Anne Campolongo & Peter Kuhl – Dancing the Bolero
Star: Anne Campolongo
When Anne is not at work in front of the green screen every morning, you can find her out hiking the trails or sipping on a latte, or maybe even taking a quick power nap, because hey, that early morning wake-up call is hard!
Anne was involved in community service in high school, especially with Relay for Life and Ronald McDonald House. She is honored to be selected to dance this year. Anne is excited to give back in this fun and unique way in an event that the Rogue Valley holds close to its heart.
Partner / Instructor: Peter Kuhl
Peter was a partner in DWTRVS two years ago, and is super excited to dance again this year. He has competed in several youth competitions (earning first place in one), performed in many group and solo dances, and taught ballroom dance for over two years at North Medford High School as a youth member of USA Dance. He loves to dance and is very glad he has the opportunity to raise support for Sparrow Clubs doing something that he loves! Peter would like to thank Anne Campolongo of KDRV for braving the Bolero in this year’s show.
Ben Taylor & Colette Kuhl – Dancing the Viennese Waltz
Star: Ben Taylor
Ben works at the Medical Eye Center where he enjoys working closely with other Optometrists and Ophthalmologists to serve a wide variety of patients. Ben is excited for this opportunity to raise funds for Sparrow Clubs. Though Ben is adept at handling his work, family and church responsibilities, DWTRVS will push him into unknown territory, as Ben is not a dancer. His wife and six kids are excited to see their dad in a whole new light as he takes on the challenges that DWTRVS has to offer.
Partner / Instructor: Colette Kuhl
Two years ago, Colette was invited to become a ballroom dance instructor teaching beginner and intermediate lessons at the Evergreen Ballroom and North Medford High School, as well as coordinating a youth performance group, monthly dance parties and homeschool formals. She has also competed and placed in two intermediate youth ballroom competitions and performed in several showcases.
In addition to dancing, Colette enjoys music, horseback riding, and playing anything from basketball to “couch-wars” with family and friends. Colette would like to thank her amazing partner for being such an enthusiastic learner (in spite of her unrelenting partiality toward difficult moves), her family for all of their love and support throughout her life, and Cori Grimm for being such a wonderful role model and providing her with the opportunity to share her love of dancing with others through teaching.
Christian Ainzuain & Isabel Iboa – Dancing the Samba
Star: Christian Ainzuain
Christian is the father of two beautiful young adults, Alix and Andrew. Before starting the Peruvian Point he did construction as a mason until the market crashed, and Christian then decided to make a change.
His father had always told Christian that he should share their culture here, so with his help they came up with the idea of a food truck and his father gave him the money to purchase his first trailer. Unfortunately, his father passed away form cancer shortly after.
Christian’s mother has also been a huge part of the business success with all her amazing help! Four years later, Peruvian Point is going strong and Christian is ready to be a part of Dancing with the Rogue Valley Stars to benefit such an incredible cause!
Partner / Instructor: Isabel Iboa
At age five, Isabel began dancing with Ballet Folklorico—Mexican folk dancing that tells stories about the history of Mexico through dance. Her love for dance grew when she took ballroom classes from Cori Grimm at the Evergreen Ballroom when she was 10 years old. Since then, she has participated in several Youth Ballroom Competitions, showcases, performance groups, and taken advantage of any opportunity she can to dance! After high school, she hopes to study nursing, as well as continue to learn and further her knowledge of dance.
When she was invited to be a part of Dancing with the Rogue Valley Stars, she was thrilled to be able to participate in such a wonderful organization as Sparrow Clubs, who abundantly helps so many children in our community! She is thankful and elated to be able to do a small part to give back to others, and also to see what this adventure has in store!
Jeremy Durst & Cori Grimm – Dancing the Cha Cha
Star: Jeremy Durst
Jeremy has been teaching band in the Eagle Point School District since 2009. He began co-teaching the leadership class in 2011, and he became a Sparrow Clubs advisor. Jeremy is passionate about the Sparrow Clubs program and has been touched by the families he has met over the past several years.
