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'Stars and Pros revealed for second annual Dancing with the Turlock Stars
One of this years Dancing With The Turlock Stars Jonathon Dravecky props up his partner Mackenzie Shamgochian. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Journal

2015 Pros                                                          2015 Stars

Gabrielle Aguiar-Forrest                                Ron Macedo

Taylor Carter                                                    Brett Melgosa

Nicole Couto                                                    Vito Chiesa

Xavier Gomez                                                   Mary Samo                                                

Elizabeth Hallack                                             Austin Plaa

Xavier Huerta                                                   Diane Romeo

Tatiana Nieves                                                 Joe Bernardi

Pedro Lara                                                        Debbi Agresti

Kelsey Sevick                                                    Russ Holeman

Amy Shamgochian                                          Paul Arai

Mackenzie Shamgochian                               Jonathon Dravecky

Ryan Thiel                                                         Aleece Marson

Amber Traini                                                    Patrick Jensen

Stephanie Valgos                                             Teddy Ayres

Skyler Bazal                                                      Margaret Osmer


A select group of locals will be finding room in dance studios, gyms, and school cafeterias across Turlock in order to practice their dance moves for the second annual Dancing with the Turlock Stars.

Modeled after the nationally successful television show, more than 1,000 people attended the inaugural event in 2014 to watch their friends and family take to the stage and try their hand at choreographed dance routines. More than simply an entertaining evening, the event raised $34,000 for the local Salvation Army. Everything from mayoral candidates to local shop owners performed dances such as the cha-cha, flamenco, rock-and-roll themed routines and even a Western medley.

“This year we started planning in January and the committee really took to heart the friendly critiques we received from last year’s event,” said event coordinator Kristin Bettencourt.

In turn a local company, Torre Reich Construction, will be making a stage for the performance to elevate the dancers so audience members have a better view and technical elements, like staging, lighting, and audio, will also be ironed out. In the past year the event has also been incorporated into a nonprofit.

“So now we can choose who we want to give the money to, but we definitely want to keep it local,” explained Bettencourt.

The Salvation Army, which benefited from the event last year, will continue to receive 50 percent of the profits along with Covenant Care Hospice which will receive the remaining 50 percent.

One other change? Most of the cast.

Some “pros” will be returning to teach the next generation of Dancing with the Turlock Stars, but   the “stars,” will be entirely new and includes a variety of representatives from local government, the farming industry, police and fire departments, and much more. While the participants’ backgrounds are different, they will have one thing in common: braving the public stage in front of their peers.

“My goal is to be the next ‘Magic Mike’ of Turlock,” joked participant Jonathan Dravecky.

On a more serious note, Dravecky said he has always loved to dance dating back to high school when he and his friends would memorize hip-hop dance routines from music videos. As someone who loves to be onstage, Dravecky said he is happy to showcase his personality and dance moves.

“Though I think my wife was a little mad because I didn’t consult with her before committing, but I just got excited!” he said.

Another excited candidate is local realtor Debbi Agresti who is on the board for the event and helped facilitate the inaugural showcase as well. While Agresti admitted she will be stepping out of her comfort zone, she said the benefit to the community outweighs her apprehension.

“The event was a huge success last year, but I was only on the planning side and this time I’m on both. So I’m nervous, but I’m excited at the same time because I know it is all for a good cause that will benefit our community,” said Agresti.

The Dancing with the Turlock Stars will take place at 6 p.m. on Sept.19 at the Assyrian American Civic Club.