Twelve Celebrity Dancers Announced for the Yearly Dancing Under the Stars Event

Plans have begun for the August 2nd Dancing Under the Stars event to be held at LaMalfa. This annual event marks its eleventh year of pairing local civic, political and corporate personalities with area dance professionals to compete in a dance contest. A May 7th kickoff revealed the 2019 dance team matching each celebrity dancer with their professional dancer. This year’s lineup will be competing for the coveted trophy and bragging rights. Celebrity dancers are as listed:

  • Shawn Barbo, Brunner Sanden Deitrick Funeral Home & Cremation Center
  • Zak Benmerzouga, The Lubrizol Corporation
  • Dina Campola, Community Volunteer
  • Ryan Gilkerson, WOVU 95.9FM
  • Deborah Hardy, Lakeland Community College
  • Michelle Johnson, Lighthouse Advisers
  • Jay McDonald, Leadership Lake County
  • Sanjay Parker, Knowtion
  • Roger Principe, Community Volunteer
  • Jenifer Ross, Aligned Chiropractic & Physical Rehabilitation
  • Ric Selby, Dworken & Bernstein Co., L.P.A.
  • Kristen Sironen, Jenniffer & Co.

“We are very pleased to have a strong cast of dancers who are committed to making the event
entertaining and also share a passion for the two organizations Dancing Under the Stars supports, Lifeline and the Family Planning Association of Northeast Ohio, a division of Signature Health,” states Volunteer Chair, Dione DeMitro. Not only will each dancer be learning new dance steps and routines over the next few months but they each will be responsible for individually raising funds to contribute to the event’s total proceeds. Since its inception, the event has raised nearly $425,000.

New this year is the opportunity for each dancer to offer an onsite auction item the night of the event. This will add some fun and anticipation while helping their fundraising efforts. Dancers are striving to beat the highest amount raised by one individual, which is over $14,000. Ryan Gilkerson of WOVU 95.9FM has the enthusiasm and drive to make this happen. Pleased to be participating, Gilkerson states, “I have been involved with Lifeline for a long time and I know how passionate the people who work for the organization are about their mission. I am inspired by their work and if dancing and fundraising is a way to help, then I’m lacing up the dancing shoes!” “This is truly one of those events everybody just has fun with. It’s amazing to see over a few short months the progress the dancers make with the help of their matched professional dancer,” states DeMitro. “This event would not be so successful if it weren’t for the time and dedication of our professional dancers. We are forever grateful for them and look forward to their showcasing their creative talents.” This year’s professional dancers are as listed:

  • Frank Anthony, Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Willoughby
  • Bobby Ford, Savelli Dance Studios
  • Hannah Elizabeth Green, Rabbit Run Theatre
  • Ethan Konig, Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Chagrin Falls
  • Aleksei & Elena Minaev, Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Willoughby
  • Maggie Runyon
  • Shari Smith, Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Chagrin Falls
  • Shannon Taylor, Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Chagrin Falls
  • John Thompson, Studio J

2019 Committee  Back L-R: Andao Silbaugh, Anna Wilson, Kristina Willey, Dione DeMitro, Jennifer Edgell Front L-R: Patty Perry, Carrie Dotson, Mary Wynne-Peaspanen Not pictured:  Jessie Baginski, Doris Behnke, Vanessa Iosue

Joining the dancers will be emcee, Maurice Coffee, Assistant Pastor at Union Community Church and Subrogation Specialist at Progressive Insurance and honorary chairs Miguel and Tanisha Solivan (2018 People’s Choice Award Winner). This year’s judges are Probate Judge Mark Bartolotta, Ryan Callender (past celebrity dancer), Antony DiBacco (Co-Judges Choice Winner) and Heather Felden (past professional dancer and 4-time Judge’s Choice Award Winner).

Tickets are now available at for the August 2 nd event (6:30 p.m. 11:00 p.m.) priced at $90 per person or corporate tables of 10 with preferred seating for $1,000. For additional information visit Dancing Under the Stars or call 440-728-6542.

About Lifeline

Lifeline, founded in 1973, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to lead the Lake County community in the fight against poverty by offering programs and opportunities to empower residents to achieve self-sufficiency.

Lifeline’s Board and staff believe firmly that self-sufficiency means something different to every consumer. To some it may mean securing affordable housing and keeping their utilities connected so that they have a safe home. To others it may mean having access to medical services so that they can properly maintain their health. And to others it might mean enrolling in school or job training programs so that they can pursue different career opportunities.

As a Community Action Agency, Lifeline is uniquely poised to rapidly respond to the critical needs of our local community and is proud to provide a safety net for those in need. Because poverty affects every household differently, a wide variety of programs are offered designed to combat the many effects of poverty. Currently programming is divided into four main areas: Healthcare Assistance, Housing & Energy Assistance, Consumer Education & Job Training, and Information & Referral Services.

About the Family Planning Association of Northeast Ohio

The Family Planning Association of Northeast Ohio, Inc. (FPANEO) was established in 1970 to provide the community with medical services, counseling, and education related to reproductive health. Clinic sites are located in Lake and Ashtabula counties with the mission of promoting informed decision-making and personal choice about parenthood and sexuality in a confidential and compassionate manner. Over 65,000 men and women have received services provided on a sliding fee scale based on family size and income. Everyone receives services regardless of income or inability to pay.

Although birth control services were among the first provided by the FPANEO, many others have been added over the years. Screenings for breast and cervical cancer, testing for and treatment of Sexually Transmitted Infections, pregnancy testing, counseling, gynecological care, prenatal care and men’s services are also offered. Educators provide programs and workshops to the local community in schools, youth and adult detention centers, and other social service organizations.

In 2018, FPANEO merged with Signature Health, a major provider of behavioral health services in Northeast Ohio. Signature Health’s new designation as a Federally Qualified Health Center added primary care to their menu of services, including voluntary family planning services. The organization is excited about the potential to provide more holistic care to all clients as a result of this merger.

Pictured In Cover Photo: 2019 Cast of Celebrity Dancers Back L-R: Kristen Sironen, Ryan Gilkerson, Jeff Tomaszewski, Ric Selby, Roger Principe, Michele Johnson, Jay McDonald, Deborah Hardy Front L-R: Jennifer Ross, Sanjay Parker, Shawn Barbo Not pictured: Zak Benmerzouga, Dina Campola