Dancing With The Thousand Oaks Stars (DWTOS)

Marilyn, Erica and Artemi, Photo by Alex Havasi

I bet you didn’t know that Thousand Oaks has its own, DWTS, or as they like to say it, Dancing With The Thousand Oaks Stars. That’s right, if you go to Thousand Oaks High School, then you already know about this exciting, fun, annual dance event. It just so happens that our Director of Fordney Foundation, Marilyn Fordney and her husband, the Co-Director of Fordney Foundation and our resident photographer, Alex Havasi, did know about this event and were there. Also attending as invited guests were Erica Arnold, Director of our annual DREAM Showcase and her husband, Artemi Okunev, and they all sat in the VIP section.

Jadin and Meagan, Photo by Alex Havasi

You may be wondering how did this concept evolve. Simply put, the dance director works for the high school and her name is JaLeen Murphy. So to be in this dance show you had to go to Thousand Oaks High School and you had to be enrolled in the dance program classes. There is a competition Coach and his name is Jordan Jones and Joseph Maldonado is the All Male Coach and they all assist the dancers in making this event so successful.

Now, in her own words, Marilyn Fordney will describe the Dancing With The Thousand Oaks Stars event, as it occurred that evening. On September 23, 2017, Alex, Erica, Artemi and myself attended this event that was held in the Thousand Oaks High School gymnasium. The whole gymnasium was packed to the rafters with over 500 dance enthusiasts. This competition has been held annually since 2012. JaLeen Murphy is the Director.

The Hosts for this show were Matt Maloney and Kevin Springer who did a wonderful job of

Mr. Lichtl and Riley, Photo by Alex Havasi

introducing each contestant and giving their background. In addition, there were three judges,

Keely Fimbres, Danielle Oliveri, and Robert Schultz.  Here is a little bit of background, as to who these judges are. Keely Fimbres enters her 27th season with the Rams. She manages the L.A. Rams cheerleader program including game day activities, Junior Rams Cheerleaders,

Judges DWTOS, Photo by Alex Havasi

Alumni Rams Cheerleaders, Ambassador Rams Team promotional initiatives and appearance

coordination. She was a Rams cheerleader for 3 years prior to working for the Rams. Danielle Oliveri began teaching in 1996 in a Las Vegas Middle School in their Special Education program. Eventually she moved to Thousand Oaks and in 2012 moved into an administrative position at Thousand Oaks High School. She is now Assistant Principal of Instruction. Robert Schultz choreographed for NBC Heartbeat, halftime shows for the Holiday Bowl and Liberty Bowl, and many Night Riots music videos. He danced for the Backstreet Boys, Toni Braxton, Pepsi, Jack in the Box and AT&T commercials, and many other shows. He currently has a new show being developed at VH1.

The program was set up pretty much like the television show, “Dancing With The Stars.” Each contestant couple had a theme to dance, such as Tango, Broadway, Hula, Pop Jazz, Country Line, Salsa, Pom, Foxtrot, 80’s Rock Jazz, 90’s Hip Hop, Cha Cha, Swing, Afro Jazz, Disco, and Bollywood. The huge audience in attendance was extremely supportive before, during, and after each contestant performed. They gave lots of

Stephanie, Jake, Photo by Alex Havasi

cheers, whistles, and clapping. The judges gave their comments and awarded points after each performance. Then there were guest performances. These were introduced after every three contestants performed and were from Pam Rossi’s Dance Team, Bobbie’s School of Performing Arts, Thrive Dance Center, and Dance Creations. The audience was given a chance to vote and this we did via our smart phones keying in the telephone

AJ, Molly, Jake, Photo by Alex Havasi

number of the couple we liked best. It was a fight down to the finish with the Mirror Ball being awarded to an Afro Jazz number performed by AJ and Lucas Schwartz with Molly Elkington. Congratulations to the winners of this wonderful and exciting competition and we look forward to attending next years DWTOS.

AJ, Molly, Lucas, Photo by Alex Havasi

So there you have it, if you go to Thousand Oaks High School and you are interested in dance, you lucked out. If not, you’ll just have to catch the show (like we will next year) and join in on all the excitement and fun!  Here is a video clip taken by Alex Havasi of one of the dance competition segments from the show, so you can catch some of the exciting moments of this hugely popular event!

Thought Of The Week:

Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets; art deserves that, for it and knowledge can raise you to the divine – Ludwig van Beethoven



Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website https://slowmotiondancevideos.com/