Best of the Best
10th Anniversary!
August 24th, 2024
7:00pm • Doors open at 6:30
@ The Sandler Center
Best of the Best
10th Anniversary!
August 24th, 2024
@ The Sandler Center
7:00pm • Doors open at 6:30
August 24, 2024
@ The Sandler Center

7:00pm • Doors open at 6:30

2024 Cast Coming Soon!

The 2023 Cast

Dancer Category Filter

Ashley Allman

Ashley Allman

David Ambrose

David Ambrose

Ashley Armbruster

Ashley Armbruster

Antwain Britt

Antwain Britt

James Paul Cadotte

James Paul Cadotte

Taylor Davis

Taylor Davis

Ashley Forbes

Ashley Forbes

Hunter Hartnett

Hunter Hartnett

Brittany Hendrickson

Brittany Hendrickson

Stacey Higgins

Stacey Higgins

Ron Kilmer

Ron Kilmer

Meredith Lippert

Meredith Lippert

John “Jay Jay” Mayo

John “Jay Jay” Mayo

Caleb Myles

Caleb Myles

Joy Naik

Joy Naik

Stacy Rogers

Stacy Rogers

Kevin Taylor

Kevin Taylor

Jaketa Clark Thompson

Jaketa Clark Thompson

Maria M. Weissenseel

Maria M. Weissenseel

Michelle Westberry

Michelle Westberry

Gregory S. Zimpel

Gregory S. Zimpel

SIMONA CAPORALE

SIMONA CAPORALE

WENDY DENYSENKO

WENDY DENYSENKO

Andrea Franco

Andrea Franco

Jack Gabriel

Jack Gabriel

Katja Marc-Harris

Katja Marc-Harris

Cameron Johnson

Cameron Johnson

Rebekah Klyukin

Rebekah Klyukin

ZHENYA KLYUKIN

ZHENYA KLYUKIN

JAY LEARY

JAY LEARY

RICCARDO PACINI

RICCARDO PACINI

Blake Perkins

Blake Perkins

MARIE RANTS

MARIE RANTS

Jason Rushing

Jason Rushing

SIMONE SPADONI

SIMONE SPADONI

Diane Taylor

Diane Taylor

  • Ashley Allman
  • David Ambrose
  • Ashley Armbruster
  • Antwain Britt
  • James Paul Cadotte
  • Taylor Davis
  • Ashley Forbes
  • Hunter Hartnett
  • Brittany Hendrickson
  • Stacey Higgins
  • Ron Kilmer
  • Meredith Lippert
  • John “Jay Jay” Mayo
  • Caleb Myles
  • Joy Naik
  • Stacy Rogers
  • Kevin Taylor
  • Jaketa Clark Thompson
  • Maria M. Weissenseel
  • Michelle Westberry
  • Gregory S. Zimpel
  • SIMONA CAPORALE
  • WENDY DENYSENKO
  • Andrea Franco
  • Jack Gabriel
  • Katja Marc-Harris
  • Cameron Johnson
  • Rebekah Klyukin
  • ZHENYA KLYUKIN
  • JAY LEARY
  • RICCARDO PACINI
  • Blake Perkins
  • MARIE RANTS
  • Jason Rushing
  • SIMONE SPADONI
  • Diane Taylor
  • Ashley Allman

    Ashley Allman serves as the Vice President of Marketing & Development at Westminster- Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay in Virginia Beach, VA. Westminster-Canterbury is a 62+ active adult Life Plan Community that specializes in resort-style living. In this role she leads the Sales & Marketing Team that is responsible for maintaining an average community occupancy of 95%, as well as, presales for the new Bay Tower. She also serves as the liaison to the Foundation Board of Directors and is responsible for coordinating all fundraising activities and bringing in over $2M each year for the WC Foundation.
     
    Ashley is a native of Virginia Beach and has volunteered for a number or local charities including the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, The FoodBank of Southeastern Virginia and The Alzheimer’s Association. When she is not working you can find her spending time with her two daughters, Stella and Vallie and her husband Bailey. Ashley does not consider herself a dancer, but did take dance lessons as a young girl and is excited to participate in this year’s Dancing with the Stars.

    PARTNER: Jack Gabriel

    SPONSORED BY:
  • David Ambrose

    Dave, a native of Alexandria, VA, spent most of his life in northern Virginia before he and his wife Karen decided to settle in Virginia Beach for their retirement. They have three adult children, five grandchildren, and one great-grandson.

    With over four decades of experience in commercial building construction, Dave has held senior management positions in top US construction firms like Skanska Building and Turner Construction. He retired from Skanska Building three years ago as Senior Vice President, National Director of Project Scheduling.

    Throughout his career, Dave has worked on a wide range of construction projects, including large office complexes, airports, hospitals, sports stadiums, and more. He has been involved with notable projects such as the Apple II Headquarters in Cupertino, LaGuardia Airport renovation in New York, University Medical Center in New Orleans, Soldier Field in Chicago, and the Facebook data center in Lulea, Sweden. Dave's expertise in construction scheduling, claims, and training has earned him recognition throughout the industry.

    Since retiring, Dave and Karen have been busy visiting their children and grandchildren in Baltimore, MD, Charlotte, NC, and Huntsville, AL.

    PARTNER: Marie Rants

    SPONSORED BY:
  • Ashley Armbruster

    Ashley Savage Armbruster is a born and raised Virginia Beach resident. She attended Virginia Tech (Go Hokies!) and completed her Doctorate of Pharmacy (Pharm D.) at Virginia Commonwealth School of Pharmacy. She works as a clinical inpatient pharmacist and is the lead pharmacist for Sentara Virginia Beach General's IV room. She is excited to share in her passion and joy of dance. In 2022 she spent time with her husband, Stephen Armbruster volunteering with the Neptune Festival of Virginia Beach as Royal Ambassadors. Their two children Bryce (7) and Blake (3) have been practicing their dance moves with mom although their favorite song is NSYNC's "Bye, Bye, Bye."

    Ashley's generous sponsorship for tonight's event comes from the orthodontic offices of Dr. Savage, Sabol and Visser in Virginia Beach and through a personal donation from both the Savage and Armbruster Families. During the past year Ashley completed an adult treatment of Invisalign to restore her smile to a 10/10! They treat her and every patient like a celebrity superstar. Good luck to all the participants!

    PARTNER: Blakely Perkins

    SPONSORED BY:

    The Orthodontic offices of Drs. Savage, Sabol and Visser

  • Antwain Britt

    Antwain is born and raised right here in Hampton Roads, attending Indian River High School in Chesapeake. A Wrestling and Football standout, Antwain craved competition in his adult life. So, after training to become an amateur and then professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter he was invited by the UFC to compete on The Ultimate Fighter TV show.

    After a successful MMA career Antwain turned his attention to consulting, traveling the U.S. as a fitness facility consultant, but travel got old and he decided to build his own fitness portfolio as co- owner of three fitness facilities and currently the owner/ operator of two Britt’s Fitness and Self Defense locations.

    If you still don’t think that’s why Antwains name sounds familiar to you that may be because he’s known by another, The Juggernaut as founder of Juggernaut Cookie Co., creating both decedent and healthy baked goods. www.cookiehunk.com

    PARTNER: Wendy Denysenko

    SPONSORED BY:

  • James Paul Cadotte

    Paul Cadotte, lover of dance and all things fun, grew up in the heart of Motown- Detroit, Michigan. Wise at an early age, he aspired to learn all the popular dance styles because he quickly realized that’s how to attract the girls. Paul’s self-taught ambition wasn’t as successful as he had hoped for, so he redirected his energy to martial arts, training in Krav Maga, Hapkido, Tai chi, Kung Fu, and acquiring the title 4 th Degree Black Belt Master Instructor in Tae Kwon Do. He eventually found his way to Virginia Beach where he retired and now takes dance lessons formally. This is a signature year for Paul; he celebrates 5 years surviving cancer and 75 years of exquisitely fine aging. Mr. Cadotte dedicates this performance to all the gals from his hometown, Motown.

    PARTNER: Marie Rants

    SPONSORED BY:
  • Wes Coons is a retired United States Marine, and the owner of Century 21 Top Producers, Kempsville Executive Center, and Integrated Healing systems. Wes has two beautiful children, Taylor and Sydney. His best friends are his two dogs, Kennedy and Sugar, and let's not forget Roxanne, his favorite car. Wes is currently writing a book about his extraordinary spiritual experience that led him to open the healing center, Integrated Healing Systems.

    As a Marine, Wes was dedicated to protect our country and those who could not protect themselves. Now his powerful belief in God allows him to use his hands on healing to help his clients take back their lives. Wes started dancing so that when he finds his soulmate he can dance a waltz with her on their wedding day.

    PARTNER: Rebekah Klyukin

    SPONSORED BY:

    Century 21 top producers

    Kempsville executive center

    Integrated healing systems
  • Taylor Davis

    Taylor Davis began working with the Grohler family in December of 2019 as Becca and Zach Grohler’s nanny. In 2021 Taylor joined the beltone family as an admin assistant/ patient care coordinator while attending school for a year. Taylor now has returned to her original nannying job for Zach and Becca looking after their 2 Daughters.

    Taylor started dancing when she was 2 years old. She continued dancing for 12 years. After a long break from dancing in the winter of 2021 she picked up Two-Step, swing, and line dancing. Though she may not be trained in ballroom dancing she can’t wait to get out on the stage and give it her all.

    PARTNER: Cameron Johnson

    SPONSORED BY:
  • Ashley Forbes

    An Eastern Shore native, Ashley Forbes is a farm girl turned business professional with extensive experience in hospitality management, human resources, and correspondence. She admits having passions for people and all things outdoors. In her previous role as the General Manager with Cherrystone Family Camping Resort, she and her team landed in the top 5 campgrounds in the nation three years in a row. Ashley loves workforce development and currently serves as Chair of the Virginia Workforce Development Board with the Bay Consortium Region.

    Starting at 15 years old she joined as a volunteer with her local fire department and was certified as an EMT by age 16. She became a 9-1-1 operator at 18 and continues her love for helping others as a current certified American Red Cross CPR and First-Aid Instructor.

    When not at work, she enjoys being outdoors with her husband Chris and their two wonderful children Austin 5, and Madison 3. Tonight, Ashley would like to dedicate her dance to her children where she wants to show them to “Never let fear get in the way of your dreams, and when you get the chance, accept the dance.”

