December 31, 2011

Couple #1: Jennifer Brandle-McCall & Paul Eberlein


Jennifer is a BC girl – born and raised in Victoria, she moved to Prince George in 2005 with her husband and two little girls, and as she says, “hasn’t looked back since”. Like so many people that move to Prince George not really knowing a great deal about it’s energy and pulse, she has developed a passion for this city, and a belief in its potential. She has put this passion to good use in her new role as CEO of the Prince George Chamber of Commerce. Without any competitive experience in dance, Jennifer jumped at the chance to contribute to this year’s Boogie with the Stars event. Although her education and background is in Professional Communications, this time she will be communicating through the language of dance with her partner Paul Eberlein, the Cha Cha guru at Dance North here in PG. Jennifer has added a new dimension to the name of her place of work, now affectionately referring to it as the “Cha-Cha-Chamber of Commerce”!

Paul was born and raised in Prince George and has lived in various parts of the surrounding area all his life. He is a Computer Software Consultant, and works with Operating Systems, Accounting Programs, Application Systems and Internet Programs. In 2004, a whole new world opened up to Paul, as he discovered ballroom dancing. He began his learning at Judy Russell’s Enchainement Dance Centre on Friday nights with the original Prince George Ballroom Dance Club, and since October 2006, he served Dance North Ballroom Dance Club on its Steering Committee and Executive – currently, he is Treasurer and the Friday Drop-In Chair. Paul is a very dedicated, loyal and reliable individual, and has made huge advances in developing his dancing skills. He loves dancing and willingly helps teach ballroom and social dancing at the club level. Paul tells us he “thanks his wonderful ‘Boogie Star’ partner Jennifer, and is grateful to everyone at Dance North for the chance to experience seven memorable years in the art of ballroom and social dancing”.

Couple #2: Martina Humphrey & Peter Weedon


Martina was born in Brighton, England, but grew up in Toronto. She gradually moved west, attending the University of Calgary before ending up in Victoria where she spent most of her adult life. Martina worked her way up through the ranks of Canada Trust to become manager of the Victoria Branch in the mid 90’s. She must have been doing something right, because she was asked to come to Prince George to supervise the merging of TD Canada Trust. She arrived with her husband Paul and two sons and – as happens to many people – enjoyed the lifestyle so much, they made this their home. Living in a place with serious winters, she learned to snowboard, but she feels skiing is much safer! Martina is an incredible lady that volunteers her time to many, many different causes – she belongs to the Yellowhead Rotary, and was Rotarian of the Year for 2010/2011. She agreed to being a “Boogie Star” because she passionately supports the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation, and somewhat secretly admits to looking forward to the time when she can say “I did it!”.

Peter is an active member of Dance North, and a local dance instructor. Originally from England, Peter lived in Ontario for 10 years before moving to Prince George in the 70’s. He tells us, “Prince George has been very good to me, and it’s highly unlikely I will ever move from here”. Dance is one of two serious hobbies for Peter, the other, believe it or not, racing cars. With a background in C&W dancing, Ballroom and Latin, Peter enjoys teaching others the art and pleasure of dance, and hopes to continue to do so for as long as “…my legs will hold me up”. Peter & Paz have long since wanted to organize a NYE dance, and finally made that happen last year in 2010. With the help of Kim Royle from the Spirit of the North, the theme for Boogie with the Stars was conceived, and now we are into our second year, hoping to significantly improve of the initial $5000 that was raised for the Health Care Foundation the first time around. Together with his amazingly dedicated and active partner Martina Humphrey, he will be dancing the standard Waltz.

Couple #3: Dan Denis & Colleen Ruddy

East Coast Swing

Dan can certainly claim to be a local, as he has lived in Prince George Since 1970, and says he loves it here more than ever. He is definitely living in the right place, as he is a avid outdoorsman, taking advantage of this region’s finest offerings. Dan spends much of his free time fly fishing, backpacking, and carving decoys, and his newest joy is found in introducing his seven grandchildren to the outdoors. This summer, he guided one of them up Mount Robson. Dan Denis is a founding partner of the successful local advertising company, Concept Design, where as he says, he “excels at nurturing close client relationships, while building effective and creative media campaigns”. Dan admits, dancing has never been on his bucket list – his only previous instruction in how to dance was forcibly bestowed on him by his five sisters during their childhood in Saskatchewan. They insisted that he learn to shuffle his feet so that he could occasionally substitute for their usual “tea towel on a door knob” dance partners. Dan is the most likable fellow, and a gentleman in the true sense of the word – with his strong commitment to community involvement, Dan was easily “tricked” into agreeing to be a “Boogie Star” in the name of charity, despite his own misgivings regarding his dancing skills. Fortunately, he has found that he is quite enjoying his dance sessions and he only hopes that you will give him bonus points for picking this up at a more mature age!

Hailing from Montreal, Colleen taught Kindergarten overseas before coming to Sacred Heart Elementary School. Faced with the prospect of teaching Gr.6/7 students how to dance, and realizing that the hooky pokey was no longer a viable option, Colleen turned to Dance North for inspiration. She began with the Waltz and the students used it in their production of Romeo and Juliet. Surprisingly this led to requests from students to learn more. Since then, Colleen has been a regular member of Dance North and has taught her students Open Swing, Two-Step, Mambo, West Coast Swing, a little Tango and Thriller! The students continue to nag her for more dances and she continues to accommodate them, believing that dance is cheaper than therapy and a lot more fun. Last year, Colleen was proud to have placed 3rd in the competition, and this year she and her current partner Dan are really hoping to entertain the audience well and improve on last year’s placement.

