GRASS VALLEY, Calif. August 17, 2017 – Dancing With Our Stars, The Center for the Arts signature fundraiser, returns to Veterans Memorial Auditorium in downtown Grass Valley.

Nevada County celebrities will kick up their heels to raise money for The Center for the Arts in the Fifth annual Dancing with our Stars competition.  Whatever their favorite dance style may be – ten regional celebrity dancers have accepted the challenge to train with a professional dancer and compete in front of a live audience and a distinguished panel of judges for the Dancing with our Stars champion title.

Veterans Memorial Auditorium will be transformed into a star-studded entertainment palace with live video feeds to the big screen, on-floor table seating for those wanting an up close view of the action, a red carpet for making a grand entrance, cocktail service and an open to the public after-party for mixing and mingling with dancers, movers, shakers and paparazzi.  The evening kicks off with cocktails and photo opportunities as celebrities of all kinds walk the red carpet starting at 6:00 pm.

Dancing with our Stars is the largest annual fundraiser for The Center and each star contestant has committed not only to dance their heart out but to also raise money for The Center.  The money raised will help fund initiatives such as The Center’s Youth Arts education programs which includes free Family Fun Day and provides valuable scholarships to for Summer Camps and access to after school arts programming. Each team includes local stars paired with pros who will compete Saturday, August 26 at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Grass Valley.

Judging the dancers will be AirAligned Aerial Dance director Tresa Honaker, Holt Ballet Conservatory director Yelena Holt and past DWOS winner and four-time world champion juggler Barry Friedman.  Event host and masters of ceremonies are Center executive director Julie Baker and former Nevada County Superintendent of Educational Services Stan Miller.

This year’s competing couples are:

Alison Kenyon Season 3 finalist on Skin Wars, owner of Body Masterpiece body painting, and local family favorite “Penney the Clown” with Dance Pro Brian Arsenault

Casey Burke, Actor and comedian with “Tomorrow the World” with dance pro Dori Delgado

Dan Maliszewski, Owner, Maliszewski Construction with dance pro Melissa Stewart

Haven Caravelli, owner Center for Movement with dance pro Marissa Hernandez

Mike Melas, owner Melas Energy Engineering with dance pro Natina Pistone

Richard Baker, Owner of Siteline Architecture with dance pro Maria DiCintio

Robert Rossman, Audio-book Narrator and Sierra Stages Artistic Director with dance pro Kate Haight

Sonika Tinker, relationship specialist, author and owner of Love Works for You with dance pro Martin Bullo

Steve Conrad, Personal Trainer, Fit Culture Studio with dance pro Denay Woodman

Yolanda Ruiz Williges, “Healthy Kids” Program Educator-Director at Deer Creek Elementary School in Nevada City with dance pro Chris Marcum

Mirrorball trophies will be awarded to the couple that raises the most funds before the event, the couple with the most “votes’ the night of the show and the grand prize will go to couple with the highest combined judges scores. Audience members can help their favorite team take home a mirror ball trophy by sponsoring them and buying tickets in advance and on the night of the show.


Robert Rossman

Robert Rossman is the Artistic Director for Sierra Stages Community Theatre in Nevada County and has directed theatre productions including Avenue Q, Spelling Bee, End Days, Little Shop of Horrors, and the recent hit musical Chicago. Acting credits include The Producers, Lend Me a Tenor, Cripple of Inishmann, and Death of a Salesman. A little known fact about Bob; he was a street mime in San Francisco in the early 80s.

Robert moved to Grass Valley from the Bay Area in 2007. Most of Robert’s career was in computer game animation and art direction. Recently he switched to audio-book narration and voice acting. You can listen to his audio-book work at

Robert is dancing with pro dancer Kate Haight.


Michael Melas

Michael Melas is the owner of Melas Energy Engineering and has been married for 30 years to his college sweetheart, Emily Malsam. They have two grown daughters, Sophia and Eva, who have inherited Michael’s love of travel.

Born to a German mother and Greek father, Michael spent his early childhood in the South of France and his later childhood in the mountains of Southern California. He is avid cyclist, and he enjoys skiing, dancing, walking his dogs and having a coffee with family and friends.

He is grateful for the diverse and vibrant music scene in Nevada County. And while he feels out of his comfort zone performing in Dancing with our Stars, he welcomes the challenge and is happy to contribute to The Center for the Arts.

Michael is dancing with pro dancer Natina Pistone.


