the underdog who doesn’t have a dance or an athletic background, yet is still is still making significant improvements every week.

Looking for a fun way to support Team Vixen?  Check out their “Rockabilly Christmas” Party for the Red Cross, Sunday, December 18 at the Butte des Morts Country Club. Click HERE for more details.  Can’t make the party? Vote for this dynamic duo!

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Ryan Martin — Dancing With Our Stars Auction: 12 Days of Bidding:

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Kick off your holiday shopping (or treat yourself) while supporting a great cause. This online auction has a variety of wonderful and unique items and experiences available thanks to the generosity of family and friends of Ryan Martin as well as community supporters.

All of the items have been donated, so the proceeds from this online auction will 100% benefit the American Red Cross and help Ryan Martin reach his Dancing with our Stars fundraising goal. You will have twelve days of bidding — this auction runs Monday, November 28 through Saturday, December 9.

Click HERE to get started!!

Check the Facebook page for the last day of the auction, so you can check back in on your bids just in time!

DWOS17 Meet our Star Dancers: Culinary Chemist – Jyll Everman & Sarah Larson

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Sarah Larson (left) and Jyll Everman  – Team Culinary Chemist

Jyll Everman

In the spring of 2016 I moved back to Green Bay after living in Los Angeles for 19 years to help open a new business and re-establish my family roots. I’m the co-owner and executive chef of Gather on Broadway, a full-service event venue. I once competed on Food Network’s Food Network Star and enjoy creating upscale comfort food. I’m blessed with a wonderful family: my husband, Tommy, and two sons Jack and Luke. I love to cook, entertain, play Yahtzee and watch Top Chef. And of course, Dancing with the Stars!

I started dancing around the house at a young age and took “Vogue-ing” lessons in 7th grade! My favorite thing on the planet is the dance floor at weddings. I am the first one out and the last one off.

My dream dance partner would either be Derek Hough or Mark Ballas. Rumor Willis is my favorite all-time participant from ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” because I was touched by her story of being bullied all the time and I felt she really rose above that hate. I also loved Kelly Pickler and Donald Driver.

I love being involved in charitable causes and the American Red Cross is always the first place I donate when disasters happen. It’s a wonderful organization and I’m honored to support it through Dancing with Our Stars!

Sarah Larson

14639711_1697146820532128_8351593407010876392_nOriginally from South Milwaukee, I came to Green Bay five years ago to start my college career at UWGB. Since graduating in 2015, I am now happy to call Green Bay my home where I work as a Quality Control Chemist at Nature’s Way. I am a self-proclaimed nerd so at any given moment you’ll find me geeking out over a book, movie, or new science factoid I recently discovered.  I’m also a big fan of going on hikes as it’s one of my favorite ways to unwind and just enjoy the seldom nice days we get.  Dance has been a major part of my life since I was four and I’m extremely grateful that I’m able to use my passion and talents to give back to this community.

Since I’ve been dancing for 20 years, I have a ton of dance memories making it hard to pinpoint which one qualifies as being my ‘first’. I can say that for most of my childhood, wanting to one day play the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker was the driving force behind my passion for dance. Sadly, I never accomplished that dream, but I’m now in a professional ballroom dance partnership which I think is a pretty good alternate.

My dream dance partner has got to be Neil Haskell. He’s been my dance crush since he was on season 3 of So You Think You Can Dance. I actually got to meet him when I saw the tour. I might have fangirled… a lot.

Benji Schwimmer is my all-time favorite person from “Dancing with the Stars.” He has incredible energy and puts so much personality into his dancing which makes him an incredible performer.

The American Red Cross does so much to help people in our community. It provides so many services to help those in need and are always there to help in times of disaster and tragedy. I am honored to support an organization that does so much!

Want to support the Culinary Chemist?  VOTE by clicking HERE!   or  check out some of their upcoming events:

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COMEDY NIGHT – Join us Tuesday, November 22, for a night of stand up comedy from local comics at Gather on Broadway! Doors open at 6:30, show starts at 7:30! Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.
Full Bar, food, and many a raffle!

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CULVER’S NIGHT – Come get some delicious custard while helping a great cause! On November 28th from 5-8 pm, 10% of the sales at the Culver’s on Voyager Drive will go towards our campaign for the Red Cross.

 

DWOS17 Meet our Star Dancers: Billi Jo Baneck (Team Survivor)

14502857_10208870402170698_4334771235868762354_nI was born and raised on a farm in Wautoma with my parents and my five siblings.  I currently work for Brown County Public Safety as a 911 Dispatcher and at Ruby Design doing the prep worked involved in making our customers’ events and weddings beautiful! I have been in a relationship with a wonderful man for 5+ years and am a step-mother to a 10-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son.

I am a busy person by nature so I very much enjoy my involvement with the public education team and mentoring team at work. I am also a 4-H adult leader and 4-H food stand manager. In my spare time, I enjoy crafting, baking and crocheting. I enjoy learning new things and meeting new people.

My first memory of dance comes from middle school when I watched a classmate dance in a clogging group. I was mesmerized! In the same year I watched the high school show choir perform for our school. I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of.

Eight years ago I developed a strong passion for the Red Cross and the work that they do after losing my parents and youngest brother in a house fire. I have been committed to giving back to the people that were there for me in my time of need, and the first people there when I got home were members of the American Red Cross. My first welcoming into the Red Cross family was at the HEROES fundraiser put on my John and Vicki Jenks in their Wild Rose home. I was asked to speak to a group of mostly strangers about my family and how the Red Cross helped us. Since that day the Red Cross has become a part of me. I am currently a DAT (Disaster Action Team) responder and 24/7 dispatcher. I have also had the opportunity to speak at different events and share our family’s story. I’m not a religious person, so I found comfort in working with the Red Cross as a way to move forward and give back.

Want to support Billi Jo?  VOTE (donate online) or come to MirrorBall Bash 3.0 Saturday, November 19!  This is an event you don’t want to miss. Click HERE for more information.

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DWOS17 Meet our Star Dancers: Jim Knopf

img_9523-57a142bf97c94I currently work as the Sales & Marketing Manager for Servpro of Brown County. I’ve been married for more than 30 years. My wife and I are parents to two wonderful children and are blessed with two grandsons. Family and faith are extremely important to me. I believe God put me on earth to make people smile. My hobbies include bowling, golfing and TaeKwonDo (I’m a 4th degree black belt!)

My first dance experience happened when I was eight-years-old when I would dance with my mother at family weddings. Locally I’ve become a bit of a legend when it comes to dancing at weddings, as I often can be found performing crowd-pleasing routines with a broom! Seriously! Check me out here in this YouTube video:

That’s me!

Jennifer Lopez is my dream dance partner. Donald Driver is my all-time favorite performer from “Dancing with the Stars.” I feel he really become “one with the music.”

The American Red Cross is a wonderful organization that does great work with many people in many  situations, not just disasters.   I have seen its work first hand.

Want to support Jim?  Check out his upcoming event or VOTE!

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