ATASCADERO — Kate Auslen is the Community Star representing the Atascadero Performing Arts Center Committee in Dancing With Our Stars 2020, and while she describes herself as “definitely an introvert, calm and quiet,” her activities reveal a woman who dynamically contributes to her community in important and noteworthy ways.

She has been a significant fundraiser and volunteer for Parents for Joy, which recently completed the Joy Playground at Colony Park, a playground for all children, including those with special needs. She helps coordinate the annual Atascadero K-9 Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser, has organized the yearly Atascadero City-wide yard sale event, built a new website for the Atascadero Kiwanis Club and volunteers with the Printery Foundation’s Valentine’s Day Murder Mystery Dinner, to name a few.

Auslen shares that “volunteering fills my soul, makes my life full.” Some years ago, she was thinking about how blessed she was and felt that she wanted to pass that blessing on to others by giving back. With her open heart and mind, she discovered many opportunities to share her blessings, in the form of time or resources, and she has received much in return — forming friendships, learning new things, and the satisfaction of seeing the results of her efforts.  

Auslen is a Human Resources Analyst at Cal Poly, handling all of the employment-related functions of faculty and staff in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design. It is no surprise, given her positive attitude, that she finds her work a fun place to be, with lots of positive energy. She was awarded the Cal Poly Staff Community Service Award in 2019. She and Geoff, her husband, own Glenn’s Repair and Rental, and Vino Vice Security, for which she does the marketing, website maintenance and other duties. The Auslens received the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Award in 2018 and the Honda Environmental Leadership Award.

Kate enjoys the abundance of activities available on the Central Coast, especially live music events and festivals. She likes to hike, garden and her two German shepherds are a spoiled part of the Auslen family. She is very supportive of APACC’s drive to bring a performing arts venue to Atascadero. She is eloquent about the value of performing arts — an opportunity to develop life skills, to creatively express oneself, to find one’s voice and to build confidence. She also appreciates the partnership between APACC and the Printery, especially the concept of preserving a historic building as well as using it for something beneficial to the community.

She has had some dancing experience — line dancing while attending Cal Poly, some salsa and swing classes — but has not danced much in the last few years. She is anticipating her turn as a Community Star with a mix of excitement and anxiety. She knows that the tremendously supportive community will make the experience one that she will never forget.  

Justin McMillan was a partner and choreographer to a Community Star in 2019, his first experience with DWOS, and he is looking forward to his second DWOS year, as choreographer and partner to Kate. Justin had a 20-year career as a professional ballet dancer, touring the United States and Europe. He has run several ultramarathons and loves to go to the gym. A favorite bio item about McMillan is that once upon a time, he was the California State spelling bee champion and represented the state at the national contest in Washington, DC. He is the owner of a party and event rental business, The Ridiculous Fun Company, whose slogan is, “Why have just a little fun when you can have RIDICULOUS FUN?” He is also writing a “choose your own dance” book for young dancers. This year he is working again with Frank Sanchez, to create the dance for Kate.

Sanchez is a dance icon in San Luis Obispo County and he is esteemed for his significant role in developing the County’s creative arts. He has directed, produced, choreographed and danced in many productions, most recently serving as Artistic Director for Dancing With Our Stars for 4 years. Sanchez grew up in a large, musical family, interpreting folkloric dance as a child. He began ballroom dance training in his early 20s and has been dancing ever since.

As a member of the Screen Actors Guild, his credits include feature films, television awards specials, national commercials and print ads. Many local people are fortunate to have been taught ballroom dance by Sanchez and for DWOS 2020, together with McMillan, he is choreographing the dance for Kate Auslen.

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Atascadero’s Dancing With Our Stars will be held March 26, 27 and 28 at the Pavilion on the Lake. Theme is Prime Time Atascadero: Season 11. Directed by Molly Comin. Opolo Vineyards is the exclusive wine sponsor. Catered buffet dinner by Pacific Harvest Catering. Tickets go on sale Jan. 20 through Eventbrite.com. No ticket sales at the door. Event sponsors receive best seats prior to public ticket sale. Interested in sponsoring? Contact Event Producer Jeannie Malik at Jeannie@gregmalikregroup.com.  Interested in donating a silent auction item? Contact Cynthia Moyer at cdmsierra@gmail.com. Tickets usually sell out. Don’t delay securing your seats for this popular community event supporting seven local non-profit organizations. 

2020 Sponsors as of Dec. 15, 2019

 ($1,000 and above) 

Diamond Sponsors  $10,000 

  • Opolo Vineyards
  • Mary Bianco- The Moca Foundation

Platinum Sponsors  $5,000

  • Vicky Morse
  • Mechanics Bank
  • Julie C. Fallon, M.D. 
  • John & Yvonne Webster
  • The Zappas Family- La Plaza
  • El Camino Veterinary Hospital
  • Mike and Lori Bickel- B Loved
  • Colony Magazine/Atascadero News 

Emerald Sponsors   $3,500

  • Jean & Joe Kuntze
  • Don & Janey Giessinger

Gold + Sponsors  $2,500

  • Grigger & Alice Jones
  • Gold Sponsors  $2,000
  • Malik Real Estate Group
  • Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP

Silver Sponsors  $1,000

  • Sue Hayes
  • Twist + Co
  • Lube N Go
  • 777 Auction
  • Dr. Sciortino
  • DJ Joy Bonner  
  • Wallace Group
  • Castoro Cellars
  • Bloom N’ Grow    
  • IDLERS HOME
  • Highlight Media
  • Poole & Shaffery
  • Got You Covered
  • Bill Gaines Audio 
  • Bill & Grenda Ernst 
  • Eric & Carol Gobler
  • Ron & Judy Simons
  • Kim Croft-Compass 
  • STL Orthopedics Ltd. 
  • The Real Estate Book 
  • Central Coast Brewing  
  • Coast Hills Credit Union
  • Glenn’s Repair and Rental
  • Rotary Club of Atascadero
  • Cheryl Strahl Photography  
  • Music Editor Brian Reeves 
  • Gary Spinelli-Hunter Ranch
  • Native Landscape Creations
  • Rob Garcia Wealth Management
  • Debbie Arnold- SLO County Supervisor
  • John Peschong-SLO County Supervisor
  • On the Wall Galaxy Theatre Advertising 
  • Stan & Mary Sherwin- K.Jons Diamonds & Gems