Dancing With Missouri Stars returns Saturday, May 4th

The 7th annual “Dancing With Missouri Stars” will be May 4, 2013 at the Southwell Complex on the Columbia College campus. Each year esteemed members in the mid-Missouri area are selected and paired with a professional ballroom dance instructor from Studio B, have 3 month’s to take lessons and then compete for the prestigious DWMS trophy. The audience members vote with money which all goes to benefit the Missouri Contemporary Ballet professional dance company.

Purchase tickets to the event here.

Scroll down to read about our dancing stars and to cast your vote in advance via PayPal.

A Kickoff Party was held Sunday, January 27th at the home of Barbara Tellerman and Allyn Sher, to announce this year’s celebrity dancers.

The Press Release about the event is here.

Photo and list of 2013 Dancing with Missouri Stars particpants in the January 30 edition of the Columbia Daily Tribune here.

2013 Dancing With Missouri Stars includes:

DinganDingani Bezai Beza is a native of Jefferson City, Mo. He graduated from Jeff City High school and attended Columbia College on a basketball scholarship. He now resides in Los Angeles, CA where he works as a professional actor. He has worked on network shows such as Harry’s Law, 90210, and is the lead actor in the award winning web tv show ASYLUM, which was aquired by BET network’s last year. He also has an identical twin who appeared alongside him in Adam Sandler’s comedy JACK & JILL. Although Dingani has never had any formal training in dance, he believes that he will at least be able to “act” like one.

Along with acting, Dingani is also the V.P. of Operations for the Mary V. Beza first aid clinic; a not-for-profit healthcare facility in Malawi, Africa which gives free medical assistance to those living in rural areas who either dont have access to or cannot afford care. Named after his mother, the clinic was founded by his parents Mary Beza and his late father Dr. Jabulani Beza, humanitarian and Member of Parliament for the Republic of Malawi. The clinic has been in existence for nearly a decade and has saved the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of Malawi citizens. Each year he and his family travel to Malawi, Africa with church organizations, volunteers, and doctors to deliver medicines.

Atiyyah EllisonAtiyyah Ellison. After excelling in football, basketball, and track and field, at Parkway South High School in St. Louis, Atiyyah Ellison accepted a scholarship offer with the University of Missouri. While at Mizzou, Atiyyah dominated opposing offensive lines as a 3 year starter to collect numerous awards such as St.Louis Metro Player of the Year, J. Ed “Brick” Travis Interior Lineman Award, and Big XII 1 st Team All-Conference. Atiyyah was not only a leader on the field, but a man to look up to off the field as well, and was voted “Captain” his senior year by his peers. Following his last season with the Tigers, Atiyyah was selected 89th overall in the 2005 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. Following several years in the league, Atiyyah’s wife Jessica convinced him to move their 3 children (7 year old Tyson, 5 year old Braylon and 1 year old Alexandria) back home to where their story began…in Boonville, Missouri! Atiyyah now makes a difference in the lives of children in the community as a Physical Education teacher at Both Hannah Cole Primary and David Barton Elementary School. In his free time, he runs a Boot Camp workout program for adults in the community and every summer partners with local businesses in the area to bring professional athletes to the community of Boonville as part of the “Atiyyah Ellison Youth Sports Skills Camp” to work with area youth and show them the possibilities are endless when you put your mind to something you are really passionate about. He somehow also manages to find time to serve on the board for the Harvest House, a homeless shelter in Boonville that helps its clients get back on their feet and successful in today’s society. At 6’4” and weighing in at 320 lbs, Atiyyah is literally the biggest star to enter this year’s competition! (photo coming soon)


Betsy OdleBetsy Odle is no stranger to the world of dance and performing. She danced as a youth and spent many years as a “dance mom.” She was also a cheerleading coach and judge at Weber State College in Ogden, Utah. After moving to Columbia, Missouri, with her husband, Bruce, the pair cofounded a Columbia property investment company that is still family owned. Betsy is a writer and researcher with expertise in family genealogy. She is also a registrar for The Daughters of the American Revolution and serves on The Executive Board for The Boone County Museum and Boone County Hall of Fame. She has a 2008 degree from The University of Missouri, where her studies focused on history and English. Despite her varied interests, Betsy considers family her top priority. She is the mother of three children and the grandmother of seven, all of whom live in Columbia. Betsy hopes her performance will reflect her passion for both ballroom dance and the great city of Columbia, Missouri.


Jonijonisee See  is a Columbia native. Her maiden name is Gibbens. She is known as Charlie and Jean Gibben’s daughter. Her husband Mike is also a Columbia native and local cardiothoracic surgeon. Joni has 3 children, Wade, Katelin and Samantha. Some people in Columbia may know Joni as the “snake charmer”, as she was bitten by a copperhead snake a couple of years ago. Joni enjoys playing golf, tennis and bridge with her friends. Joni is a graduate of Rock Bridge High School. After high school, Joni attended University of Mo and graduated with a BS in Nursing. Her nursing career has included working at Boone Hospital Center, Columbia Regional Hospital , Option Home Health Care,and for 2 local physicians. She currently is working at the University of MO Student Health Center. Her nursing degree came in handy when her husband required home hemo dialysis. For 2 years Joni and Mike underwent daily dialysis treatments at home after both had worked all day. Mike is now one year out from a kidney transplant. This new freedom has allowed Joni to pursue her passion for dancing. Joni grew up with a dance floor in her basement and learned how to jitter bug at an early age. She loves to dance but has no professional training experience. Joni is looking forward to helping the MCB and dancing for DWMS!