    PARTNER: Jack Gabriel

    SPONSORED BY:

  • Hunter Hartnett

    Hunter Hartnett is a loan officer with PrimeLending with a little over five years in the business. He grew up just over the water in Williamsburg and, after 7 years in Chicago, he made the decision to never live anywhere near single digit winter temperatures again. He’s a graduate of the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina (Go Cocks!). After a stint in Atlanta, he made his way back to the Hampton Roads Area, landing in Virginia Beach.

    When he’s not strapped to his phone, you can find him out on the golf course, snowboarding, traveling, or at the beach with his German Shephard/Husky, Preston. With his dancing experience limited to weddings and other social events (typically after a drink or two), this will be an interesting experience. Luckily, he is partnered with Andrea who, despite her positive attitude and patience, certainly has her work cut out for her.

    He’s been very generously backed by both his company, PrimeLending, and by Andrea C. Hartnett, a Realtor in the Hampton Roads region.

    PARTNER: Andrea Franco

    SPONSORED BY:

  • Brittany Hendrickson

    Brittany Hendrickson Having been raised in Virginia Beach, and a graduate of Bayside High, Brittany Hendrickson is a true expert when it comes to Hampton Roads. Brittany started her real estate career in 2012 at the young age of 23, and excelled at a very quick pace. She demonstrated the ability to connect with her clients in meaningful ways and successfully helped them achieve their goals.

    Brittany met her husband Ryan in 2012 as she was launching her real estate career. Ryan served in the United States Navy for 13 years as a SWCC, and worked as an instructor at Naval Special Warfare Basic Training Command in San Diego for 2.5 years.

    Since returning from San Diego, Brittany has excelled in helping her clients and currently ranks top 8% of Hampton Roads Realtors. Brittany recently launched Hendrickson Homes at Keller Williams Coastal Virginia.

    Brittany is a mom to two beautiful girls, Ellie and Zoie, and two super friendly Rottweilers, Nala and Penny.

    Brittany is very excited to take the stage at Dancing with the Stars Hampton Roads!

    PARTNER: Zhenya Klyukin

    SPONSORED BY:

  • Stacey Higgins

    Stacey Higgins, who was raised in Norfolk and now lives in Virginia Beach, is a proud graduate of Old Dominion University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

    She is a marketing and business development professional with 24 years of experience in the engineering industry. Through relationships and proposals, Stacey strategically prepares businesses for growth by directly winning work. She sits on the boards for The Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) and Women in Transportation.

    She is the proud mother of two grown children, daughter Alexis (her husband Sean) and son Devin (his partner Meghan), and her grand-pup Butters. When she is not working, you can find her at the gym, on the beach or spending time with her family and friends. Stacey is honored to participate in this year’s Hampton Roads Dancing with the Celebrity Stars, and she is enjoying her dance lessons with her amazing dance instructor Jay Leary!

    PARTNER: Jay Leary

    SPONSORED BY:



    Her parents: Mamie Dombroski and Dennis Macina
    Her kids: Alexis Higgins Jessup and Husband Sean Jessup
    Devin Twine and Meghan Starnes
  • Ron Kilmer

    Ron grew up outside Philadelphia in Aston, PA. He married Andrea Moore 43 years ago. He has two sons, Justin and Jonathan and a beautiful daughter-in-law, Kate, Justin’s wife. He is very proud that both his sons are Eagle Scouts, and he still works with the Scouts today, as Vice President of Tidewater Council BSA here in Va Beach.

    Ron is a US Navy Veteran, serving 6 years as an Electronics Technician with most of his service spent on the USS Shakori, ATF 162. After the Navy he started his own company, Virginia Electronic Systems, Inc and is now celebrating its 41st year. The company is a contractor to the US Government for Foreign Military Support and has operated in over 63 countries.

    His dance experience is mostly the world famous Chicken Dance and Hokey Pokey, at weddings and rumored to have adult beverages involved.

    PARTNER: Diane Taylor

    SPONSORED BY:

  • Meredith Lippert

    Meredith Lippert was born and raised in the Hampton Roads area and is an alumni of Liberty University where she studied Sports Management and was also a Cheerleader. She has been in the hospitality and event management industry for over 20 years and is the Regional Catering Director for Mission BBQ. She is also the owner of Belle Âme Designs, specializing in event production and venue management. Meredith is truly honored to be able to support the local Military, Police and Fire Community through her work with Mission BBQ and loves to bring her client's event visions to life.

    She is the proud mother to her 4 year old daughter and wife to Stephen, Director of Operations for Mission BBQ. When she is not working, you can find her spending time with family and friends, and creating memories with her daughter Harper. While Meredith has been a dancer, gymnast, and cheerleader from a young age, she is excited for the new challenge of Ballroom Dancing and is thankful for the opportunity!

    PARTNER: Cameron Johnson

    SPONSORED BY:
  • John “Jay Jay” Mayo

    John “Jay Jay” Mayo is an Audacy superstar. He is an on-air talent for Z104 and could be found on the scene as he celebrates love, life, and laughter across all of Audacy’s brands. Jay Jay competed in season 8 of Dancing with the Hampton Roads Celebrity Stars. He returns in Season 9 of Dancing with the Hampton Roads Celebrity Stars ready to shake the room…or at least til he wins the big trophy, as he would say.

    PARTNER: Rebekah Klyukin
  • Caleb Myles

    Caleb Myles is a proud husband and father, US veteran, athlete and business owner in the Virginia Beach Community. Originally from Roanoke, Va., Caleb served in the US Navy with Strike Fighter Squadron 105, and has since put down roots in Virginia Beach, where he is now the proud husband of Natalia and father of Madeleine.

    He and Natalia co-own Lantero LLC., - an Underground Utility Construction Company specializing in Horizontal Directional Drilling - contributing to efforts to rebuild, maintain and improve the infrastructure in the Virginia Beach area, as well as all along the Eastern Seaboard.

    Caleb attended school at ODU and studied Psychology. While attending, he played rugby for the Monarchs and went on to play rugby with the Norfolk Blues Rugby Football Club.

    During his free time, he has a few personal hobbies that bring out his artistic/creative side, chief among them being woodworking. Caleb is fanatical about the sport of swimming and enjoys coaching youth teams. His many pursuits and interests make this dynamic individual an invaluable member of the Virginia Beach community.

    The long-standing theme across Caleb’s life is caring. He cared for his country and fellow citizens enough to serve in the US Navy. He cared for his students and for athleticism enough to be a coach, pushing the next generation to improve their fitness and health through swimming as a competitive exercise. He deeply cares for his family, and along with his wife he started a business that contributes to the maintenance and improvement of his community. He cares about the quality of life for those around him and has dedicated his time to working towards improving it. Whether it’s through athleticism, protecting our nation, or being present as a loving family man, Caleb is a hard-working, dedicated man who cares about those around him, doing everything he can to support and improve the quality of life for his friends and family. The Virginia Beach Community is lucky to have him as one of their members.

    PARTNER: Rebekah Klyukin

    SPONSORED BY: Lantero LLC.

  • Joy Naik

    Joy Naik is a karaoke-loving mother of four who is a Hampton Roads native. She serves as a Commissioner on the Chesapeake Fine Arts Commission, as well as an Account Specialist with Navy Federal Credit Union. She is also on the board of the NAACP Chesapeake Chapter, and the Renaissance School of the Arts. She loves working as an off-ice figure skating coach at Chilled Ponds, and is the Event Coordinator for Portsmouth Pride 2023.

    For 16 years she was a mil-spouse to a now Navy Veteran, and during that time would have the opportunity to not only work as a community classes instructor through MWR in Rota, Spain, but she would be able to assist the families in the SpecWar Community as Vice President of the Family Readiness Group as well as an Ombudsman.

    For over 29 years she has been involved in dance and is the owner of her newly founded dance studio, the Dance Theatre of Coastal Virginia, but this journey has not been without hiccups. In 2014 she would be in a car accident that would leave her homebound for close to a year, and then in 2020 she would suffer a stroke, but during and after rehabilitation that hasn’t stopped her. She dances for all of the people that have supported her journey, and is excited to dive into a world that is unknown to her…the world of ballroom dance.


    PARTNER: Zhenya Klyukin

    SPONSORED BY:
  • Stacy Rogers

    Stacy Rogers (AKA “Beth Dutton of Virginia Beach”) is an active business owner, military spouse, mom and engaged member of the Virginia Beach community looking to bring home another Rogers family win in this year’s performance. Having taken many years of formal dance as a child, performing in vocal and musical performance through her school years, and enjoying spins around the dance floor at social engagements with her husband, this year’s performance is forcing Stacy out of her comfort zone and forcing her to fill big “dancing shoes” following her husband Jamie’s winning chacha to “Moves Like Jagger” in our 2022 show.

    Growing up on a rural horse farm in the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York, Stacy was raised by Ken, a veteran US Army Ranger and businessman, and Renee, a registered nurse and medical administrator, who exemplify dedication through living lives of service. After over 20 years in the DC metro area, Stacy and her husband Commander Jamie Rogers moved to Virginia Beach in 2016 on the “wings of Naval Aviation” (and Jamie’s military orders) to raise their three sons closer to Jamie’s hometown and family in Norfolk.

    Stacy has served across the public, private and nonprofit business sectors for over 25 years. She has received professional recognition for her roles in legislative policy and advocacy, support of the national security community, interoperability, crisis and disaster response and mitigation, nonprofit leadership, and executive business performance. Stacy is a member of ten professional organizations, has multiple professional certifications and recently completed her Executive Masters in Business Administration. Stacy is dedicated to the mission of serving others on local and national nonprofit boards and as an active supporter of multiple local and national nonprofit organizations to include: Horse and Human Research Foundation, Tribe Task & Purpose, Frog Dog K9, Calming Kids, Chimney Trails, Veterans Victory Alliance, Tunnels to Towers, Virginia Musical Theater, and is the past Executive Director of EQUI-KIDS Therapeutic Riding Center in Virginia Beach.

    The Rogers’ home in the Lago Mar neighborhood is often host to themed fundraisers and events welcoming friends, family and unpredictable gaggles of smelly teenage boys from near and far. Stacy enjoys supporting their boys, Matthew (17), Conor (16) and Logan (15) in their sports, music, and extracurricular adventures, playing with their two dogs and tackling home renovation projects.

    Stacy Rogers is the founder and President of Trinitas Group, providing executive consulting and business solutions services across public, private and charitable sector executive clients. Stacy is honored to be sponsored by Ageless Skin Rejuvenation Med Spa for this year’s Dancing with the Hampton Roads Celebrity Stars. Visit agelessskinrejuvenation.com to learn more about how you can get “stage ready” for life’s day-to-day performances.