Jeremy is a frequent performer with Southern Oregon Jazz Orchestra and does various solo music endeavors around the valley. He recently completed a Masters in Conducting from Sam Houston State University. Jeremy performed with The Temptations and Four Tops during the 2017 Britt Music Festival Season. He and his wife, Amy, live in Medford with their goofy lab, Molly, and a very old cat named Isabelle.
While Jeremy does not consider himself a dance expert, he is excited about taking this opportunity to be a part of Dancing with the Rogue Valley Stars and sharing his passion for Sparrow Clubs.
Partner / Instructor: Cori Grimm
Cori’s life calling is to build community through partner dancing. Her emphasis is on social dancing — having fun is a must! But, she also enjoys the creativity of choreography. She loves to get people of all ages hooked on dancing and is thrilled to get to work with so many kind, fun and interesting people. As a former high school percussionist, she’s especially happy to get to dance with the band director this year.
Dancing is a family affair. Cori is grateful for the support and encouragement she gets from her two (dancing) kids, Calin and Alex and from her husband and dance partner of 20+ years, John Ourant. Cori would like to thank her dad, Bill, and his wife, Marilee, who share her passion for dance and who do so much to support her and the dancing community.
Josh Abbott & Megan Reed – Dancing the Nightclub Two Step
Star: Josh Abbott
Josh realized his goal of becoming a police officer in 2010 when he joined the ranks of the Central Point Police Department. In 2015, Josh was selected to be a detective for the Criminal Investigations unit. Josh feels honored to be able to serve the citizens of Central Point and continues to attend training on how to best help those victimized by various crimes.
For years, Josh has wanted to work with kids in need. This desire to serve the community is what brought Josh to seek out a partnership with Sparrow Clubs. Central Point Police and Fire District 3 will be working together to sponsor a Sparrow this year as a result of that desire held by Josh and others at both agencies.
Partner / Instructor: Megan Reed
Megan has been dancing for most of her life and discovered ballroom dancing two years ago through her sister, Sarah. She remembers coming home from her first Friday night dance at the Evergreen Ballroom and being head over heels in love. That love for ballroom dancing hasn’t gone away, but has increased, as she’s been able to take classes, perform, and compete.
Besides ballroom dance and ballet, Megan enjoys reading and writing books, spending time with friends, volunteering, and playing with any kids or animals she encounters. She’s very grateful for the support of her family and friends throughout this adventure.
Lauren Trantham & Payne! Smith – Dancing the Salsa
Star: Lauren Trantham
Lauren has a heart for charity and last year completed a 10,000-mile solo motorcycle journey around America, raising $55,000 for survivors of sex trafficking. On her Ride My Road, project she also had the honor of photographing 36 resilient survivors. Lauren attributes the success of the project to the support from the Rogue Valley community.
She is excited to join with Sparrow Clubs and give back to the community that has welcomed and supported her. Lauren lost a dear friend to brain cancer in the 5th grade and wishes that Sparrow Clubs had been around at that time. She is so moved by the work that is now being done to help children in need. Lauren believes that sparking compassion among young people and showing them that they can indeed make a difference is the best way to change culture and strengthen our communities.
Partner / Instructor: Payne! Smith
Payne! started dancing six years ago because he thought it sounded fun. He did start with a bang: six classes a week until the school closed two weeks later. Since then, Payne! has been taking classes on and off again, usually during winter and spring terms at SOU. However, despite not focusing his performing life around dance, Payne! managed to gain experience in many different forms, such as ballet, belly dancing and tap. He enjoys dance and loves the beauty it brings to the art of theatre.
Mike Duffy & Karen Knokey – Dancing the West Coast Swing
Star: Mike Duffy
Mike’s love of the great outdoors is what brought him to the Rogue Valley. As a Midwesterner by birth, the sight of mountains, redwoods and the ocean is still quite novel to him. Having recently lived in New York City and Atlanta, he’s thrilled to experience daily so many wide open spaces.
Mike is currently an anchor and reporter for NewsWatch 12. You can see him disseminating news nightly to the masses. Have a good story? Hit him up. He loves having the opportunity to watch out for everyone in the area. He loves the challenge DWTRVS has brought him and the chance to work first-hand with the Sparrow Clubs.