Couple #4: Dr. Paul Winwood & Stella Royle

Fox Trot

Dr. Winwood is a name we should all be proud to hear in Prince George. Dr. Winwood was sequestered into coming to the University Hospital of Northern BC from RBCH, the Royal Bournemouth Hospital in England where he was a well respected Gastroenterologist, a consultant, and head of gastro entomology. Born in Singapore, Dr. Winwood grew up in England and completed his doctorate there. He moved to Prince George a few years ago with his family because UHNBC offered his the opportunity to fill an academic role as well as the opportunity to develop teaching and research for the UNBC medical school. Another little bonus in moving here was his love of the outdoors, a feeling shared of course by many Prince George residents. It doesn’t take much to connect the dots to Paul’s reason for supporting the fundraiser by becoming a “Boogie Star”. There is a certain irony here too, as Paul tells us he met his wife at a Ballroom dance in East London. Apparently she was an accomplished Ballroom and Latin dance teacher – he was also very quick to point out that’s as far as it goes – she can dance – he cannot ! Well, we’ll all see about that, won’t we, Dr. Winwood?

This is Stella’s second year as a Star partner. As we mentioned last year, she is an amazing lady, with tremendous depth, and an inspiration to us all. Stella has spent her whole life on the stage, right from an early age, entertaining folks, and still continues to do so. She left England in 1960 for a new life in Canada, and her mother’s final words to her were, “Never give up your dancing”. During WWII, Stella’s Papa, a dancer during the Big Band Era, danced in a top hat, white tie and tails, sometimes balancing his young prodigy of 4 years, tippy toes upon his feet, and taught her to dance. Meanwhile, big sister Diana (Stella’s partner in crime) sneaked into the walnut wardrobe after Mama’s blue gown (c/w concertina pleats), silver dance slippers and red lipstick. Tonight, together with her very talented “Boogie Star” partner, Dr Paul Winwood, Stella is dancing the Foxtrot, and in honour of her mother, wearing a midnight blue dress, her mother’s favorite colour, with a reminder not to stay out after the clock strikes midnight!

Couple #5: Joanne Archer & Zeki Basboyuk


Joanne was born in Germany, and after moving to Canada, lived in several communities of varying sizes across Canada. Joanne began her career in health care in 1977 and has enjoyed a number of different experiences in that career. She moved to Prince George from Victoria in 1999, together with her husband and children. Currently she works for Provincial Health Services of BC as the “Provincial Infection Control Network’s Education and Best Practices Coordinator” (say that three time in a row quickly!). While growing up, Joanne’s passion was in figure skating and she currently attends dance classes at Enchainment Dance Studio. However, Joanne has never had any prior Ballroom Dance experience. She very bravely agreed to participate in the Boogie with the Stars competition to help the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation, something she closely relates to.

Zeki originally came to Canada from Turkey. Anybody who knows Zeki would definitely agree that he is a fun-loving guy whom any woman would pick from a crowd, especially if she loves to party. He loves to sing, and above all loves Elvis! He enjoys playing the guitar, dancing and several outdoor activities, particularly soccer. He joined Dance North in 2009 – that’s when he seriously learned to dance and have more fun. He is so proud to be one of the instructors for Boogie with the Stars. For him it is an honour to be a part of this fundraising event. Zeki commented, “Boogie is the best thing that happened in Prince George – people get to do something different yet it is for a good cause. My ‘Boogie Partner,’ Joanne Archer, and I are having fun. We wish our competitors all the best – good luck everyone! A big thanks to Peter & Paz for helping me learn to dance. Thank you also to Dance North for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the fun-loving group of people who live to dance. It has changed my life.”

Couple #6: Tom Sentes & Paz Milburn


Tom is a Prairie boy – born in Regina, Saskatchewan, the family later moved to Edmonton. Work eventually took Tom to Vancouver as a successful entrepreneur, and then in the 90’s, a business contact sequestered him to help expand the Wood Wheaton GM Dealership here in Prince George as the Commercial Fleet Manager. That fit in with Tom’s approach to life as an avid outdoorsman, with lots of fly-fishing, camping and hiking. Tom is a very energetic person, and soon got involved with various charities and boards in this area, conceived and developed two very successful restaurants in town, North 54 and Cimo’s, as well as moving up to become the Marketing Manager for the Wood Wheaton Group. He has served on many boards, including the Haldi Woman’s Recovery Centre, Baldy Hughes Recovery Centre, and most appropriately for us, he currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation. He believes that dance improves the social community, and wants to promote it more – he has enjoyed partnering with Paz and learning dance so much, that he was convinced to build a dance floor in his own home – he’s sure all those months of practise will pay off !

Paz was born and raised in the Philippines with a love for music and a passion for dance. She was heavily involved with the Filipino Club in early 80’s as event organizer and dance choreographer, and was one of the original Hula & Tahitian dancers with the Pacific Dancers. Her passion for dancing was revived when she met Paul Eberlein & Dick & Bobbie Suen in 2006. “Dick & Bobbie are my mentors. Without their friendship, encouragement and patience I wouldn’t have the skills & knowledge of dance that I have today. Dick’s advice was to keep learning and share my passion – to Dick & Bobbie, a toast”! Paz is an active member of Dance North. She really enjoyed dancing the Argentine Tango with John Rustad last year and says with a smile, “Dancing the Jive with Tom this year is a hoot, but if there’s one thing to complain about with Tom, it’s his ‘jealous’ dog who barks whenever I hold Tom”. Paz thanks all our sponsors, stars, instructors, volunteers & Spirit of the North for helping make Boogie with the Stars an annual event. This year’s event is full of glitter, fun and energy, as the race for the trophy is something fierce. Keep dancing everyone, and good luck to all our competitors.