ARTS AND CULTURE: Dancing with Our Stars returns Feb. 5

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 9, 2022

This year’s competition pits all-stars vs. present stars

Dancing with Our Stars returns with past winners facing new competitors.

The competition returns for its eighth year with local celebrities and their partners competing for $1 votes to win the famous Mirror Ball Trophy on Feb. 5.

Reservations for Dancing with Our Stars 2022 can be made by calling the Highlands Museum & Discovery Center at 606-329-8888 and voting online has already started and continues until the competition on Feb. 5. Dancing with Our Stars includes a cocktail hour at 6 p.m. with a gourmet dinner catered by the 3J Group at 7 p.m. The competition begins at 8 p.m. followed by dancing.

This year’s event, which is put on by the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center, will feature 10 couples including several dancers with an Ironton connection:

• Viviane Khounlavong is a certified personal trainer, strength coach, reiki master and E-500RYT yoga instructor/therapist at Studio Dara Online and Tri-State Rehab/Preferred Fitness. She teaches yoga nationally and internationally. She also serves as yoga therapist for several athletic departments.

• Rick Payne received his BA and BS from Ohio University, and his MA from the University of Dayton. Rick has sung and danced in many local events and theatrical performances.

• Missy Rooper works as the chief speech-language pathologist at Pathway’s Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities. She also owns and manages her own business, Rooper Speech Therapy Services LLC. She was also a co-ed cheerleader for the Thundering Herd.

• David Markins is from Ironton and is a state and national baton twirling champion and competed with Cyndi’s Studio in Ironton for 12 years. He was a majorette at Marshall University. He now works as a full-time cosmetologist at The Hot Spot Salon in Ironton.

• Jerri Compton the CEO of United Way of Northeast Kentucky. She is passionate about improving our community’s conditions by identifying and addressing critical root issues that lead to poverty. Jerri’s MS advancement is under control, and she continues to live life to the (adjusted) fullest while raising awareness about MS.

• Garrett Campbell has been trained in dance with Yvonne DeKay School of Dance. He can also be seen on the Paramount stage in a variety of different roles.

Other dancers include:

• Josh Blanton is the plant manager for Vesuvius and an Ashland City Commissioner. He is a fourth-generation employee of Armco/AK Steel, as well as working as an adjunct professor of Supply Chain Logistics at Marshall University. In his free time, Josh enjoys amateur astrophotography.

• Cesiah Blanton, originally from Monterey, México, grew up in Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelors in Health and Society. She is an intern board certified behavioral analyst and provides Applied Behavior Analysis therapy to children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. As the only therapist in the Tri-State region that provides services in Spanish, Cesiah also works for KDMC as a translator.

• Laura Patrick currently serves as the director of the King’s Daughters Health Foundation. She attended the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill on a golf scholarship. Laura resides in Wurtland with her husband, Jarred.

• Wyatt Wheeler has developed his skills at the Paramount Arts Center and Northern Kentucky University. He is the CEO of his own start-up, Digital Marketing Agency, Wheeler Marketing & Consulting.

• Samantha Cleaver is a Family Nurse Practitioner employed by Molina Healthcare. She was employed by the Ashland Center for Women’s Health working in OBGYN. She is an advanced cosmetic injector at the L.E.O Medispa in Ashland, Kentucky.

• Hunter Scott is a gymnastics instructor at Pride Athletics in Greenup, Kentucky, and assistant cheer coach of the 16-time UCA National Champion, Greenup County High School cheerleaders.

• April Russell Perry is Chairman of the Board and CEO of Kentucky Farmers Bank (KFB). April and her husband Don have two adult children, Connor and Kendall.

• Kendall Perry is a front-line manager with Kentucky Farmers Bank. Kendall moved to New York City where she attended the New York Film Academy and pursued modeling, then moved to Los Angeles where she completed her MFA.

• Heather Moore attended Fairview High School. She received her bachelor’s degree from Morehead State University in Elementary Education. She has spent the past three years as the school counselor at Ponderosa Elementary School.

• Greg Moore has worked at King’s Daughters Medical Center as a Physician Assistant, with Dr. Arthur Gaing, in gastroenterology. He is a father of two amazing children, Peyton and Mollie.

• Sheila Heck is a registered nurse in the ICU at King’s Daughters Medical Center. She is also the former owner of Two Chicks Catering, where she received many awards.

• Mary Mullins lives in Lexington, Kentucky, and is an eCommerce marketing operations manager at Tempur-Sealy International. Before moving to Lexington, Kentucky, in 2019, Mary was an active member of the Ashland community and struggles to say “no” to Carol Allen (or her mother).

• BJ Burcham is from Ohio. He is the owner of Identity Salon-Spa-Boutique, Identity KDMC and also Groomed The Lounge. He serves on boards and has volunteered at multiple events and charities.

• Lauren Gibbs is Miss Ashland 2001 and now resides in Russell, Kentucky. She is the current owner of LGB Properties LLC and Tutu & Twirl. Lauren has danced her entire life, training all over the country and winning multiple national titles and scholarships as not only a dancer, but also as a studio director and coach. Lauren coached the Russell High School Varsity Dance Team leading them to seven national championship titles.

Dancing with Our Stars scheduled to be held on Feb. 5 at the Boyd County Community Center, located off the I-64 Cannonsburg Exit #185. GPS Address: 15605 KY-180, Catlettsburg, KY 41129.