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Star: Jake Garcia

Jake was born in Riverside, California and grew up in Turlock, a central valley town about six hours from Medford. He is the oldest of three—his sister attends Cal State San Marcos and his brother UC Davis—and both of his parents are teachers.

Jake attended a dual immersion elementary school, where he learned Spanish and was fluent by third grade. It was also at this elementary school where his appreciation for dance was instilled—he enthusiastically performed (but didn’t ‘star’) in the play, “Papa Lalo’s Dream.”

After a childhood of competition—though mostly barren of dance—Jake decided to lay his athletic career to rest and instead pursue a degree that would enable him to stay close to the sports he loved.

Jake attended Arizona State University, where he focused on sports journalism, competed religiously for intramural teams, and rekindled his desire to dance. He graduated from ASU with a degree in broadcast
journalism and a master’s in mass communication in the spring of 2017.

A week later, Jake moved to southern Oregon, accepting a job as a sports reporter at NewsWatch 12. It was the perfect post-grad situation, as he has family close by and was very familiar with the Rogue Valley prior to his move.

Jake volunteers for the Ashland Community Resource Center, where he first heard about Sparrow Clubs. He’s excited to help with such a worthy cause and to let his competitive side show when he takes the dance floor.

Partner: Tess Minnick

Tess Minnick is an accomplished competitive dancer, instructor performer and choreographer with over 13 years of professional experience in a wide variety of partner dancing, including all Ballroom and Latin styles, West Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, Salsa and Tango.

Tess is a professional American Smooth ballroom champion, Open professional Rhythm national finalist, Division 1 country-dance champion, and Masters qualified country Dance competitor. She was the 2015 1st place winner of the US Open Swing Dance Championships in two divisions for West Coast Swing, and is an All-Star/Champion level competitor.

In addition to competing and performing, Tess loves working on creative projects with fellow dancers and musicians that combine dance, storytelling, film, and original music. Their team is called “The Blind Deer Project” and several completed projects are on YouTube and Facebook to enjoy. You can find out more at

Tess is the lead singer for a working band, called “The Giantess” that plays frequently throughout the Rogue Valley and beyond. She loves sharing her passion for the arts whether it’s through singing, teaching social dancing, creating videos and now, of course, The Rogue Valley Dancing With The Stars!