Dancing With The Turlock Stars Competitors Announced

Courtesy of Alexandria Assali

The participants for the inaugural “Dancing With The Turlock Stars” to benefit the Salvation Army have been announced for the Sept. 20th dinner show at 7 p.m. at the Assyrian-American Civic Hall.

The stars (listed below) and their professional dance partners were unveiled during a meet-and-greet on Tuesday night at El Jardin.

Amongst the stars is mayoral candidate Gary Soiseth, who is paired up with professional ballroom dance instructor Gabrielle Aguilar-Forrest. Soiseth joked that he has a mean electric slide, that he perfected in fifth-grade, that he plans on busting out at some point.

“This is a good community fundraiser and it would be great to see it again year after year,” said Soiseth.

Aguilar-Forrest, who owns Alegria Ballroom Dance Academy, is graciously volunteering her 900 square-foot studio and time slots to stars and their professional partners.

Also amongst the dancers is Rufus Keaton, a long time Turlock High School employee, who indicated that he might be able to cut a pretty mean rug. His wife of 25 years, Mary Keaton, said he is quite entertaining and dances everyday at home.

“This is going to be a lot of fun and it is something different. It’s a great idea,” said Mary Keaton.

PMZ Realtor and former U.S. Marine Jerry Powell proudly proclaimed he might show off his “twerking” abilities. Hopefully for his partner Nicole Couto, and all those who attend, he abstains.

New Cunningham Elementary Principal Tami Truax is emerging as an early favorite. Although she has never danced professionally, she is known to break out her boogie moves basically whenever possible, including the Assyrian festival at her former school, Earl Elementary.

Salvation Army Turlock Major Debi Shrum looks to rekindle long-lost ballroom dancing from yesteryear. Shrum’s mother was a dance instructor 40 years ago and she still recalls some of the steps, posture and hand pointing.

Shortly after the announcement of the stars and professionals, Shrum and her professional dance partner, John Paul Padilla, began discussing dance moves from the 50s, 60s, 70s and yes… even the 80s. The staff and patrons of Salvation Army vote for Olivia Newton John’s “Let’s Get Physical,” and yes, they want to see a rolled up a headband and overly puffy leg warmers.

Shrum said she hopes Dancing with the Turlock Stars will raise about $50,000.

“It might take two or three years but they’ll get there,” she joked.

Tickets to attend the event are $50 and will be available Aug. 11 at Jura’s Pizza Parlor and Geiger’s Jewelers.

Online voting for your favorite star will begin in the coming weeks.

Sponsorship opportunities are available ranging from $500 to $2,500 and advertising in the Dancing with the Turlock Stars event program ranges from $100 to $250.

While all the Stars have been announced, Dancing with the Turlock Stars committee organizer Kristin Bettencourt is inviting open nominations for the event’s opening ensemble dance of up to 40 Turlock residents.

Feel free to submit your nominations for the ensemble below in the comment section or contact Bettencourt at 209-815-3731 and stay tuned to TurlockCityNews.com for more updates.

Stars Professional
Jerry Powell Nicole Couto
Don Gonsalves Stephanie Vaigos
Tommy Tickenoff Lauren Weese
Major Shrum John Paul Padilla
Gary Soiseth Gabrielle Aguilar-Forrest
Yvonne Geiger Xavier Huerta
Betty Ireland John Jaureguy
Jeff Santos Mackenzie Shamgochian
Tami Truax Ryan Thiel
Mike Brem Kelsey Sevick
Audrey Cray Fabian DeLeon
Sheila Mayo

Jim Farrar

Rufus Keaton Danielle Robinette
Joel Broumas Amy Shamgochian
Justin Crone Annette Cadena

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