Belly dancing meets salsa at Atascadero’s Dancing With Our Stars

Michelle Harms, a Dancing With Our Stars Community Star, is representing the Friends of the Atascadero Library in 2020. Michelle, her husband Jon and their children, moved to Atascadero from Las Vegas two years ago to find a better life for the children and a smaller town in which to grow up. Community-minded Michelle quickly found a home with DWOS and with the Friends of the Atascadero Lake, combining two of her primary interests. Michelle’s credentials as a dancer make her a natural choice to represent the library in 2020. In her hometown of Las Vegas, Michelle was a professional Middle Eastern dancer, or belly dancer, and a member of a belly dance troupe that performed for parties, weddings, casino shows and community events. After learning the dance form at classes at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the College of Southern Nevada, she taught as well as performed. She is known for her specialty, dancing with props such as fan veils, Isis wings and swords.

In addition to dancing, the multi-faceted Michelle has a life-long interest in animals, ecosystems, and in education. She has a Master’s Degree in biology, and her field is limnology, the study of inland aquatic ecosystems. She has worked as an educator at The Mirage Dolphin Habitat, in Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden Animal Facility. She has managed the staff and program at the 50,000-gallon aquarium exhibit and pyrotechnic animatronic show at the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace. She is currently working as a STEM teacher’s assistant at Atascadero High School. Michelle is continuously impressed by how her students care for one another, and their expressions of kindness to others.  

In her work with the Friends of the Lake, Michelle oversees a project to create and install informational signs around the lake. She feels that, as a limnologist and a resident near the lake, that the lake is a treasure to be protected and celebrated.

Michelle is choreographing the dance that she and her partner, Sean Kennedy, will perform. She said that it is an honor to be asked to be a Community Star and that Atascadero has been so good to her, that this honor is “icing on the cake.”


Sean Kennedy is a modest person, but he is a young man of accomplishments and his engaging smile draws people to him. As a Community Star for Dancing With Our Stars  2020, he is following in the footsteps of his mother Barb, who dazzled as a Community Star in 2016.  Sean is partnering with Michelle to fundraise for the Friends of the Atascadero Library.  

Sean is the General Manager of Kennedy Club Fitness and it is no surprise that physical activity plays a big part in his lifestyle. Among his favorite leisure activities are hiking, playing basketball, working out (of course) and additionally, flirting with his wife. Athletic Sean won a football scholarship to Cal Poly. His athletic endeavors also extend to dancing. He danced as MC Hammer in Atascadero High School’s Mock Rock. And his first date with his wife Sarah was a salsa lesson. Salsa must have played a prominent role in their relationship because Sean also proposed to Sarah during a salsa lesson. And their wedding dance was, you guessed it, a salsa.  

Kennedy Club Fitness is a generous philanthropic supporter of county groups and Sean is carrying out his firm’s philosophy on a personal level. He notes that he is “honored to be a part of this great event” and adds that FOAL is important to our community.

Atascadero’s Dancing with our Stars will take place March 26, 27 and 28 at the Pavilion on the Lake. The theme will be “Prime Time Atascadero: Season 11,” and will be directed by Molly Comin. Opolo Vineyards is the exclusive wine sponsor. There will be a catered buffet dinner by Pacific Harvest Catering. Tickets went on sale Jan. 20 online at Friday and Saturday nights are nearly sold out. There’s great seating available on opening night – March 26! There will be no ticket sales at the door. Are you interested in donating a silent auction item? Contact Cynthia Moyer — Tickets will sell out! Don’t delay securing your seats for this popular community event supporting seven local nonprofit organizations. 

2020 Sponsors as of January

($1,000 and Above)

Diamond Sponsors $10,000 

Opolo Vineyards

Mary Bianco- The Moca Foundation

Platinum Sponsors $5,000

Vicky Morse

Mechanics Bank

Colony Magazine

Julie C. Fallon, M.D. 

John & Yvonne Webster

The Zappas Family- La Plaza

Mike and Lori Bickel- B Loved

El Camino Veterinary Hospital

Emerald Sponsors  $3,500

Jean & Joe Kuntze

Don & Janey Giessinger-Atascadero 76

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   

Highlight Media

Poole & Shaffery

Bank of America

Got You Covered

Bill Gaines Audio

Atascadero News

Bill & Grenda Ernst 

Eric & Carol Gobler

Ron & Judy Simons

Kim Croft-Compass 

STL Orthopedics Ltd. 

All Tech Services, Inc

The Real Estate Book 

Brecon Estate Winery

Central Coast Brewing  

Coast Hills Credit Union

K.Jons Diamonds & Gems

Glenn’s Repair and Rental

Music Editor Brian Reeves 

Rotary Club of Atascadero

Cheryl Strahl Photography  

Gary Spinelli-Hunter Ranch

Kiwanis Club of Atascadero

Native Landscape Creations

Rob Garcia Wealth Management

Southern California Gas Company

Debbie Arnold- SLO County Supervisor

John Peschong-SLO County Supervisor

On the Wall Galaxy Theatre Advertising