Leneé Pezzano a proud native of Ohio with roots in the northeast and central regions. She enjoys everything from dancing, to traveling, to riding her motorcycle and spending time with friends and family. Recently, Leneé published her first book entitled, You Will Make Mistakes: Discovering God’s Grace in the Midst of Perfectionism (Google it!) Her greatest mission is to share God’s truth, restore His principles, and inspire individuals to an authentic relationship with Him. Leneé believes she is living her best life and that her fifties are her “best decade yet.” She is incredibly grateful to be a part of this year’s Dancing with the Local Starts event.
Troy Myers is a UPS driver on the east side of Columbus, and has been dancing competitively for over twenty years. Starting on the country circuit, he twice finished in the top five at the UCWDC World Championships in amateur divisions. Since then he has danced in the Rising Star division, and competed with his students in the pro-am routine and strictly swing divisions. A two-time director of the Columbus JT Swing Team, Troy is also hired as one of the professional instructors for both Cash Bash and Jammin In July.
Amy Ellett Bauman
Just a small town girl…who never stops believin’! Amy Ellett Bauman grew up in the small town of Wapakoneta, Ohio, and now resides in the even smaller town of Galena, Ohio. In between childhood and present day, Amy was drawn to the big city of Columbus to attend The Ohio State University where she earned a Bachelor’s in Education in 1995. After graduation, she lived and taught briefly in Florida and North Carolina, but returned to Ohio to be near family and “home.”
After starting a career in the corporate space, Amy discovered a passion for applying her teaching talents to help women in business develop personally and professionally. This passion prompted Amy to create her own business, Your Development Resource, in 2019, and to earn a Master’s in Business Psychology from Franklin University in 2020.
Amy strongly believes in the power of positivity and that mindset is everything! Amy’s favorite part of coaching women entrepreneurs is supporting them in all the highs and lows of their journey, cheering their successes and providing comforting perspective when they hit obstacles.
In addition to coaching women entrepreneurs and creating both online and in-person women’s business communities, Amy is constantly working on her own personal and professional development. She enjoys reading, listening to podcasts, and attending networking events. She also loves working out, traveling, 80’s music, wine tastings, and spending time with her family.
Some of Amy’s previous volunteer efforts include being a Coach for Girls on the Run and being a Mentor for Dress for Success Columbus. After meeting Brian Wollenberg and being introduced to The Byron Saunders Foundation, Amy was inspired to help with the mission and is excited to participate in Dancing with Our Columbus Stars 2023!
Brian Cantrell started his dance career in 2001 at Fred Astaire Dance Studios. He has taught at 4 locations and trained new teachers at 2 locations. Since leaving the Fred Astaire organization, he has taught as an independent teacher at 2 studios. Throughout his teaching career he has competed in Pro-Am and Mixed Novice Pro divisions.
Columbus Police Officer
Sierra Caldwell was born in Dayton OH and moved to Columbus OH in 2019. She had been working as a Columbus Ohio Police Officer for the past 4 years . She works daily patrol in the city’s southern side. She also has a passion for mentoring youth. She works with other Officers in a program that works towards mentoring kids in columbus schools all year long. She also works weekly for a local church and JOIN organization. She likes to stay active in her community outside of her regular work hours. Sierra has always been passionate about helping the people in her community.
The Byron Saunder Foundation is near to her heart because she has been working at a place for three years that gives out the meals at thanksgiving. She absolutely loves to be there when the family’s pick up there meals and it really fills her heart to help them and speak with them. Growing up her family would sometimes need meal assistance and she realizes on a personal level how incredible the families feel to be able to have a wonderful meal for the holidays.
Sierra loves to surround herself with her loving husband and family. She loves to get up and dance with all her family and friends at events but has never had any professional dance training. She is working towards finishing her bachelor’s degrees in Psychology at Southern New Hampshire University. She loves the outdoors, loves fishing, and exploring new places. In school she was a thespian, cheerleader, member of the basketball and track team. She is very excited to be a Columbus Star and feels honored to be able to help give back to her community through this event.