Dan Maliszewski

Dan Maliszewski is a general contractor and owner of Maliszewski Construction. He has been working and residing in the area with his family since 2006. Dan and his wife, Stacy, a Dancing with our Stars alumni, previously competing as a professional dancer, have 3 children.

Dan is an avid hunter and fisherman. He also loves to snowboard, boat, and watch movies with his family. Dan has enjoyed experiencing a taste of his wife’s dancing profession.

Dan is dancing with pro dancer Melissa Stewart


Steve Conrad

Steve Conrad grew up in Grass Valley and graduated from Nevada Union in 2004. After high school, he ran track at UC Berkeley, then studied Kinesiology in graduate school in Chico before moving back to Grass Valley in 2012 to help care for his grandmother and live closer to his family.

Four years ago, he started working at Fit Culture Studio in Nevada City as a trainer and business partner. He also coaches track at Nevada Union High School and with the Sierra Gold track team, a “Masters” team.

Steve has absolutely no dance background.  He tries to make a habit of challenging himself which led him to train for American Ninja Warrior as well as participating in Dancing with Our Stars this year.

Hobbies include track training and Ninja Warrior training, as well as listening to audio books, golfing, and disc golfing.

Steve is dancing with pro partner Denay Woodman.


Sonika Tinker

Sonika Tinker, MSW, is a Business Owner, Relationship Specialist, Certified Mediator, Certified Enneagram Teacher, Certified NLP Professional, Co-Author of Seize Your Opportunities and The Good Divorce, and is the Founder of LoveWorks (, a relationship training company.

Sonika produces and leads live transformational trainings and online courses with her husband, Christian Pedersen, and has a private practice in Meadow Vista, California.

Sonika is dancing with pro Martin Bello


Yolanda Williges

Yolanda Williges is a mother of 4 and an exercise enthusiast. She has worked at the Nevada City School District and is currently the “Healthy Kids” Program Educator at Deer Creek Elementary and the Director for the After School Enrichment Program for the District. She has attended every “Dancing with our Stars” performance which inspired her to get involved this year.

Her partner, Chris Marcum is a Nevada Union High School alumni and danced in their program for 3 years. His passion for dance started when he was 12 and saw a Michael Jackson video and told his mother that someday he was going to dance just like him. Chris has auditioned for America’s Got Talent twice, and is registered to audition for the upcoming JLo’s “World of Dance.” He currently teaches Hip Hop clinics at Anderson’s Step it Up Dance Studio in Nevada City.


Richard Baker

Richard Baker is a fifth generation Nevada City native and owner of Siteline Architecture. He is a past president of the board of directors of The Center for the Arts and a past trustee for the Nevada Joint Union High School District.

Richard’s passion for this community, his love for the Center for the Arts and his desire to please his wife Julie Baker have drawn him to dance this year. Richard’s background in dance comes from his time working with Onsite Dance Company in the Bay Area in the early to mid 90’s both designing set elements and dancing.

Richard is dancing with pro dancer Maria Dicintio. Having spent time on field trips with Maria, his sons 4th grade teacher, at the School of the Arts, Richard knew that they would be a perfect fit as partners for the competition.


Haven Caravelli

Haven Caravelli, born and raised in Nevada County, has been a dancer since the age of two. She has danced with several dance studios and competed in numerous dance competitions around Northern California. Professionally, Haven has taken master classes with Los Angeles based Tremaine Dance Company and nationally recognized Dupree Dance Academy. She has taught multiple forms of dance at Sierra Dance Institute for over 12 years.

To better incorporate her love of dance and respect for the human body she was certified with Integrated Teacher Training Pilates in 2005. Haven is now a Master Level trainer with Integrated Teacher Training and is excited to be the first off-site certification studio and educator.

Haven is also certified in Bodykey and Master Stretch from Italy with Kelly and Victor Uygan, and Bodycode with founder Pino Carbone. Haven’s extensive training and years of teaching have made her a true healer. Haven is the owner of center of movement Pilates and functional fitness studio located in historical downtown Grass Valley.

Haven is dancing with pro dancer Marissa Hernandez


Chad Conner Crow

Chad Conner Crow is musically adept and adores introducing different faces to different styles of music. Chad is the front man for the 20s Gatsby group, The Earles of Newtown. He also fronts an onstage circus called Organism Orchestra, and is Grit, in the blues trio Grease, Grit and Grime. He plays drums for a band called HomeFree (formed at a homeless shelter) and has fun as the horned antihero of heavy metal band EarWrecked. He also organizes events here in Nevada County and the Bay area, under the umbrella of As the Crow Flies Productions.