    PARTNER: Jason Rushing

    SPONSORED BY:

  • Kevin Taylor

    Kevin Taylor is a highly accomplished and skilled real estate professional with a rich background of experience. With over 10 years of experience in the industry, Kevin has established himself as one of the most reliable and trustworthy real estate agents in the business.

    Kevin's journey into the real estate industry began in 2012, after he honorably served in the military for 9 1/2 years, including serving on the USS Truman and completing deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan with various branches of the military. After his military service came to an end, Kevin joined the real estate firm Creed Realty and quickly made a name for himself in the industry.

    Currently serving at Iron Valley Real Estate, Hampton Roads, Kevin's expertise and knowledge of the local market has helped many clients achieve their real estate goals. With an unwavering commitment to providing exceptional customer service, Kevin has built a reputation as an agent who always puts his clients first.

    In addition to his professional accomplishments, Kevin is deeply committed to giving back to the community through charitable work and philanthropy. He owns multiple companies and is always looking for ways to help others.

    Overall, Kevin Taylor is a dedicated professional who brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the real estate industry. His exceptional track record and commitment to excellence make him an invaluable asset to any client seeking to buy or sell a property in Hampton Roads.


    PARTNER: Simona Caporale
  • Jaketa Clark Thompson

    Jaketa Clark Thompson is an accomplished entrepreneur and marketing expert, and the proud owner of Omnia Unlimited LLC, a leading marketing agency that has won numerous awards for its exceptional work. With years of experience in the marketing industry, Jaketa has honed her skills in developing innovative strategies and executing successful campaigns that have driven growth for her clients.

    In addition to her impressive professional achievements, Jaketa is a devoted wife and mother of four children. She understands the importance of balancing her career and family responsibilities, and is committed to providing the best possible life for her loved ones.

    Jaketa is also deeply committed to giving back to her community, and serves on several nonprofit and community boards. Her passion for making a positive impact is evident in the various charitable initiatives and community programs she supports.

    A special thank you to Harvest VB, Zero's Oceanfront, and PRR Group for partnering with Jaketa to take part in this wonderful event.

    PARTNER: Blakely Perkins

    SPONSORED BY:

  • Maria M. Weissenseel

    Maria is the president of Sister Cities Association of Virginia Beach. A partner in a family business, and owner of Bubbles and Bows meetings, travel and events. Maria is very active in the community of Viginia Beach. Enjoys private time with her husband and family. And thrilled to be a part of Hampton Roads dancing with the Celebrity Stars. My dance this year is influnenced by my Aegean background and Cultural Studies at The University of Pittsburgh. Dedicated to Freda Manolakas

    PARTNER: Riccardo Pacini

    SPONSORED BY:

       

       
  • Michelle Westberry

    Born and raised a Florida native, Michelle has experienced marketing from several different aspects, from Florida to Wyoming, Colorado to California and now here in Virginia Beach. She has been in marketing since 1999 and loves helping others succeed in their adventures. In her spare time, you can find her at local nonprofit benefits, local hotspots and /or volunteering at local organizations that give back to our communities. Michelle is the publisher of the Virginia Connector Magazine, which allows her to be a part of everything local and help give exposure to the locals’ success stories. She has made it her mission to build stronger communities, one neighborhood at a time. Her furry babies are three Shih-Tzus named Macie, Tucker and Cersei, who are the loves of her life.  

    Michelle has zero experience in professional dancing but loves music and cries when watching others on these types of reality shows because she knows what it is like to work hard, succeed and often fail. This is a challenge she took on to better herself as well as helping local charities! Her hopes are to, at minimum, be able to dance on the floor of a ballroom one day with a special other.

    PARTNER: Simone Spadoni
  • Gregory S. Zimpel

    Greg Zimpel, along with his wife of 40 years, Kelly, is the founder and owner of Z Wine Guy, a small boutique wine distributorship out of Portsmouth. He has been a resident of Hampton Roads for 37 years where they have raised their 2 children and have built a wonderful life in Chesapeake with their beloved dog Gus. Greg came from a long background in construction and development in Virginia and beyond before starting Z Wine Guy and has revived his investment management business in recent years. Greg is an avid adventure seeker and a dedicated gardener, loves feeding the birds in his backyard, NASCAR and traveling. Greg is also a grandfather who is wrapped around the fingers of his 6 and 2-year-old grandchildren.

    PARTNER: Simona Caporale
  • SIMONA CAPORALE

    Simona Caporale – Has been dancing since the age of 5 starting with Ballet and then began training in  Latin competitive dancing 12 years ago.

    With too many awards to mention over the past 25 years  – their most recent and impressive awards and rankings are as follows:

    Simona Caporale and her husband Simone Spadoni rank 4th in the world in Italy.

    First place finishes:
    WDSF Senior Open Latin
    Caserta 2017
    Bassano Del Grappa 2017
    Rimini Open 2017
    Italian Championship of the world first place 4 years running -2013 – 2016
    WDC Senior Open Latin
    Disney in Paris December 2017
    Italian Absolut 2017
    Switzerland April 2018
    Blackpool –May 2017 placed 6th in the world
    Blackpool - May 2018 placed 4th in the world

    NDCA in the United States Simone and Simona in 2018 they placed in Senior International Open as follows:
    Capital Dancesport August 2017
    Charlotte Star Ball August 2018
    International Championship October 2018
    Championship of the World in Miami finished 8th in the world
    Finalist in many professional competitions.

    Currently teaching at S&S DANCE in Portsmouth, she is excited to share her knowledge with her students and the studio.

    She is the co-organizer of the FANTASYBALL Competition in Norflok at the Sheraton Hotel waterfront.

    PARTNER: Kevin Taylor & Gregory S. Zimpel
  • WENDY DENYSENKO

    Originating from Maine, Wendy is a dedicated and humble dancer whose love for the arts has paved the way for numerous achievements. She has delved into various dance genres, such as ballet, tap, and jazz, eagerly embracing each style's unique teachings. Her versatility extended beyond dance, with excellence in singing and acting, which has earned her recognition and accolades in musical theater productions and prestigious pageants.

    After pursuing her dream at Centenary College, Wendy's talent and artistry shone through in unforgettable productions and collaborations with renowned choreographers. Her commitment to excellence and relentless pursuit of her craft led her to join the esteemed Arthur Murray Dance Studio, where she embarked on a remarkable journey as a professional dancer and instructor.

    Alongside her husband, Taras, Wendy has been blessed to secure numerous prestigious titles and championships. They have been crowned Southern Ontario Rhythm Champions, World Salsa Finalists, Arthur Murray Rising Star Rhythm Champions, Open Rhythm Champions, and World Finalists. Their performances exude a seamless connection and undeniable chemistry on the dance floor, leaving a lasting impression on audiences worldwide.

    Wendy's impressive achievements and unwavering passion for dance have established her as a respected figure in the dance community. Together with her husband Taras, they serve as franchisees of the Virginia Beach studio, working harmoniously to inspire and guide aspiring dancers. Wendy is grateful for the opportunities she has had and attributes her success to the unwavering support and love of those around her.

    PARTNER: Antwain Britt
  • Andrea Franco

    Andrea Franco was born and raised in San Salvador, El Salvador. Since she was little, she has always loved to dance. At the age of 10, she began with gymnastics then in high school she was part of her volleyball team and dance team. It was then when she decided that dancing was her passion. She was apart of her high school dance team until she graduated. She rehearsed every day after school until late hours preparing for events and competitions. She danced to all types of music, but mainly hip hop and Latin dances like salsa and bachata.

    After graduating in 2015, she joined a dance team called ‘Let’s Move Dance Studio’ with her choreographer. Andrea was soon offered a part time position as a hip hop and street jazz teacher. Along side dancing, she also sang in three operas for El Salvador OPES and Opera of El Salvador.

    In 2016 she moved to the U.S. with her family. She studied English for two years and started college right away. Moving didn’t deter Andrea from her passion. She knew that she wanted to continue her dance journey and make it a career.

    In 2019, Andrea joined the Arthur Murray Dance Studio Virginia Beach team. Andrea is also in her 2nd year of college majoring in Graphic Design and Advertising, but that is not going to stop her advancing her beautiful dance career.

    PARTNER: Hunter Hartnett
  • Jack Gabriel

    Jack, a native of High Springs, Florida, defied the norm among his peers by harboring a passion for sports rather than dancing. Throughout his formative years, he enthusiastically engaged in a diverse range of solo and team sports. Despite his aspirations of pursuing a sporting career in college after graduating from high school, that dream remained unfulfilled.

    In 2018, seeking newfound independence and a chance to experience different parts of the country, Jack made the decision to join the Navy at the age of 19. Assigned to the USS San Antonio, LPD 17, he swiftly established himself as a pivotal figure in ship communications, assuming the responsibilities of a Radio IT. Furthermore, Jack was one of only two Search and Rescue swimmers on board. In 2020, he embarked on a series of underways to support the ship's preparation for its scheduled deployment in 2021, a deployment in which he actively participated.

    Following the deployment, as Jack's initial Naval contract drew to a close, he found himself faced with a significant decision—whether to part ways with the Navy or re-enlist. Simultaneously, in early 2022, he embarked on a dancing journey as a student at the Arthur Murray Virginia Beach Studio. Today, not only does he instruct aspiring dancers at the studio but he also competes with zeal. Embracing dance wholeheartedly since its inception in his life, Jack seizes every opportunity to refine his artistry and immerse himself in the dance community.

    PARTNER: Ashley Allman & Ashley Forbes
  • Katja Marc-Harris

    Katja has been dancing for over 30 years and has been teaching in the US since 2009. She is a two-time Slovenian National Champion; Ten dance and Standard. She was a finalist at the prestigious Blackpool Dance Festival, the International Open Championships in England, the Austrian and Italian Open, and has represented Slovenia at World Championships and Blackpool Team Match. She has participated at Dancing with the Hampton Roads Celebrity Stars before and has won two mirror balls. Her students have won top awards at the Pro/Am competitions, where she has also won Top Female Teacher awards. She is a senior instructor and coach at DancesportVA, where she teaches dancers of all levels in International and American style..

    PARTNERS: Jamie Rogers
  • Cameron Johnson

    Hailing from South Africa, Cameron Johnson started his dancing career at the tender age of 5, under the tutelage of his parents. In 2000, Cameron was invited to immigrate and teach in the USA, where he has made his home as a US Citizen. Cameron is proficient in International Standard, International Latin, American-Style Smooth & American-Style Rhythm. He specializes in Pro/Am Competition, Social Dancing & Wedding/Show Dance Choreography.