Olaniyi Gaiusbayode is a first generation Nigerian-American, born in Alabama, now residing in Columbus Ohio where he found various places to express his love for the arts, particularly dance. His passion for dance has led him to joining and collaborating with various dance companies such as I Am D.A.N.C.E LLC, Movement 614, The Berry & Nance Dance Project, Atrevidos and more. Whether it be Salsa, Bachata, House, KRUMP, Kizomba ect. Olaniyi enjoys experiencing the beauties in what makes people similar and different, from culture to culture and even further, from individual to individual. He continues to use his gift to serve the community by way of teaching, hosting events and enjoying music with the people around him. His goal is to encourage mindfulness of self and others causing a positive and powerful impact.
Senior Director of Patient Experience, Ivim Health
Leyla Zickau, a Pittsburgh native, currently resides in Lewis center with her husband of 11 years, twin girls, two Bernese Mountain dogs, and four rescue cats. She is the Senior Director of Patient Experience at Ivim Health in Columbus, Ohio, specializing in weight loss and wellness. She is also a certified Reiki Master, competitive pro figure natural athlete (second in the world in masters), and a retired professional football player (linebacker and special teams for the Pittsburgh Passion and Columbus Comets).
Leyla attended Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, receiving her Masters in Speech Language Pathology and her BS in Health Sciences. The majority of her career, she served as a speech language pathologist and operational specialist for many organizations across the health care continuum, with hospice and geriatrics being her passion, and most recently served as Vice President for a national home care organization.
Her upcoming lifelong dream project is to establish and run a sanctuary for abused and abandoned animals. She can also be found volunteering as a guardian for Honor Flight Columbus, which serves retired veterans and provides the opportunity to visit Washington DC.
She started dancing at two, taking lessons until she was eighteen, and is leaning on her Ukranian roots to give her an edge. Two Ukranians walk on to the dance floor……..
Rostislav Toporski is a professional dance instructor whose passion is to connect and move better. He is a certified teacher with American International Dancers Association and was a former rhythm coach for the MIT dance team. His specialties are ballroom dance and west coast swing. He also is an Anatomy Trains Graduate which allows him to understand body movements on and off the dance floor.
Rostislav was born in Ukraine and has been passionate about dance for over 30 years! His inspiration is his mother, a well-known dancer, and choreographer. At age 6, he performed in a local folk ensemble with his mother and traveled the former Soviet Union, performing and competing at national festivals. In 1995, after immigrating to Israel, he continued his dance education in a new troop, adding Latin and Standard training to his weekly routine. After moving to the US in the early 2000s, he continued his training and began working with world-renowned coaches in Latin Standard and Smooth. He competed in 9 Dance American Styles across the US, focusing on smooth dances. Rostislav was awarded Rising Star champion and has been a finalist in multiple competitions throughout the United States.
Mallory Fuhrman joined the Crystal Ballroom Team in July of 2022. She brings a determination to achieve and an extensive performance background to her dancing. Mallory has achieved her Certificate of Achievement from The Crystal Ballroom for the Core 6 Dances and is preparing to compete Rhythm with Cedric Eaton. She also coordinates and their Youth Program!
Aflac Independent Agent
Babiya Polk is an advocate for business owners to manage their employee benefits. As a 13-year veteran of the Group Employee Benefits world, her goal is to develop strategies for employers. Babiya graduated from Franklin University with a bachelor’s in public administration. In 2010, Babiya embarked on her career with Aflac, as an Independent Sales Representative, offering a full suite of plans. Babiya has been recognized for her productivity and ability to train colleagues and agents. In 2020 she earned Aflac’s designation of Certified Broker and is licensed in 12 states, including Ohio.
She is a member of NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) and HRACO (Human Resource Association of Central Ohio) and serves each association’s Board of Directors as VP of Diversity and Inclusion. Additionally, Babiya is a Board Member of the Eastland Preparatory School, and she also devotes one day a week to Dress For Success, where she serves as a Mentor. “I realize how meaningful it is to have mentors. In turn, I willingly invest my time in those who have potential and provide guidance and connections for them. My Mom always said, ‘Lend a hand, because it will always come back to you.’”
She is a political refugee from Uganda who came to the US at age 10 not speaking any English. She is now a mother of two grown daughters, 4 grandchildren, and lives with her lifetime partner Matt in Lewis Center.
Cedric Eaton began his dancing journey in 2018 and has since become a Certified Instructor through DVIDA. He has competed in Standard and currently competes in Rhythm. Cedric has dedicated experience with strength training and bodybuilding, skills he transfers over to his dancing. 2023 marks the third year Cedric is performing with Dancing With Our Columbus Stars. Cedric has always had a passion for the arts and storytelling; having gone to school for film and was a Puppeteer’s Apprentice. Dance can tell stories, Cedric believes, and everyone has a story to tell. So everyone can dance. Naturally calm and patient, Cedric is always excited to share in anyone’s dancing journey.