Chad is dancing with pro Dori Delgado


Alison Kenyon

Alison Kenyon is a mom, an artist, and goofball.  She started performing in 1993 as a burlesque dancer, fire swallower, and clown, and later added contortionist, makeup artist and pro-wrestler to her resume.  Makeup turned into face painting and then body painting – ultimately landing her in second place on GSN’s top rated reality competition show Skin Wars.  She lovingly refers to her unique fashion sense as “Granny Chic”.

Alison is dancing with pro Brian Arsenault


This year’s judges include:

Barry Friedman

Barry Friedman is a four-time world champion juggler, six-time TED presenter, and one-time father. He uses his entrepreneurial skills and experience to design custom presentations, create online training programs, and coach/consult for Fortune 500 companies around the world.  He has co-led Rites of Passage adventure weekends for teens since 2008; authored a bestselling book on redefining our relationship to sugar; provides private coaching and consulting; and, for a lot of his life, he traveled the world as one-half of the four-time World Juggling Championship team, The Raspyni Brothers.

Last year is was an MC for Dancing with our Stars and for this year’s event he will be joining us as a judge.


Yelena Holt

Yelena Holt has been an educator and dance instructor in Nevada County since 1980. With a background in dramatic and musical theater, classical ballet from Crockett School of Dance and Sacramento Ballet, and a State of California Credential and Masters in English Literature from the University of California, Berkeley, Mrs. Holt has nurtured Nevada County’s young dancers in achieving exemplary skills, not only in dance but in all walks of their lives.

With 35 years of experience in developing dancers, Yelena Holt, through Holt Ballet Conservatory, aims to guide Nevada County aspiring dance artists in the training and opportunities they need in order to become beautiful dancers and empowered people. Holt Ballet Conservatory not only trains young people in the magical skills of dance technique, but also creates opportunities for the trained dancers to showcase their talents.

Yelena Holt has placed more than 60 Nevada Country dancers in some of the nations more competitive and highly acclaimed dance conservators, universities and colleges, and pre-professional programs.

This will be her first time judging Dancing with Our Stars.


Tresa Honaker

Tresa Honaker attended The St. Louis Visual and Performing Arts Academy on a dance scholarship, where she studied classical ballet, jazz, and modern dance. She worked exclusively with young children at the Lagervale Dance Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her training includes work with The Edge in LA, Step I in Sacramento, and with San Francisco Dance Center. Aerial studies include classes with Ingrid Hoffman, Hollywood Aerial Arts, Aloft Chicago, The San Francisco Circus School, Cirque School LA and Trapeze Arts in Oakland. Tresa is one of the founding members of The Movement Alliance Dance Company. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of AirAligned aerial dance group and AirAligned Academy.

Tresa continues to choreograph and perform throughout the United States for Corporate, Private and Commercial events. AirAligned is part of Jean Anne Ryan Productions, which books the finest entertainment for cruise lines. Locally, Tresa has taught for Sierra Dance Institute, was the team Dance Coach for Gold Country Gymnastics and heads up AirAligned’s Academy, teaching aerial arts to Nevada, Placer and Sacramento Counties.

She is also one of a handful of artists selected to live at Warehouse Artist Lofts in Sacramento and recently spoke at TEDx finishing her talk performing on aerial net high above The Community Center Theater. Tresa received a standing ovation that day and is now receiving many requests to present aerial work and classes across the nation.

WHO: The Center for the Arts presents

WHAT: 5th Annual Dancing With Our Stars

WHEN: Saturday, August 26, 8:00PM
Pre-show Red Carpet – 6:00pm
After-party at The Center’s Off Center Stage – 11:30pm to 1:00am

WHERE: Veterans Memorial Auditorium
255 South Auburn Street, Grass Valley, CA  95945
After-party at the Off Center Stage, behind The Center for the Arts, 315 Richardson Street, Grass Valley

Reserved Seating:
$152 Premium Table Seating includes parking, drink ticket and desserts
$127 Side Table Seating includes parking drink ticket and desserts
$52/62 member/non-member Tier 1 Reserved Bleacher Seating General Admission:
$27/37 member/non-member Tier 2 General Admission Bleacher Seating