    • 44 years of competitive dancing and training. Social and competitive teaching. (1995 to present) * Studio management. (1995 to present)
    • Training dance teachers in International and American Style. (1997 to present)
    • Associate in International Standard with a Highly Commended pass rate through the South African National Council of Ballroom Dancing. (1996)
    • Associate in International Latin with a Highly Commended pass rate through the United Kingdom Alliance in London, England. (1999)
    • Licentiate in International Standard with a Highly Commended pass rate through the United Kingdom Alliance in London, England. (1999)
    • South African National Junior Champion (1985-1989)
    • South African National Adult Champion (1991-1994)
    • South African National Professional Champion (1996 -1999)
    • Represented South Africa in the World Adult Championship in Bremen, Germany in1991 *Represented South Africa in the World Adult Championship in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1994
    • Represented South Africa in the World Professional Championship in Budapest, Hungary in 1995
    • Represented South Africa in the Open French Masters Professional Championship on the Isle of Reunion in 1996 and was placed 3rd
    • Represented South Africa in the Open Fleetwood Professional Championship Blackpool, England in 1996 and was placed 6th *
    • Represented the USA at World Pro/Am Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2008 and was placed 1st
    • Social and competitive dance teacher and co-manager at the Robern Dance Studio in Cape Town, South Africa. (1995-2000) *Social and competitive (Pro/am) dance teacher at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Mamaroneck, New York. (2000-2004)
    • Independent social dance teacher at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater School in Manhattan, New York. (2005)
    • Independent social and competitive (Pro/am) dance teacher at the Sandra Cameron Dance Center in Manhattan, New York (2004-2011)
    • Independent social and competitive (Pro/am) dance teacher at Dance Studio 101 in Manhattan, New York (2006 - 2010)
    • Independent social and competitive (Pro/am) dance teacher at the Maria Fiora Dance Studio in Stamford, Connecticut (2009-2017)
    • Social and competitive (Pro/am) dance teacher/Studio Manager at Just Dance Dance Centre in Manhattan, New York (2011-2019)
    • Social dance teacher (Dance Weekends & Cruises) at Stardust Dance Productions in New York (2013 till present)
    • Social and competitive (Pro/am) dance teacher at Dancesport VA, Virginia (2019 to present)

    PARTNER: Taylor Davis & Meredith Lippert
  • Rebekah Klyukin

    Rebekah Klyukin has been living in the Hampton Roads area since she was one-year-old. She discovered her passion for dancing in college. She is a biologist by education and prior to pursuing professional ballroom dancing, she had planned to attend medical school. Rebekah has participated at Dancing with the Hampton Roads Celebrity Stars before and multiple students have won the coveted mirror ball trophies. Together, with her husband Zhenya, they own A Time to Dance dance company, where they teach beginners through advanced competitive dancers. They offer private lessons, group classes, instruction and entertainment for private events, and social dance parties. Rebekah and Zhenya have two beautiful children, Izabella and Dmitry. She can be reached by calling 757.620.3254 or emailing learntoballroom@gmail.com. Rebekah would like to thank her amazing partners, Wes Coons, Jay Jay Mayo, and Caleb Myles for all their hard work and dedication for the dance competition!

    PARTNER: Wes Coons & Jay Jay Mayo & Caleb Myles
  • ZHENYA KLYUKIN

    Zhenya moved to Hampton Roads in 2005 from Yekaterinburg, Russia. He began dancing when he was just 6 years old and holds many championship titles from his competitive career in International Ballroom and Latin dancing in Russia. He currently is competing professionally in the country-western circuit and he and his partner were the 2021 Division 1 Couples World Champions. Additionally, he competes with many students throughout the year at various competitions in the United States, in all styles of dance. He enjoys sharing his love of dance with people, whether they be beginner social dancers…or competitive advanced dancers. He and his wife, Rebekah, own A Time to Dance dance company in Virginia Beach. They offer private lessons, group classes, instruction and entertainment for private events, and social dance parties. Additionally, they have two children, Izabella and Dmitry. He can be reached by calling 757.620.3254 or via email at learntoballroom@gmail.com.

    Zhenya would like to thank his two fabulous partners, Brittany Hendrickson and Joy Naik, for the privilege of dancing with them in this competition and for all their hard work!

    PARTNER: Brittany Hendrickson & Joy Naik
  • JAY LEARY

    Jay is 30 years old and from Phoenix, AZ. He has been dancing for 20 years starting in ballet with the Arizona Youth Ballet where he danced for two years, learning ballet and jazz as well as other genres, including modern, contemporary, and hip hop. Jay attended Grand Canyon University majoring in Dance Education, where he choreographed and performed. He began dancing ballroom in 2012 with Fred Astaire Dance Studio, where he started dancing and competing professionally.  Now a Navy veteran, he joined the Navy and moved to Virginia in 2014 where he worked at various studios before starting his own studio, Cutting Edge Ballroom in 2019.

    PARTNER: Stacey Higgins

  • RICCARDO PACINI

    Riccardo and Sonia both started dancing when they were 6 years old. They have both trained with some of the most prestigious coaches in the world. In 2002, they started dancing together at the Junior Open Gold level in Italy.

    After only 1 year of partnership, they achieved 1st place at the Italian Open Championship in Latin and the Combined 10 Dance competition. Riccardo and Sonia also placed second at the Standard Open Championship. Two years later, in 2004 they began to compete internationally. By 2006, they were ranked 2nd in the world. That same year they placed second in the under 21 category at the World 10 Dance Championship in Platja d’Aro Spain. Finally, after a successful career at the Junior and Under 21 levels, Riccardo and Sonia began competing in the more challenging Adult category. After entering the more challenging Adult category, Riccardo and Sonia placed second at the Italian Open Champion in both Standard and Latin in 2008. They also placed second in the Italian Open Championship both Standard and Latin as well as reaching the finals in many prestigious competitions around Europe.

    2010 was an exciting year for Riccardo and Sonia. They placed second in the Italian Open Combined 10 Dance Championship and opened their own studio in Rome, Italy and that same year. Three years later, in 2013 Riccardo and Sonia placed in the top three in some of the most prestigious competitions around the world. Such as the UK Open, the German Open Championship, and the Disney Cup in Paris, France. They also placed 2nd at the World Latin Show Dance Championship. The next year, 2014, they won the Italian Open Championship in Latin dance style. That same year they decided to move to USA. Since moving to the United States, they have achieved great results competing in the Professional Division. They have placed first in many competitions, such as Virginia State, New Jersey State, Maryland Dance Championship, Commonwealth Classic, Heritage Classic, Michigan Dance Challenge, Cincinnati Dance Challenge, and Philadelphia Dance Sport. Riccardo and Sonia are the Owners/Teachers of World Class Ballroom.

    PARTNERS: Maria M. Weissenseel
  • Blake Perkins

    Blake, born and raised in the small town of Oelwein, Iowa, has been immersed in the world of arts since a young age. Throughout his school years, he actively participated in various artistic endeavors such as choir, musical theater, and cheerleading. At the age of ten, Blake commenced his dancing journey at Steil's Studio of Dance, now known as Northeast Iowa Dance Academy, where he specialized in Hip Hop, Modern, Jazz, and Musical Theater styles.

    Upon graduating in 2020, Blake initially enrolled at Kirkwood Community College but decided to follow his passion for the arts and withdrew from the program. In 2023, while working a nine-to-five job in Dubuque, Iowa, fate led him to discover an advertisement seeking dance instructors at Arthur Murray Virginia Beach. Following a successful zoom interview and a swift flight to the East Coast, he embraced the opportunity to delve into ballroom and Latin dancing, becoming an integral part of the AMVB Team. Blake feels grateful for the privilege of dancing every day and cherishes the chance to share his passion for dance with his students.

    PARTNER: Jaketa Clark Thompson & Ashley Armbruster
  • Allie Powers has danced most of her life, beginning at the early age of 4 training in ballet, tap, and hip-hop. She formalized her Ballroom Dancing career in 2004, training under Yevgeny Klyukin training in International Latin and Standard. She has competed in Maryland and Washington D.C. placing 1st and taking the “overall categories” in all of her competitions. For the past 15 years, Allie has been training and teaching at “A Time to Dance”. Allie specializes in International Latin, but has a passion for all forms of dancing and enjoys teaching the art of Ballroom Dancing to her students.

    PARTNER: John “Jay Jay” Mayo & Jay Williams
  • MARIE RANTS

    Marie Rants, Owner/Artist Director of Rants Ballroom Company and adjunct faculty at Old Dominion University, has been dancing professionally since 1996. She holds a BA in Dance from ODU, where she was the recipient of the Eva May Morris Scholarship, and studied MA in Communication at Johns Hopkins University.

    Ms. Rants is committed to teaching dance as art even at the social-dance level. Marie is passionate about sharing her love of dance with her students, from the young to the young at heart.

    PARTNER: David Ambrose & James Paul Cadotte
  • Jason Rushing

    Starting dance at the age of 10 at Virginia Beach Ballet Academy, Jason decided to transform his passion into a profession at 18 years old by joining the Atlanta Ballet in 2003. He began his professional ballroom dance career at Fred Astaire Virginia Beach before joining the Fred Astaire Fairfax studio in 2012. I have been a professional instructor for Fred Astaire for over fifteen years and have been thoroughly examined by the Fred Astaire Dance board to teach multiple styles of dance. He is currently a member of the NDCA and actively competes both Pro-Am and professionally.

    Currently teaching out of DancesportVA Jason is available for private and group class instruction at DancepsortVA located at 5721 Arrowhead Dr. in Virginia Beach. Call he studio at 757-473-3267 to schedule a lesson today!

    PARTNER: Stacy Rogers
  • SIMONE SPADONI

    Simone Spadoni has been training in Latin dancing for 25 years and teaching for 18 years.

    With too many awards to mention over the past 25 years for he and his wife/dance partner, Simona Caporale, here are their most recent and impressive awards and rankings:

    First place is all the following:
    WDSF Senior Open Latin
    Caserta 2017
    Bassano Del Grappa 2017
    Rimini Open 2017
    Italian Championship of the world first place 4 years running -2013 – 2016
    WDC Senior Open Latin
    Disney in Paris December 2017
    Italian Absolut 2017
    Switzerland April 2018
    Blackpool –May 2017 placed 6th in the world
    Blackpool - May 2018 placed 4th in the world

    NDCA in the United States Simone and Simona in 2018 they placed in Senior International Open as follows:
    Capital Dancesport August 2017
    Charlotte Star Ball August 2018
    International Championship October 2018
    Championship of the World in Miami finished 8th in the world.
    Finalists in many professional competition.