Partner / Instructor: Karen Knokey
Donn and Karen have been part of many performance teams including: American Style Cha Cha and Rumba, Night Club Two-Step, Viennese Waltz and many others. They have participated in West Coast Swing and Night Club Two-Step competitions in Sacramento, San Francisco, Reno, Portland and Phoenix, Arizona. Currently, one of their favorite West Coast Swing Conventions, is right here in the Rogue Valley, put on by SO Swing!
Monica Clayton & Jeff Palpant – Dancing the Argentine Tango
Star: Monica Garvin Clayton
Born and raised in Santa Cruz, California, Monica moved to the Rogue Valley in 1993. She has spent 30 years in the financial industry and currently is the Regional Manager for Banner Bank. Four years ago, she also became a Certified Nursing Assistant to take care of her Mom.
She is very passionate about non-profit organizations in Southern Oregon, serving on several boards and committees. In 2010, Monica won the State of Oregon Children’s Trust Fund Award of Excellence for her work with non-profits. This year she’s winning the Chamber’s Business Excellence award.
Monica has 2 beautiful children, Emily (18) and Jared (14). She met her amazing and supportive husband, Timothy, while volunteering with a non-profit. They married in 2013.
Today Monica is dedicating her dance to her Mother, Jeannie, who passed away two years ago from Ovarian Cancer. Her mom’s passion for dance and her love of life is why she is on this stage again.
Partner / Instructor: Jeff Palpant
Jeff has coached or choreographed for the last eight DWTRVS shows and is thrilled to be giving back to Sparrow Clubs by performing in this year’s show. When he isn’t dancing with his wife, Micki, he plays hockey, travels, gardens, paints and hangs out with their two Collies: Finn and Sully.
Renae Adams & Jon Shaffer – Dancing the Foxtrot
Star: Renae Adams
Renae was directly impacted with the reality of a terminal diagnosis when Greg was diagnosed with non-smokers lung cancer and her mother was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. She intimately understands the emotional and financial stresses that accompany terminal illness and how important community support is to those going through it. In May 2016, both Greg and mother passed away. Since this experience, she has had a passion to give back to the children and families that are impacted and affected by a terminal diagnosis.
Renae is humbled and excited to have the opportunity to raise funds for Sparrow Clubs and to share the vision of kids helping kids in medical need. Although she has had very limited experience with ballroom dancing, she is looking forward to the challenge and enjoying the adventure.
Partner / Instructor: Jon Shaffer
After college, Jon took a position at an Arthur Murray dance studio teaching the beginning dance styles of all the major social dances. Teaching men and women to find the confidence to be social and active at any stage of their lives is one of his most proud memories.
When Jon is not dancing on the social dance floor, or with the Randall Theater, he is doing “I.T.” support for business coaches based out of Ashland. Jon is proud and excited for the opportunity to be dancing with Renae for such a powerful cause, Sparrow Clubs.
Sage Taylor & John Ourant – Dancing the Quickstep
Star: Sage Taylor
An ardent supporter of our military, Sage is very proud of her son, Carter, who served in the renowned Easy Company, 506th Infantry Regiment; and grateful that he is now back home safe and sound.
An avid recycler, she has been raising composting worms for years (using left over fruit pulp from her restaurant) at the Early Bird Worm Farm, which has rapidly expanded due to considerable community need for organic products.
Sage is glad for the opportunity to help raise money for Sparrow Clubs, which she finds near and dear to her heart, especially with her experiences with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She is grateful for the generous support she has received from her dear family and friends, the true blessings in her life.
Partner / Instructor: John Ourant
John met the love of his life, Cori, while dancing at the University of California, San Diego. John and Cori have two children; Calin is a freshman at Reed College, Alexander is at Ashland High. Ballroom dancing is a family affair, with wife Cori teaching and managing the Evergreen Ballroom owned by Bill and Marilee Grimm. John has DJ’d the 1st and 3rd Friday night parties at the Evergreen for over a decade. He has had a supporting role in DWTRVS in past years, but this will be John’s first year on the stage. He’s grateful that his partner, Sage, is up for jumping and skipping around the floor with him dancing a Quickstep.