Monica SenecalMonica Senecal has been soft-rocking Columbia for almost eight years now as the Monica half of Soft Rock 101.5 KPLA’s “Chris and Monica in the Morning.” She is also a co-host of “The Woman Show”, which airs weekends on KPLA and KFRU.  Most of Monica’s time is spent with her 6-year old son Gabriel, her 1-year old daughter Anastasia and her husband Russ Palmer of Downtown Appliance.  Monica is a long-time supporter of the arts and feels blessed to be raising her children in a community so rich with talent and beauty. It is a true pleasure for Monica to participate in this competition as a way of raising awareness about The Missouri Contemporary Ballet, our too-hidden local treasure!



Travis TuckerTravis Tucker was born and raised in a small country town in southern Missouri, life has never been around one area of focus. Growing up, he loved spending time on the farm, working in the garden and cooking with his Grandmother. This is where the love of food came from. Farm to Table was not “trendy” it was a way of life. The inspiration spurred the creation of bleu Restaurant and Catering. After graduating from Mizzou with a degree in History, Theatre & Psychology he moved to Nashville, then The Virgin Islands &Central Florida, he settled back here in Columbia Missouri to live, work and raise a family. Somewhere along the way, a love of wine was also developed and the second component of bleu restaurant, wine!Family, Food & Wine, consumes most days for the father of two beautiful children Wade 6 & Georgia 4, along with his wonderful wife Liz (you will always find her at Poppy downtown Columbia). Travis treasures time with family, so whenever he is not at bleu or working with food service for CIS or catering events, that is where you will find him. An active member First Presbyterian Church of Columbia, you will see him there on Sundays. Columbia has become home, although someday, he plans to get back to wearing boots and jeans and back to the farm!

jeffthompsonJeff Thompson is the Manager of The French Laundry and Alterations (Proprietor, LoriAnne Gaddy, Dancing With Missouri Stars winner, year 1), where he has become quite renowned for his innate understanding of fit and meticulous eye for detail. Jeff enjoys his work as a Personal Stylist, working closely with several past Miss Missouri winners as they prepared for their national competitions; and, is routinely sought out by pageant contestants state wide for consultation before state and national competitions. In line with Jeff’s natural sense of style, he has designed and constructed costumes for Missouri Contemporary Ballet productions as well as for many past contentants of Dancing with Missouri Stars.

Jeff has an extensive performance history: in 1999 Jeff began working for Marty Newman (Missouri Contemporary Ballet Board member) at the SoCo Club as a featured entertainer and headliner at the SoCo Club. It is here that Jeff recognized his passion for the stage. Combining his love of performing with his distinctive sense of theatrical costume and timeless elegance, Jeff created the illusion of Atheena Vocé, oftentimes drawing in scores of fans that repeatedly packed the club to its maximum capacity. After 6 years of competing, Jeff was crowned Miss Gay Missouri, America in 2004. He is honored to be the first and only Columbia resident to hold this celebrated title and is thrilled to have competed nationally at The Miss Gay America pageant on two separate occasions. Jeff is a  founding Board member of the Miss Gay Missouri, America Alumni Association and currently holds the franchise for the Miss Gay Missouri, America Pageant which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Presently, Jeff can be seen at the SoCo Club most Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights as the co-emcee and voice of the SoCo Club Cabaret.

Marti WaigandtMarti Waigandt is a native of Columbia, Missouri, a Boone Baby, a Kewpie and a Tiger. Her husband, Alex Waigandt, PhD., is a professor at MU. They have been married for 32 years and have three children, Justin, Megan and Jordan and one grandson, Jackson. Marti graduated from the University of Houston College of Optometry in 1987 and returned to Columbia with her family to open In Vision Eyecare Center. They sold the practice in 2007 and currently stay busy developing retail and residential properties in the district. Her hobbies include hip hop dance, zumba, yoga, weight lifting, gardening and traveling. She also enjoys giving back to her hometown as a volunteer board member representing the Community Improvement District.  Marti has a longstanding love of dance and feels very honored to be asked to participate in this fundraiser benefiting the art of dance in our community.


To vote in advance of the performance:

Advance voting is available via PayPal. Advance voting via PayPal ends at 5 PM CST on May 3, 2013.


 Ticket Information

General Admission tickets are $20 adults/$15 students and available through the Columbia College box office (beginning March 15) or can be purchased at the door. To inquire about purchasing a table on the floor contact amypugh@mac.com. For more information about MCB and the DWMS fundraising event call 573-219-7134.

Tables will go on sale March 1. To inquire about purchasing a table on the floor, contactamypugh@mac.com. The Table Reservation form is available here.

Past Winners

2007 – Lori Anne Gaddy with Jason Shearin

2008 – Van Allen with Cynthia Anderson

2009- Jonathan Tips with Cynthia Anderson

2010 – Connie Pugh with Jason Shearin

2011 – Missy Martinette Hills with Peter Hernandez

2012 – Sanjeev Ravipudi with Ashley Mayer

Event format:

Round One: All dancers will perform their Smooth Dance. The order of dancers will be predetermined by Ballroom Academy of Columbia. At the end of each performance, the dance pair will go over to the co-hostess to be interviewed. The 3 judges will then be asked their feelings about the performance and then hold up their score. Note: judge’s scoring has no bearing on the popular choice voting; it is input and entertainment, however there will be a Judge’s Choice winner in addition to the DWMS winner.

First Intermission: At the conclusion of Round One, ballot boxes will be brought out and positioned at key locations around Southwell and the audience will vote with money or credit card vouchers. Voting will end and votes tabulated, with the top four dancers and bottom four dancers identified.

Round Two: Everyone will perform their Rhythm Dance. Same procedure as in Round  One above. Ballot boxes will again be brought out and voting with money or vouchers. At the conclusion, the top three finalists will be announced, with the DWMS Winner receiving a lovely trophy, Judges’ Choice Winner a trophy, and all contestants receive medals.

For more information on Seating, Sponsorship, Table Reservations and Advertising

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