    Simone currently teaches at Studio 2C in Suffolk, where he is excited to share his knowledge with his students and the studio.  

    PARTNER: Michelle Westberry
  • Diane Taylor

    Diane Taylor is a professional Ballroom Dancer who for over 25 years has taught and exhibited throughout the nation. As an NDCA Certified instructor and Adjudicator, this Virginia Beach native has also successfully competed on the national pro~ dance circuit, consistently placing in the Pro Open American Smooth Division. She creates special wedding first dances, as well as unique themed shows for Non profit balls and corporate events. Diane provides instruction in all styles of Ballroom, Latin, East and West Coast Swing, Hustle and Cuban Salsa.

    Joining a solid technical foundation from classical Ballet, Diane believes anyone can learn to dance, regardless of experience, age or ability or disability, and is proud to have worked with deaf, Alzheimer's and cancer patients, as well as those with complex mental and physical challenges. Diane's unique approach to helping one understand their body and connect with their sense of timing and rhythm has brought her a faithful following of happily satisfied students of all ages. Contact Diane at dkodance@yahoo.com, or 757-348-9907

    PARTNER: Ron Kilmer
  • Ashley Allman
  • David Ambrose
  • Ashley Armbruster
  • Antwain Britt
  • James Paul Cadotte
  • Taylor Davis
  • Ashley Forbes
  • Hunter Hartnett
  • Brittany Hendrickson
  • Stacey Higgins
  • Ron Kilmer
  • Meredith Lippert
  • John “Jay Jay” Mayo
  • Caleb Myles
  • Joy Naik
  • Stacy Rogers
  • Kevin Taylor
  • Jaketa Clark Thompson
  • Maria M. Weissenseel
  • Michelle Westberry
  • Gregory S. Zimpel
  • SIMONA CAPORALE
  • WENDY DENYSENKO
  • Andrea Franco
  • Jack Gabriel
  • Katja Marc-Harris
  • Cameron Johnson
  • Rebekah Klyukin
  • ZHENYA KLYUKIN
  • JAY LEARY
  • RICCARDO PACINI
  • Blake Perkins
  • MARIE RANTS
  • Jason Rushing
  • SIMONE SPADONI
  • Diane Taylor
Ashley Allman

Ashley Allman

Ashley Allman serves as the Vice President of Marketing & Development at Westminster- Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay in Virginia Beach, VA. Westminster-Canterbury is a 62+ active adult Life Plan Community that specializes in resort-style living. In this role she leads the Sales & Marketing Team that is responsible for maintaining an average community occupancy of 95%, as well as, presales for the new Bay Tower. She also serves as the liaison to the Foundation Board of Directors and is responsible for coordinating all fundraising activities and bringing in over $2M each year for the WC Foundation.
 
Ashley is a native of Virginia Beach and has volunteered for a number or local charities including the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, The FoodBank of Southeastern Virginia and The Alzheimer’s Association. When she is not working you can find her spending time with her two daughters, Stella and Vallie and her husband Bailey. Ashley does not consider herself a dancer, but did take dance lessons as a young girl and is excited to participate in this year’s Dancing with the Stars.

PARTNER: Jack Gabriel

SPONSORED BY:
David Ambrose

David Ambrose

Dave, a native of Alexandria, VA, spent most of his life in northern Virginia before he and his wife Karen decided to settle in Virginia Beach for their retirement. They have three adult children, five grandchildren, and one great-grandson.

With over four decades of experience in commercial building construction, Dave has held senior management positions in top US construction firms like Skanska Building and Turner Construction. He retired from Skanska Building three years ago as Senior Vice President, National Director of Project Scheduling.

Throughout his career, Dave has worked on a wide range of construction projects, including large office complexes, airports, hospitals, sports stadiums, and more. He has been involved with notable projects such as the Apple II Headquarters in Cupertino, LaGuardia Airport renovation in New York, University Medical Center in New Orleans, Soldier Field in Chicago, and the Facebook data center in Lulea, Sweden. Dave’s expertise in construction scheduling, claims, and training has earned him recognition throughout the industry.

Since retiring, Dave and Karen have been busy visiting their children and grandchildren in Baltimore, MD, Charlotte, NC, and Huntsville, AL.

PARTNER: Marie Rants

Ashley Armbruster

Ashley Armbruster

Ashley Savage Armbruster is a born and raised Virginia Beach resident. She attended Virginia Tech (Go Hokies!) and completed her Doctorate of Pharmacy (Pharm D.) at Virginia Commonwealth School of Pharmacy. She works as a clinical inpatient pharmacist and is the lead pharmacist for Sentara Virginia Beach General’s IV room. She is excited to share in her passion and joy of dance. In 2022 she spent time with her husband, Stephen Armbruster volunteering with the Neptune Festival of Virginia Beach as Royal Ambassadors. Their two children Bryce (7) and Blake (3) have been practicing their dance moves with mom although their favorite song is NSYNC’s “Bye, Bye, Bye.”

Ashley’s generous sponsorship for tonight’s event comes from the orthodontic offices of Dr. Savage, Sabol and Visser in Virginia Beach and through a personal donation from both the Savage and Armbruster Families. During the past year Ashley completed an adult treatment of Invisalign to restore her smile to a 10/10! They treat her and every patient like a celebrity superstar. Good luck to all the participants!

PARTNER: Blakely Perkins

SPONSORED BY:

The Orthodontic offices of Drs. Savage, Sabol and Visser

Antwain Britt

Antwain Britt

Antwain is born and raised right here in Hampton Roads, attending Indian River High School in Chesapeake. A Wrestling and Football standout, Antwain craved competition in his adult life. So, after training to become an amateur and then professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter he was invited by the UFC to compete on The Ultimate Fighter TV show.

After a successful MMA career Antwain turned his attention to consulting, traveling the U.S. as a fitness facility consultant, but travel got old and he decided to build his own fitness portfolio as co- owner of three fitness facilities and currently the owner/ operator of two Britt’s Fitness and Self Defense locations.

If you still don’t think that’s why Antwains name sounds familiar to you that may be because he’s known by another, The Juggernaut as founder of Juggernaut Cookie Co., creating both decedent and healthy baked goods. www.cookiehunk.com

PARTNER: Wendy Denysenko

SPONSORED BY:

James Paul Cadotte

James Paul Cadotte

Paul Cadotte, lover of dance and all things fun, grew up in the heart of Motown- Detroit, Michigan. Wise at an early age, he aspired to learn all the popular dance styles because he quickly realized that’s how to attract the girls. Paul’s self-taught ambition wasn’t as successful as he had hoped for, so he redirected his energy to martial arts, training in Krav Maga, Hapkido, Tai chi, Kung Fu, and acquiring the title 4 th Degree Black Belt Master Instructor in Tae Kwon Do. He eventually found his way to Virginia Beach where he retired and now takes dance lessons formally. This is a signature year for Paul; he celebrates 5 years surviving cancer and 75 years of exquisitely fine aging. Mr. Cadotte dedicates this performance to all the gals from his hometown, Motown.

PARTNER: Marie Rants

Taylor Davis

Taylor Davis

Taylor Davis began working with the Grohler family in December of 2019 as Becca and Zach Grohler’s nanny. In 2021 Taylor joined the beltone family as an admin assistant/ patient care coordinator while attending school for a year. Taylor now has returned to her original nannying job for Zach and Becca looking after their 2 Daughters.

Taylor started dancing when she was 2 years old. She continued dancing for 12 years. After a long break from dancing in the winter of 2021 she picked up Two-Step, swing, and line dancing. Though she may not be trained in ballroom dancing she can’t wait to get out on the stage and give it her all.

PARTNER: Cameron Johnson

SPONSORED BY:
Ashley Forbes

Ashley Forbes

An Eastern Shore native, Ashley Forbes is a farm girl turned business professional with extensive experience in hospitality management, human resources, and correspondence. She admits having passions for people and all things outdoors. In her previous role as the General Manager with Cherrystone Family Camping Resort, she and her team landed in the top 5 campgrounds in the nation three years in a row. Ashley loves workforce development and currently serves as Chair of the Virginia Workforce Development Board with the Bay Consortium Region.

Starting at 15 years old she joined as a volunteer with her local fire department and was certified as an EMT by age 16. She became a 9-1-1 operator at 18 and continues her love for helping others as a current certified American Red Cross CPR and First-Aid Instructor.

When not at work, she enjoys being outdoors with her husband Chris and their two wonderful children Austin 5, and Madison 3. Tonight, Ashley would like to dedicate her dance to her children where she wants to show them to “Never let fear get in the way of your dreams, and when you get the chance, accept the dance.”

PARTNER: Jack Gabriel

SPONSORED BY:

Hunter Hartnett

Hunter Hartnett

Hunter Hartnett is a loan officer with PrimeLending with a little over five years in the business. He grew up just over the water in Williamsburg and, after 7 years in Chicago, he made the decision to never live anywhere near single digit winter temperatures again. He’s a graduate of the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina (Go Cocks!). After a stint in Atlanta, he made his way back to the Hampton Roads Area, landing in Virginia Beach.

When he’s not strapped to his phone, you can find him out on the golf course, snowboarding, traveling, or at the beach with his German Shephard/Husky, Preston. With his dancing experience limited to weddings and other social events (typically after a drink or two), this will be an interesting experience. Luckily, he is partnered with Andrea who, despite her positive attitude and patience, certainly has her work cut out for her.

He’s been very generously backed by both his company, PrimeLending, and by Andrea C. Hartnett, a Realtor in the Hampton Roads region.

PARTNER: Andrea Franco

SPONSORED BY:

Brittany Hendrickson

Brittany Hendrickson

Brittany Hendrickson Having been raised in Virginia Beach, and a graduate of Bayside High, Brittany Hendrickson is a true expert when it comes to Hampton Roads. Brittany started her real estate career in 2012 at the young age of 23, and excelled at a very quick pace. She demonstrated the ability to connect with her clients in meaningful ways and successfully helped them achieve their goals.

Brittany met her husband Ryan in 2012 as she was launching her real estate career. Ryan served in the United States Navy for 13 years as a SWCC, and worked as an instructor at Naval Special Warfare Basic Training Command in San Diego for 2.5 years.

Since returning from San Diego, Brittany has excelled in helping her clients and currently ranks top 8% of Hampton Roads Realtors. Brittany recently launched Hendrickson Homes at Keller Williams Coastal Virginia.

Brittany is a mom to two beautiful girls, Ellie and Zoie, and two super friendly Rottweilers, Nala and Penny.

Brittany is very excited to take the stage at Dancing with the Stars Hampton Roads!

PARTNER: Zhenya Klyukin

SPONSORED BY:

Stacey Higgins

Stacey Higgins

Stacey Higgins, who was raised in Norfolk and now lives in Virginia Beach, is a proud graduate of Old Dominion University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

She is a marketing and business development professional with 24 years of experience in the engineering industry. Through relationships and proposals, Stacey strategically prepares businesses for growth by directly winning work. She sits on the boards for The Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) and Women in Transportation.

She is the proud mother of two grown children, daughter Alexis (her husband Sean) and son Devin (his partner Meghan), and her grand-pup Butters. When she is not working, you can find her at the gym, on the beach or spending time with her family and friends. Stacey is honored to participate in this year’s Hampton Roads Dancing with the Celebrity Stars, and she is enjoying her dance lessons with her amazing dance instructor Jay Leary!

PARTNER: Jay Leary

SPONSORED BY:



Her parents: Mamie Dombroski and Dennis Macina
Her kids: Alexis Higgins Jessup and Husband Sean Jessup
Devin Twine and Meghan Starnes
Ron Kilmer

Ron Kilmer

Ron grew up outside Philadelphia in Aston, PA. He married Andrea Moore 43 years ago. He has two sons, Justin and Jonathan and a beautiful daughter-in-law, Kate, Justin’s wife. He is very proud that both his sons are Eagle Scouts, and he still works with the Scouts today, as Vice President of Tidewater Council BSA here in Va Beach.

Ron is a US Navy Veteran, serving 6 years as an Electronics Technician with most of his service spent on the USS Shakori, ATF 162. After the Navy he started his own company, Virginia Electronic Systems, Inc and is now celebrating its 41st year. The company is a contractor to the US Government for Foreign Military Support and has operated in over 63 countries.

His dance experience is mostly the world famous Chicken Dance and Hokey Pokey, at weddings and rumored to have adult beverages involved.

PARTNER: Diane Taylor

Meredith Lippert

Meredith Lippert

Meredith Lippert was born and raised in the Hampton Roads area and is an alumni of Liberty University where she studied Sports Management and was also a Cheerleader. She has been in the hospitality and event management industry for over 20 years and is the Regional Catering Director for Mission BBQ. She is also the owner of Belle Âme Designs, specializing in event production and venue management. Meredith is truly honored to be able to support the local Military, Police and Fire Community through her work with Mission BBQ and loves to bring her client’s event visions to life.

She is the proud mother to her 4 year old daughter and wife to Stephen, Director of Operations for Mission BBQ. When she is not working, you can find her spending time with family and friends, and creating memories with her daughter Harper. While Meredith has been a dancer, gymnast, and cheerleader from a young age, she is excited for the new challenge of Ballroom Dancing and is thankful for the opportunity!

PARTNER: Cameron Johnson

SPONSORED BY:
John “Jay Jay” Mayo

John “Jay Jay” Mayo

John “Jay Jay” Mayo is an Audacy superstar. He is an on-air talent for Z104 and could be found on the scene as he celebrates love, life, and laughter across all of Audacy’s brands. Jay Jay competed in season 8 of Dancing with the Hampton Roads Celebrity Stars. He returns in Season 9 of Dancing with the Hampton Roads Celebrity Stars ready to shake the room…or at least til he wins the big trophy, as he would say.

PARTNER: Rebekah Klyukin
Caleb Myles

Caleb Myles

Caleb Myles is a proud husband and father, US veteran, athlete and business owner in the Virginia Beach Community. Originally from Roanoke, Va., Caleb served in the US Navy with Strike Fighter Squadron 105, and has since put down roots in Virginia Beach, where he is now the proud husband of Natalia and father of Madeleine.

He and Natalia co-own Lantero LLC., – an Underground Utility Construction Company specializing in Horizontal Directional Drilling – contributing to efforts to rebuild, maintain and improve the infrastructure in the Virginia Beach area, as well as all along the Eastern Seaboard.

Caleb attended school at ODU and studied Psychology. While attending, he played rugby for the Monarchs and went on to play rugby with the Norfolk Blues Rugby Football Club.

During his free time, he has a few personal hobbies that bring out his artistic/creative side, chief among them being woodworking. Caleb is fanatical about the sport of swimming and enjoys coaching youth teams. His many pursuits and interests make this dynamic individual an invaluable member of the Virginia Beach community.

The long-standing theme across Caleb’s life is caring. He cared for his country and fellow citizens enough to serve in the US Navy. He cared for his students and for athleticism enough to be a coach, pushing the next generation to improve their fitness and health through swimming as a competitive exercise. He deeply cares for his family, and along with his wife he started a business that contributes to the maintenance and improvement of his community. He cares about the quality of life for those around him and has dedicated his time to working towards improving it. Whether it’s through athleticism, protecting our nation, or being present as a loving family man, Caleb is a hard-working, dedicated man who cares about those around him, doing everything he can to support and improve the quality of life for his friends and family. The Virginia Beach Community is lucky to have him as one of their members.

PARTNER: Rebekah Klyukin
Joy Naik

Joy Naik

Joy Naik is a karaoke-loving mother of four who is a Hampton Roads native. She serves as a Commissioner on the Chesapeake Fine Arts Commission, as well as an Account Specialist with Navy Federal Credit Union. She is also on the board of the NAACP Chesapeake Chapter, and the Renaissance School of the Arts. She loves working as an off-ice figure skating coach at Chilled Ponds, and is the Event Coordinator for Portsmouth Pride 2023.

For 16 years she was a mil-spouse to a now Navy Veteran, and during that time would have the opportunity to not only work as a community classes instructor through MWR in Rota, Spain, but she would be able to assist the families in the SpecWar Community as Vice President of the Family Readiness Group as well as an Ombudsman.

For over 29 years she has been involved in dance and is the owner of her newly founded dance studio, the Dance Theatre of Coastal Virginia, but this journey has not been without hiccups. In 2014 she would be in a car accident that would leave her homebound for close to a year, and then in 2020 she would suffer a stroke, but during and after rehabilitation that hasn’t stopped her. She dances for all of the people that have supported her journey, and is excited to dive into a world that is unknown to her…the world of ballroom dance.


PARTNER: Zhenya Klyukin

Stacy Rogers

Stacy Rogers

Stacy Rogers (AKA “Beth Dutton of Virginia Beach”) is an active business owner, military spouse, mom and engaged member of the Virginia Beach community looking to bring home another Rogers family win in this year’s performance. Having taken many years of formal dance as a child, performing in vocal and musical performance through her school years, and enjoying spins around the dance floor at social engagements with her husband, this year’s performance is forcing Stacy out of her comfort zone and forcing her to fill big “dancing shoes” following her husband Jamie’s winning chacha to “Moves Like Jagger” in our 2022 show.

Growing up on a rural horse farm in the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York, Stacy was raised by Ken, a veteran US Army Ranger and businessman, and Renee, a registered nurse and medical administrator, who exemplify dedication through living lives of service. After over 20 years in the DC metro area, Stacy and her husband Commander Jamie Rogers moved to Virginia Beach in 2016 on the “wings of Naval Aviation” (and Jamie’s military orders) to raise their three sons closer to Jamie’s hometown and family in Norfolk.

Stacy has served across the public, private and nonprofit business sectors for over 25 years. She has received professional recognition for her roles in legislative policy and advocacy, support of the national security community, interoperability, crisis and disaster response and mitigation, nonprofit leadership, and executive business performance. Stacy is a member of ten professional organizations, has multiple professional certifications and recently completed her Executive Masters in Business Administration. Stacy is dedicated to the mission of serving others on local and national nonprofit boards and as an active supporter of multiple local and national nonprofit organizations to include: Horse and Human Research Foundation, Tribe Task & Purpose, Frog Dog K9, Calming Kids, Chimney Trails, Veterans Victory Alliance, Tunnels to Towers, Virginia Musical Theater, and is the past Executive Director of EQUI-KIDS Therapeutic Riding Center in Virginia Beach.

The Rogers’ home in the Lago Mar neighborhood is often host to themed fundraisers and events welcoming friends, family and unpredictable gaggles of smelly teenage boys from near and far. Stacy enjoys supporting their boys, Matthew (17), Conor (16) and Logan (15) in their sports, music, and extracurricular adventures, playing with their two dogs and tackling home renovation projects.

Stacy Rogers is the founder and President of Trinitas Group, providing executive consulting and business solutions services across public, private and charitable sector executive clients. Stacy is honored to be sponsored by Ageless Skin Rejuvenation Med Spa for this year’s Dancing with the Hampton Roads Celebrity Stars. Visit agelessskinrejuvenation.com to learn more about how you can get “stage ready” for life’s day-to-day performances.

PARTNER: Jason Rushing

SPONSORED BY:

Kevin Taylor

Kevin Taylor

Kevin Taylor is a highly accomplished and skilled real estate professional with a rich background of experience. With over 10 years of experience in the industry, Kevin has established himself as one of the most reliable and trustworthy real estate agents in the business.

Kevin’s journey into the real estate industry began in 2012, after he honorably served in the military for 9 1/2 years, including serving on the USS Truman and completing deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan with various branches of the military. After his military service came to an end, Kevin joined the real estate firm Creed Realty and quickly made a name for himself in the industry.

Currently serving at Iron Valley Real Estate, Hampton Roads, Kevin’s expertise and knowledge of the local market has helped many clients achieve their real estate goals. With an unwavering commitment to providing exceptional customer service, Kevin has built a reputation as an agent who always puts his clients first.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Kevin is deeply committed to giving back to the community through charitable work and philanthropy. He owns multiple companies and is always looking for ways to help others.

Overall, Kevin Taylor is a dedicated professional who brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the real estate industry. His exceptional track record and commitment to excellence make him an invaluable asset to any client seeking to buy or sell a property in Hampton Roads.


PARTNER: Simona Caporale
Jaketa Clark Thompson

Jaketa Clark Thompson

Jaketa Clark Thompson is an accomplished entrepreneur and marketing expert, and the proud owner of Omnia Unlimited LLC, a leading marketing agency that has won numerous awards for its exceptional work. With years of experience in the marketing industry, Jaketa has honed her skills in developing innovative strategies and executing successful campaigns that have driven growth for her clients.

In addition to her impressive professional achievements, Jaketa is a devoted wife and mother of four children. She understands the importance of balancing her career and family responsibilities, and is committed to providing the best possible life for her loved ones.

