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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DWOS17 – Meet our Star Dancers: Team Rock for the Red

stacy (left) and Chelsea (right)

Stacy Stecker (left) and Chelsea Anderson – Team Rock for the Red.

Stacy Stecker

Born and raised in Suamico, I am a graduate of Bay Port High School where I grew up participating in cross country, track, show choir and color guard (yes, I really did twirl a flag around the football field).  I graduated from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College with a Marketing degree and I am currently furthering my education at Concordia University of Wisconsin pursuing my degree in Business Management.  I am the daughter of Gary and Georgean Simon whom without their faith, strength and strict rules, I would not be where I am today.  For the past 16 years my husband Dana and I have lived in De Pere.  It is with his love and support that I am able to participate in Dancing with Our Stars. Together we have four children: Alexandra, Broderick and his wife Kaeleigh, and our twins Gabrielle and Mason.  When I am not working I enjoy running, biking, training for half-marathons, reading, traveling and attending all of my children’s activities. I also serve on the committee for the Gourmet Wishes Dinner and I am a wish grantor for Make A Wish of Wisconsin.

As Senior Vice President and Private Banking Group Manager at Associated Bank, I am truly blessed to be part of an amazing team where we strive to provide high-value products and services to our clients, while building long lasting relationships.  Over the past ten years I have been very fortunate to work for an organization that truly believes in giving back to our community and encourages us to do so by granting its employees volunteer hours and communicating local opportunities through our “roots in our community” intranet site.

“A little bit of country and a little bit of rock and roll”. Watching “The Donnie and Marie Osmond Show” is my first memory of dancing.  I was about four or five years old, and I can remember dancing to all of their songs, putting a show on for my family in our living room.  Their music was contagious and I can still remember how excited I was each week to watch another episode.  I’m also a big fan of the movie “Grease”.  Who hasn’t watched it and attempted to do the “Hand Jive”.

“No one puts baby in a corner”, I love the movie “Dirty Dancing”! Patrick Swayze, my dream dance partner, was so enjoyable to watch as he danced his way into every teenage girl’s home in the ‘80’s. It was a modern day fairytale that pulled at my heartstrings and made me want to get out of my chair and learn on how to dance. I can still remember fantasizing about learning how to do “the lift”.  I hope to have “had the time of my life” at the end of my Dancing with Our Stars career.

Support Stacy and Chelsea Nov 5

Support Stacy and Chelsea Nov 5 at their Blue Jeans, Boots and Bling Event!

Being a HUGE Green Bay Packers fan I obviously have to begin with saying Donald Driver is my favorite all-time person from “Dancing with the Stars.”  He is an amazing athlete, dancer and performer who can grab your attention with his charismatic style and contagious smile. However, I really did enjoy watching Amy Purdy dance with Derek Hough on season 18.  I was in awe watching her dance across the dance floor with her prosthetic legs.  It gives me a little bit of hope that I will be able to pull off this dance competition with some grace.

There are so many reasons to support the American Red Cross.  When tragedy strikes they are there to provide help for the people who need shelter, clothing and food after a fire takes their home or an accident that requires blood supply. The Red Cross also provides CPR training and offers babysitting courses to teenage children such as my own who need to learn how to not only provide for themselves safely but also learn to care for others.  By participating in #DWOS17, I feel in some small way I can contribute to a larger cause and help so many others in that time of crisis.

Chelsea Anderson

I am originally from New England, and have been part of the Green Bay community for 16 years.  I have been here most of my life and I am proud to call it my home.  From the age of four, my parents have encouraged me give back to the community that I live in.  My first recollection was feeding the homeless when I was four years old at our local church.  I truly did not understand why children my age were hiding food in their pockets.  When I found out the reason why, that particular moment, started my passion to help others in need.  When I was in school, I started a group, Forever Loving Youth.  We collected donations of new items to give the pediatric ward at Bellin Hospital so every child that stayed in the hospital would receive something new to take home.  Following in my mother’s footsteps, Tracy Lemsky-2014 DWOS participant, I learned there are a million reasons to support the Red Cross and I wanted to help make a difference.

As an alumna of Bay Port High School, spending four years on the Bay Port Dance Team, I fell in love with not only dancing, but also how it can communicate emotions through music and motion.  Although my dance team days are over, I still get out and dance as much as I can.  I graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2014 with a major in Biology.  My current position is at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health working with 3rd and 4th year medical students. I plan to pursue a Masters in Healthcare Administration Degree within the next year so I can eventually get involved with healthcare administration. I would like to specialize in quality assurance or clinic management.

I truly enjoy spending time outside and enjoying the fresh air – whether it be sailing on a lake, climbing or hiking at a state park, going for a run or bike ride, taking my dog for a walk, or downhill skiing out west.  I developed my passion for adventure during college when I was involved with the largest and oldest student organization on campus – Wisconsin Hoofers.  Hoofers is comprised of six outdoor recreation clubs.   I eventually was elected president at the end of my college career and had the privilege to work with an incredible staff and student leaders to help shape the future of the best student organization on campus.