Dance Coach Kristen Henderson
Dance Studio Owner
Kristen Henderson’s journey in movement began in 2014 when she discovered the world of flow arts. Then, in 2016, Kristen found her true passion in aerial arts. Today, she is a dynamic performer, specializing in all things aerial, fire, and stilt walking. Her performances showcase a unique blend of both technical and dance flow, captivating audiences with her effortless style.
In 2020, Kristen began teaching aerial arts, inspiring students to discover their own passion for the art form. Her passion for teaching was just the beginning, as she became the current owner of Studio Rouge, Columbus’ premier pole and aerial studio, in May of 2022.
As a performer and teacher, Kristen’s passion and dedication to both her craft and her students are palpable. Her performances are mesmerizing, leaving audiences awed and inspired. Her ability to weave grace and technicality together is what makes her a true standout in the industry.
Kristen’s journey through flow and aerial arts has led her down a path of exploration and self-expression. Today, she shares her passion and inspires others to do the same.
Owner & Instructor
Amy Ross began dancing Ballroom in 2001. She has since dabbled in each of the dance communities, Vintage Swing (Jitterbug, Lindy Hop, Charleston), West Coast Swing, Latin Dancing (Salsa, Bachata, Kizomba, Zouk) and Argentine Tango. Amy started her professional dance career in 2012 in Chicagoland, training under Champion dancers including Chantal LeClerc, Daniel Rutherford, Ginette Cournoyer, Ilya Ifraimov, Kimberley Mitchell and Izabella Lewandowski. Today, she competes Professionally in Smooth. Along with her professional dance training, Amy holds a BA in Music Education with a Dance Minor and an Entrepreneurship Certificate from Youngstown State University
After managing one of the best studios in Columbus, Amy followed her dream to open her own studio to support the local dance communities and elevate the expectations of dance instruction to a higher level. Amy has a passion for creating connection with others through music and movement, and would love to share that passion with you!
Ian Crumpler has been a full-time professional photographer since quitting his day-job to do what he loves full-time. His goal is to capture amazing and unforgettable headshots, event photos, portraits and more for corporate and social clients in the Columbus, OH area.
He started his business 8 years ago and surprisingly it has exceeded his expectations. He’s had the privilege of working with many business professionals, some amazing families, and other creatives. His business has quickly grown from just himself to a team of amazing assistant photographers who inspire, teach, and grow with him every day.
He is native to Columbus OH and his studio is in the centrally located Grandview Neighborhood. Personally, he loves culture, travel, and spending time with family & friends.
Chelsea Chérie began dancing Professionally in 2009. She Teaches & Coaches All Ballroom Dance styles but is best known for her accomplishments & proficiency in Theater Arts, where dancing is infused with Lifts, Stunts and Dips in a Solo Couple presentation on the performance floor.
She began to Compete professionally with her partner Brandon Barker in 2010. Together they have made huge accomplishments that have given them the opportunity to travel globally for Competitions and Shows. Chelsea Chérie is based out of Columbus Ohio but aims to share her Passion for dance as she and her partner travel nationwide in North America and Internationally.
“I work extremely hard and try to push myself when it comes to training and preparing for each and every project that I have, I take it very seriously. But, I know that I would not be where I am today without the guidance and protection of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, all glory goes to Him because I would not have succeeded without His strength! My faith in Jesus isn’t supplementary to my dance or my life, it’s Everything. The secret to my abilities, my perseverance, and the opportunities given to Brandon and I are in Christ.”
Alex Mealer is a native of Columbus growing up in Upper Arlington. At 22 he started his company, Precision Electric and Construction, where he has successfully served many clients in the central Ohio area. Building and construction, fitness, cars, and his beautiful seven year old daughter are a few of his favorite things. Whether it’s growing his construction company, building his own home from dismantled barns or a nine second drag race car in his garage, or trying his hand at classic physique bodybuilding at the age of 44, he is always up for a challenge. He’s looking forward to raising the most money at this year‘s dancing with the stars to give back to the community and because the mirror ball trophy would look great hanging from his ceiling for all of his disco parties!