Jaketa is also deeply committed to giving back to her community, and serves on several nonprofit and community boards. Her passion for making a positive impact is evident in the various charitable initiatives and community programs she supports.

A special thank you to Harvest VB, Zero’s Oceanfront, and PRR Group for partnering with Jaketa to take part in this wonderful event.

PARTNER: Blakely Perkins

SPONSORED BY:

Maria M. Weissenseel

Maria M. Weissenseel

Maria is the president of Sister Cities Association of Virginia Beach. A partner in a family business, and owner of Bubbles and Bows meetings, travel and events. Maria is very active in the community of Viginia Beach. Enjoys private time with her husband and family. And thrilled to be a part of Hampton Roads dancing with the Celebrity Stars. My dance this year is influnenced by my Aegean background and Cultural Studies at The University of Pittsburgh. Dedicated to Freda Manolakas

PARTNER: Riccardo Pacini

SPONSORED BY:

   

   
Michelle Westberry

Michelle Westberry

Born and raised a Florida native, Michelle has experienced marketing from several different aspects, from Florida to Wyoming, Colorado to California and now here in Virginia Beach. She has been in marketing since 1999 and loves helping others succeed in their adventures. In her spare time, you can find her at local nonprofit benefits, local hotspots and /or volunteering at local organizations that give back to our communities. Michelle is the publisher of the Virginia Connector Magazine, which allows her to be a part of everything local and help give exposure to the locals’ success stories. She has made it her mission to build stronger communities, one neighborhood at a time. Her furry babies are three Shih-Tzus named Macie, Tucker and Cersei, who are the loves of her life.  

Michelle has zero experience in professional dancing but loves music and cries when watching others on these types of reality shows because she knows what it is like to work hard, succeed and often fail. This is a challenge she took on to better herself as well as helping local charities! Her hopes are to, at minimum, be able to dance on the floor of a ballroom one day with a special other.

PARTNER: Simone Spadoni
Gregory S. Zimpel

Gregory S. Zimpel

Greg Zimpel, along with his wife of 40 years, Kelly, is the founder and owner of Z Wine Guy, a small boutique wine distributorship out of Portsmouth. He has been a resident of Hampton Roads for 37 years where they have raised their 2 children and have built a wonderful life in Chesapeake with their beloved dog Gus. Greg came from a long background in construction and development in Virginia and beyond before starting Z Wine Guy and has revived his investment management business in recent years. Greg is an avid adventure seeker and a dedicated gardener, loves feeding the birds in his backyard, NASCAR and traveling. Greg is also a grandfather who is wrapped around the fingers of his 6 and 2-year-old grandchildren.

PARTNER: Simona Caporale
SIMONA CAPORALE

SIMONA CAPORALE

Simona Caporale – Has been dancing since the age of 5 starting with Ballet and then began training in  Latin competitive dancing 12 years ago.

With too many awards to mention over the past 25 years  – their most recent and impressive awards and rankings are as follows:

Simona Caporale and her husband Simone Spadoni rank 4th in the world in Italy.

First place finishes:
WDSF Senior Open Latin
Caserta 2017
Bassano Del Grappa 2017
Rimini Open 2017
Italian Championship of the world first place 4 years running -2013 – 2016
WDC Senior Open Latin
Disney in Paris December 2017
Italian Absolut 2017
Switzerland April 2018
Blackpool –May 2017 placed 6th in the world
Blackpool – May 2018 placed 4th in the world

NDCA in the United States Simone and Simona in 2018 they placed in Senior International Open as follows:
Capital Dancesport August 2017
Charlotte Star Ball August 2018
International Championship October 2018
Championship of the World in Miami finished 8th in the world
Finalist in many professional competitions.

Currently teaching at S&S DANCE in Portsmouth, she is excited to share her knowledge with her students and the studio.

She is the co-organizer of the FANTASYBALL Competition in Norflok at the Sheraton Hotel waterfront.

PARTNER: Kevin Taylor & Gregory S. Zimpel
WENDY DENYSENKO

WENDY DENYSENKO

Originating from Maine, Wendy is a dedicated and humble dancer whose love for the arts has paved the way for numerous achievements. She has delved into various dance genres, such as ballet, tap, and jazz, eagerly embracing each style’s unique teachings. Her versatility extended beyond dance, with excellence in singing and acting, which has earned her recognition and accolades in musical theater productions and prestigious pageants.

After pursuing her dream at Centenary College, Wendy’s talent and artistry shone through in unforgettable productions and collaborations with renowned choreographers. Her commitment to excellence and relentless pursuit of her craft led her to join the esteemed Arthur Murray Dance Studio, where she embarked on a remarkable journey as a professional dancer and instructor.

Alongside her husband, Taras, Wendy has been blessed to secure numerous prestigious titles and championships. They have been crowned Southern Ontario Rhythm Champions, World Salsa Finalists, Arthur Murray Rising Star Rhythm Champions, Open Rhythm Champions, and World Finalists. Their performances exude a seamless connection and undeniable chemistry on the dance floor, leaving a lasting impression on audiences worldwide.

Wendy’s impressive achievements and unwavering passion for dance have established her as a respected figure in the dance community. Together with her husband Taras, they serve as franchisees of the Virginia Beach studio, working harmoniously to inspire and guide aspiring dancers. Wendy is grateful for the opportunities she has had and attributes her success to the unwavering support and love of those around her.

PARTNER: Antwain Britt
Andrea Franco

Andrea Franco

Andrea Franco was born and raised in San Salvador, El Salvador. Since she was little, she has always loved to dance. At the age of 10, she began with gymnastics then in high school she was part of her volleyball team and dance team. It was then when she decided that dancing was her passion. She was apart of her high school dance team until she graduated. She rehearsed every day after school until late hours preparing for events and competitions. She danced to all types of music, but mainly hip hop and Latin dances like salsa and bachata.

After graduating in 2015, she joined a dance team called ‘Let’s Move Dance Studio’ with her choreographer. Andrea was soon offered a part time position as a hip hop and street jazz teacher. Along side dancing, she also sang in three operas for El Salvador OPES and Opera of El Salvador.

In 2016 she moved to the U.S. with her family. She studied English for two years and started college right away. Moving didn’t deter Andrea from her passion. She knew that she wanted to continue her dance journey and make it a career.

In 2019, Andrea joined the Arthur Murray Dance Studio Virginia Beach team. Andrea is also in her 2nd year of college majoring in Graphic Design and Advertising, but that is not going to stop her advancing her beautiful dance career.

PARTNER: Hunter Hartnett
Jack Gabriel

Jack Gabriel

Jack, a native of High Springs, Florida, defied the norm among his peers by harboring a passion for sports rather than dancing. Throughout his formative years, he enthusiastically engaged in a diverse range of solo and team sports. Despite his aspirations of pursuing a sporting career in college after graduating from high school, that dream remained unfulfilled.

In 2018, seeking newfound independence and a chance to experience different parts of the country, Jack made the decision to join the Navy at the age of 19. Assigned to the USS San Antonio, LPD 17, he swiftly established himself as a pivotal figure in ship communications, assuming the responsibilities of a Radio IT. Furthermore, Jack was one of only two Search and Rescue swimmers on board. In 2020, he embarked on a series of underways to support the ship’s preparation for its scheduled deployment in 2021, a deployment in which he actively participated.

Following the deployment, as Jack’s initial Naval contract drew to a close, he found himself faced with a significant decision—whether to part ways with the Navy or re-enlist. Simultaneously, in early 2022, he embarked on a dancing journey as a student at the Arthur Murray Virginia Beach Studio. Today, not only does he instruct aspiring dancers at the studio but he also competes with zeal. Embracing dance wholeheartedly since its inception in his life, Jack seizes every opportunity to refine his artistry and immerse himself in the dance community.

PARTNER: Ashley Allman & Ashley Forbes
Katja Marc-Harris

Katja Marc-Harris

Katja has been dancing for over 30 years and has been teaching in the US since 2009. She is a two-time Slovenian National Champion; Ten dance and Standard. She was a finalist at the prestigious Blackpool Dance Festival, the International Open Championships in England, the Austrian and Italian Open, and has represented Slovenia at World Championships and Blackpool Team Match. She has participated at Dancing with the Hampton Roads Celebrity Stars before and has won two mirror balls. Her students have won top awards at the Pro/Am competitions, where she has also won Top Female Teacher awards. She is a senior instructor and coach at DancesportVA, where she teaches dancers of all levels in International and American style..

PARTNERS: Jamie Rogers
Cameron Johnson

Cameron Johnson

Hailing from South Africa, Cameron Johnson started his dancing career at the tender age of 5, under the tutelage of his parents. In 2000, Cameron was invited to immigrate and teach in the USA, where he has made his home as a US Citizen. Cameron is proficient in International Standard, International Latin, American-Style Smooth & American-Style Rhythm. He specializes in Pro/Am Competition, Social Dancing & Wedding/Show Dance Choreography.

• 44 years of competitive dancing and training. Social and competitive teaching. (1995 to present) * Studio management. (1995 to present)
• Training dance teachers in International and American Style. (1997 to present)
• Associate in International Standard with a Highly Commended pass rate through the South African National Council of Ballroom Dancing. (1996)
• Associate in International Latin with a Highly Commended pass rate through the United Kingdom Alliance in London, England. (1999)
• Licentiate in International Standard with a Highly Commended pass rate through the United Kingdom Alliance in London, England. (1999)
• South African National Junior Champion (1985-1989)
• South African National Adult Champion (1991-1994)
• South African National Professional Champion (1996 -1999)
• Represented South Africa in the World Adult Championship in Bremen, Germany in1991 *Represented South Africa in the World Adult Championship in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1994
• Represented South Africa in the World Professional Championship in Budapest, Hungary in 1995
• Represented South Africa in the Open French Masters Professional Championship on the Isle of Reunion in 1996 and was placed 3rd
• Represented South Africa in the Open Fleetwood Professional Championship Blackpool, England in 1996 and was placed 6th *
• Represented the USA at World Pro/Am Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2008 and was placed 1st
• Social and competitive dance teacher and co-manager at the Robern Dance Studio in Cape Town, South Africa. (1995-2000) *Social and competitive (Pro/am) dance teacher at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Mamaroneck, New York. (2000-2004)
• Independent social dance teacher at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater School in Manhattan, New York. (2005)
• Independent social and competitive (Pro/am) dance teacher at the Sandra Cameron Dance Center in Manhattan, New York (2004-2011)
• Independent social and competitive (Pro/am) dance teacher at Dance Studio 101 in Manhattan, New York (2006 – 2010)
• Independent social and competitive (Pro/am) dance teacher at the Maria Fiora Dance Studio in Stamford, Connecticut (2009-2017)
• Social and competitive (Pro/am) dance teacher/Studio Manager at Just Dance Dance Centre in Manhattan, New York (2011-2019)
• Social dance teacher (Dance Weekends & Cruises) at Stardust Dance Productions in New York (2013 till present)
• Social and competitive (Pro/am) dance teacher at Dancesport VA, Virginia (2019 to present)

PARTNER: Taylor Davis & Meredith Lippert
Rebekah Klyukin

Rebekah Klyukin

Rebekah Klyukin has been living in the Hampton Roads area since she was one-year-old. She discovered her passion for dancing in college. She is a biologist by education and prior to pursuing professional ballroom dancing, she had planned to attend medical school. Rebekah has participated at Dancing with the Hampton Roads Celebrity Stars before and multiple students have won the coveted mirror ball trophies. Together, with her husband Zhenya, they own A Time to Dance dance company, where they teach beginners through advanced competitive dancers. They offer private lessons, group classes, instruction and entertainment for private events, and social dance parties. Rebekah and Zhenya have two beautiful children, Izabella and Dmitry. She can be reached by calling 757.620.3254 or emailing learntoballroom@gmail.com. Rebekah would like to thank her amazing partners, Wes Coons, Jay Jay Mayo, and Caleb Myles for all their hard work and dedication for the dance competition!