A special thanks to my family and friends for their support of my personal mission to help the Red Cross.  You have all made a huge impact in my life and I don’t know where I would be without you.  I also need to give a shout out to my mom for taking on the role of campaign manager.

Want to help Team Rock for the Red take home the Team Mirrorball Trophy?  VOTE! 

 

DWOS17 – Meet our Star Dancers: Carla Vander Loop

carla2-57a0d19f5aa32I have been with LS Boutique in Green Bay since December of 2015 (Stylist and Social Media Marketing.) It’s been a true blessing to work with the team of incredible women within, all of whom take great pride and care of LS clientele/customers. From everyday casualwear, to mother of the bride, or that special prom/homecoming and even pageant gown, our clientele base is just as diverse as our team of amazing stylists. I believe that is exactly why I love what I do. I am a social butterfly who enjoys fashion.  We are not just a boutique. There’s a special feeling you get when walking through the doors of LS, and I’m blessed to be a part of it all every day. Some days I feel as though I’m spreading pixie dust!  Honestly though, who can say their job is to assist women in dressing their absolute best and feeling their best? If there was one word to describe my career: rewarding.

I am the mother of two children. Logan is 21 and a Senior at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee where he majors in Communications. My daughter, Paige, is 18 and is a Freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Paige is the founder of WHWH (Warm Hands, Warm Hearts,) and has collected and distributed more than 40,000 pieces of cold weather gear to those in need since 2008. Logan is a budding entrepreneur, runs track and field on a partial scholarship and interns at the Children’s Hospital. Needless to say, I am a very proud parent!

As for myself, outside of working at LS Boutique, I officially launched CA Image & Consulting. I cater to young women who have chosen to embark upon the world of pageantry.  I assist clients with their Interview Preparation, Platform Development, Pageant Paperwork/Bio/Application, Onstage Presentation, Wardrobe Selection and Analysis, Talent and much, much more! There’s no greater feeling than seeing my clients grow in confidence through “the process,” while becoming empowered young women who are not only incredible role models, but bright, talented and self-assured. Again, rewarding!

When I do have spare time, I enjoy reading and taking long walks. I have a passion for designing clothing and gowns and reflect everyday by writing in my journal. Mine has been quite the journey. In the future, I foresee writing my memoir! I’m quite certain it would be a best seller! Dancing has always been my outlet, and as a past dance team coach, I spent countless hours perfecting my own skills. However, that was years ago!!! Nonetheless, I’m excited to embark on this journey. It is one I know will be life changing.

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Carla and her dance partner, Michael Witte, of Simply Ballroom at their first lesson.

I’ve always considered myself a creative, with a great imagination! Growing up on a farm in Kewaunee County, oftentimes we had to make up our own fun and keep ourselves entertained. As a child, I loved dancing in the back yard, twirling around and learning new tricks. Music made me feel a sense of freedom and I would interpret all sorts of styles (as silly as it sounds, it’s something I find myself still doing today!) There’s magic and medicine in movement!!!

My dream dance partner is Maksim Chmerkovskiy. I feel he brings to the stage raw passion and an emotion that exemplifies a true love for his craft. I appreciate he is not afraid to take risks in his choreography…the mark of a uniqueness. A beautiful dancer who at times is seen as arrogant, yet I feel perhaps simply demonstrates conviction.

My favorite dancer of all time on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” is Donald Driver. My son, Logan, was a competitive dancer and three-sport athlete since 3rd grade. He had the unique opportunity to meld athletics and the arts together, by doing both. Back then, there were many labels and stereotypes placed on “male dancers.” So much so, at times it caused issues, and he came close to walking away from dance. When Donald Driver hit the floor to dance on DWTS, he showed everyone that a well-respected, highly-decorated professional athlete can also dance. And, dance well. And, it was accepted. After Donald brought home the mirror ball trophy, my son’s local dance studio had the actual trophy “in house” for an afternoon. The kids all had photos taken and you could just see the pride and smiles upon their faces. For my son, Donald’s “win” was also a “win” for all young men who danced.

On November 15th, 2014, my daughter was on her way to dance class when she was involved in a traumatic automobile accident. No parent ever wants to hear their child was involved in an accident, yet my family’s worst nightmare came true that morning. She was flown to Aurora Trauma Center, upon which we were told that she had coded before they could take X-rays and a CT scan. We were told to prepare ourselves. Internally, she was bleeding heavily and needed to undergo an emergency exploratory surgery. In total, Paige had seven surgeries. She crushed the left side of her pelvis, while fracturing the back portion. Her humerus and pelvis as well as leg now have plates and pins in them. She developed a blood clot and her spleen was removed. Yet, by the grace of God, gifted surgeons and nurses, prayers of support from across the country, and 33 blood products/transfusions that were administered in seven days, she somehow survived. Paige is my miracle. Less than seven months later, she was back on the dance floor, dancing competitively! If she can do it, so can I!  I cannot think of a better way to say “thank you,” than to devote my time and energy into helping raise funds for the American Red Cross. Simply put, because of generous blood donors, my Paige survived.

Want to support Carla?  VOTE – click HERE for her fundraising page or join her for her upcoming event: