Hermiston Stars to Compete on Dance Floor


Dancing with StarsBack by popular demand, Dancing with the Hermiston Stars returns to the Hermiston High School Auditorium in January.

From the sultry dances of the tango, cha cha, and rhumba to the smooth moves of the Viennese waltz and the fast action of the country two-step and disco, the slick (and not-so-slick) moves of some of Hermiston’s well-known faces and names will take to the stage on Jan. 11 to raise money for charity.

The public is invited to attend the show and see members of the community rise to the challenge of mastering some fancy footwork while raising money for their selected local charities.

“There is no greater show,” said Mary Corp, president of the Desert Arts Council. “It’s an evening where everyone can participate in the action”. Judges will vote, the audience will vote (a $1 donation to their charity = 1 vote), and the winners will be announced at the end of the evening.

Prior to the live event, professional dancers of the Utah Ballroom Dance Troupe, will work with our local celebrities for a week to get them up to snuff. Secure in this partnership the semi-professional pair will share their efforts with back to back performances during first half of the evening. The local celebrities will then continue to work the crowd during intermission, where they will schmooze with the audience in hopes of securing their “votes.” Following intermission, the Utah Ballroom Dance Troupe will retake the stage and showcase the complexity and showmanship of various dance styles that our local celebrities could only attempt in their dreams.

Dancing with Stars 2
TJ Hansell was last year’s winner of the Dancing with the Hermiston Stars. His wife, Sally Anderson Hansell, is competing this year.
The doors open at 7 p.m., and the show starts promptly at 7:30 p.m. General Admission tickets are $30 and $15 for those under 18. Tickets are available online at the Desert Arts Council website at www.desertartscouncil.com or contact the Hermiston Chamber at 541-567-6151 and also at the Hermiston Parks & Rec Department. This Desert Art Council performance is available due to the generous title sponsorship of Swain Motors.

Who are these brave Hermistonians who dare to take the stage in ruffles, sequins and glory? What motivated them to volunteer for this popular and live production? When asked, they all said the same thing that they were proud to represent the city of Hermiston, this great community and advocate for charities that are near and dear to their hearts.

A look at this year’s contestants:

Travis Eynon, administrative captain for the Hermiston Police Department: Eynon will be grooving beneath the disco ball as he dances for Martha’s House, a homeless family shelter in Hermiston. Eynon has selected Martha’s House as his charity because it is a place to help families that truly need some assistance in turning their lives around in a supportive environment. He appreciates how they work with the City of Hermiston to meet the needs of people in our area. When asked why he volunteer the Captain enthusiastically responded “I’m no John Travolta, but I got a fever, and I hope my funky disco brings it home to Martha’s.”

Steve Williams, of US Bank in Hermiston: Williams will attempt to rise and fall with the grace embodied by the Viennese Waltz with hopes of raising money for the Rotary Foundation to Eradicate Polio. The waltz is a highly technical and classic dance, but this did not send Williams running for the hills “It’s a preventable disease and if my doing the waltz can help end polio, I will gladly dance my heart out,” he said.

Michelle Jensen of the Hermiston School District: Jensen will spice up the dance floor with a rhythmic cha cha. The cha cha is a dance of passion, and Jensen is most passionate about family and the youth of Hermiston. She will be dancing for the Hermiston Education Foundation which provides grant money to enhance the learning experiences for Hermiston School District students. “Every child deserves the opportunity to obtain a high level of education, and that means providing teachers with the best resources and tools available,” says Jensen.

Kim Puzey, the Port of Umatilla General Manager: Puzey will attempt to seduce the audience with his captivating Argentine tango. One can only wait and see if Puzey’s skills in improvisation and communication will translate into the smooth and sultry footwork of the tango. The tango is the “dance of love” and Puzey hopes the audience loves his rendition of the tango and supports the Shelter Box, which provides families around the world who are victims of disaster with emergency shelter and lifesaving supplies.

Sally Anderson Hansell, local attorney at Anderson Hansell PC: Hansell will dance to the percussive rhythms of the rumba in efforts of garnering your support for the Sisters Influencing Survivorship in the fight against breast cancer. “This group quietly provides personalized emotional support, information and education, and comfort items, in true rumba fashion I am here to shake things up and get the word out” says Hansell. Hansell will be trying to match her husband’s success from a year ago when TJ Hansell took home the top prize.

Laurie Fialka, Eastern Oregon Higher Education Center: Fialka will put on her cowboy boots and boogie to the country two step in the name of Vange John Memorial Hospice. “I am a country girl at heart, so this was right up my alley,” says Fialka. “A few blisters are nothing if it means supporting end of life care to the people of Hermiston.”