PARTNER: Wes Coons & Jay Jay Mayo & Caleb Myles
ZHENYA KLYUKIN

ZHENYA KLYUKIN

Zhenya moved to Hampton Roads in 2005 from Yekaterinburg, Russia. He began dancing when he was just 6 years old and holds many championship titles from his competitive career in International Ballroom and Latin dancing in Russia. He currently is competing professionally in the country-western circuit and he and his partner were the 2021 Division 1 Couples World Champions. Additionally, he competes with many students throughout the year at various competitions in the United States, in all styles of dance. He enjoys sharing his love of dance with people, whether they be beginner social dancers…or competitive advanced dancers. He and his wife, Rebekah, own A Time to Dance dance company in Virginia Beach. They offer private lessons, group classes, instruction and entertainment for private events, and social dance parties. Additionally, they have two children, Izabella and Dmitry. He can be reached by calling 757.620.3254 or via email at learntoballroom@gmail.com.

Zhenya would like to thank his two fabulous partners, Brittany Hendrickson and Joy Naik, for the privilege of dancing with them in this competition and for all their hard work!

PARTNER: Brittany Hendrickson & Joy Naik
JAY LEARY

JAY LEARY

Jay is 30 years old and from Phoenix, AZ. He has been dancing for 20 years starting in ballet with the Arizona Youth Ballet where he danced for two years, learning ballet and jazz as well as other genres, including modern, contemporary, and hip hop. Jay attended Grand Canyon University majoring in Dance Education, where he choreographed and performed. He began dancing ballroom in 2012 with Fred Astaire Dance Studio, where he started dancing and competing professionally.  Now a Navy veteran, he joined the Navy and moved to Virginia in 2014 where he worked at various studios before starting his own studio, Cutting Edge Ballroom in 2019.

PARTNER: Stacey Higgins

RICCARDO PACINI

RICCARDO PACINI

Riccardo and Sonia both started dancing when they were 6 years old. They have both trained with some of the most prestigious coaches in the world. In 2002, they started dancing together at the Junior Open Gold level in Italy.

After only 1 year of partnership, they achieved 1st place at the Italian Open Championship in Latin and the Combined 10 Dance competition. Riccardo and Sonia also placed second at the Standard Open Championship. Two years later, in 2004 they began to compete internationally. By 2006, they were ranked 2nd in the world. That same year they placed second in the under 21 category at the World 10 Dance Championship in Platja d’Aro Spain. Finally, after a successful career at the Junior and Under 21 levels, Riccardo and Sonia began competing in the more challenging Adult category. After entering the more challenging Adult category, Riccardo and Sonia placed second at the Italian Open Champion in both Standard and Latin in 2008. They also placed second in the Italian Open Championship both Standard and Latin as well as reaching the finals in many prestigious competitions around Europe.

2010 was an exciting year for Riccardo and Sonia. They placed second in the Italian Open Combined 10 Dance Championship and opened their own studio in Rome, Italy and that same year. Three years later, in 2013 Riccardo and Sonia placed in the top three in some of the most prestigious competitions around the world. Such as the UK Open, the German Open Championship, and the Disney Cup in Paris, France. They also placed 2nd at the World Latin Show Dance Championship. The next year, 2014, they won the Italian Open Championship in Latin dance style. That same year they decided to move to USA. Since moving to the United States, they have achieved great results competing in the Professional Division. They have placed first in many competitions, such as Virginia State, New Jersey State, Maryland Dance Championship, Commonwealth Classic, Heritage Classic, Michigan Dance Challenge, Cincinnati Dance Challenge, and Philadelphia Dance Sport. Riccardo and Sonia are the Owners/Teachers of World Class Ballroom.

PARTNERS: Maria M. Weissenseel
Blake Perkins

Blake Perkins

Blake, born and raised in the small town of Oelwein, Iowa, has been immersed in the world of arts since a young age. Throughout his school years, he actively participated in various artistic endeavors such as choir, musical theater, and cheerleading. At the age of ten, Blake commenced his dancing journey at Steil’s Studio of Dance, now known as Northeast Iowa Dance Academy, where he specialized in Hip Hop, Modern, Jazz, and Musical Theater styles.

Upon graduating in 2020, Blake initially enrolled at Kirkwood Community College but decided to follow his passion for the arts and withdrew from the program. In 2023, while working a nine-to-five job in Dubuque, Iowa, fate led him to discover an advertisement seeking dance instructors at Arthur Murray Virginia Beach. Following a successful zoom interview and a swift flight to the East Coast, he embraced the opportunity to delve into ballroom and Latin dancing, becoming an integral part of the AMVB Team. Blake feels grateful for the privilege of dancing every day and cherishes the chance to share his passion for dance with his students.

PARTNER: Jaketa Clark Thompson & Ashley Armbruster
MARIE RANTS

MARIE RANTS

Marie Rants, Owner/Artist Director of Rants Ballroom Company and adjunct faculty at Old Dominion University, has been dancing professionally since 1996. She holds a BA in Dance from ODU, where she was the recipient of the Eva May Morris Scholarship, and studied MA in Communication at Johns Hopkins University.

Ms. Rants is committed to teaching dance as art even at the social-dance level. Marie is passionate about sharing her love of dance with her students, from the young to the young at heart.

PARTNER: David Ambrose & James Paul Cadotte
Jason Rushing

Jason Rushing

Starting dance at the age of 10 at Virginia Beach Ballet Academy, Jason decided to transform his passion into a profession at 18 years old by joining the Atlanta Ballet in 2003. He began his professional ballroom dance career at Fred Astaire Virginia Beach before joining the Fred Astaire Fairfax studio in 2012. I have been a professional instructor for Fred Astaire for over fifteen years and have been thoroughly examined by the Fred Astaire Dance board to teach multiple styles of dance. He is currently a member of the NDCA and actively competes both Pro-Am and professionally.

Currently teaching out of DancesportVA Jason is available for private and group class instruction at DancepsortVA located at 5721 Arrowhead Dr. in Virginia Beach. Call he studio at 757-473-3267 to schedule a lesson today!

PARTNER: Stacy Rogers
SIMONE SPADONI

SIMONE SPADONI

Simone Spadoni has been training in Latin dancing for 25 years and teaching for 18 years.

With too many awards to mention over the past 25 years for he and his wife/dance partner, Simona Caporale, here are their most recent and impressive awards and rankings:

First place is all the following:
WDSF Senior Open Latin
Caserta 2017
Bassano Del Grappa 2017
Rimini Open 2017
Italian Championship of the world first place 4 years running -2013 – 2016
WDC Senior Open Latin
Disney in Paris December 2017
Italian Absolut 2017
Switzerland April 2018
Blackpool –May 2017 placed 6th in the world
Blackpool – May 2018 placed 4th in the world

NDCA in the United States Simone and Simona in 2018 they placed in Senior International Open as follows:
Capital Dancesport August 2017
Charlotte Star Ball August 2018
International Championship October 2018
Championship of the World in Miami finished 8th in the world.
Finalists in many professional competition.

Simone currently teaches at Studio 2C in Suffolk, where he is excited to share his knowledge with his students and the studio.  

PARTNER: Michelle Westberry
Diane Taylor

Diane Taylor

Diane Taylor is a professional Ballroom Dancer who for over 25 years has taught and exhibited throughout the nation. As an NDCA Certified instructor and Adjudicator, this Virginia Beach native has also successfully competed on the national pro~ dance circuit, consistently placing in the Pro Open American Smooth Division. She creates special wedding first dances, as well as unique themed shows for Non profit balls and corporate events. Diane provides instruction in all styles of Ballroom, Latin, East and West Coast Swing, Hustle and Cuban Salsa.

Joining a solid technical foundation from classical Ballet, Diane believes anyone can learn to dance, regardless of experience, age or ability or disability, and is proud to have worked with deaf, Alzheimer’s and cancer patients, as well as those with complex mental and physical challenges. Diane’s unique approach to helping one understand their body and connect with their sense of timing and rhythm has brought her a faithful following of happily satisfied students of all ages. Contact Diane at dkodance@yahoo.com, or 757-348-9907

PARTNER: Ron Kilmer

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About HR Celebrity Stars

Dancing with the Hampton Roads Celebrity Stars,” the eighth annual fundraising event to benefit local arts groups, will be held August 24th at 7:00 pm at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts in Virginia Beach. Based on the hit TV show, twenty-four local contestants, made up of business leaders, media celebrities, civic and political leaders and other various professionals with limited or no dance experience will be paired with a professional dancer/choreographer to perform before a live audience and professional judges.

Barbara Lewis

Local entrepreneur and owner of Town Center City Club, Barbara Lewis, is the producer of this event.

Joe Flanagan

A former longtime reporter from WVEC, will be the MC for this year’s event

AUGUST 24TH 2024 @ THE SANDLER CENTER

All proceeds from the event will benefit local arts groups, including Virginia Musical TheaterThe Governors School for the Arts and others.
Limited tickets for the event are currently on sale for a $50.00 tax-deductable donation. Buy tickets online, from contestants, or at local ballroom Studios.
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