Dancing with the Waco Stars 2023


Countdown to the Event


We are excited to announce Family Abuse Center's eighth annual Dancing with the Waco Stars on October 26th, 2023. This year's theme is Hollywood which fits perfectly as we return to our original venue, the Waco Hippodrome Theatre!

This will be an evening of fantastic entertainment as local celebrities perform in a dance competition to raise money and awareness for Family Abuse Center's mission. Some of Waco's biggest "STARS" are teamed with professional dancers "PROS" and have begun training and preparing for an unforgettable show in October.

These dancers rely on the community's support for a successful performance and a chance to win the competition on the big night. Your support also helps the staff and volunteers at Family Abuse Center to provide safety, education, and support for survivors of domestic violence.

Meet the Cast

Cassandra Nunley

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Cassandra Nunley works part-time as an assistant at Sinclair Leasing and Equipment and part-time conducting the ongoing operations of her family's real estate business. She loves all things fitness! Read more about it here!

Landon Lewis

Landon Lewis Headshot

Landon Lewis was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas then moved to Waco, Texas to attend Baylor University where he graduated with a BBA in accounting and management. While at Baylor, Landon was introduced to the Waltz, Tango, Fox Trot, Rumba, Cha Cha, and East Coast Swing through his social dance class. Since then, he has continued to learn and dance. He also served as a continuing education ballroom dance instructor for Baylor and McLennan Community College. He is currently the President of USA Dance Waco. Read his full bio here!

Anne Olson

Anne Olson 2018 Print

Anne Olson is so happy to be in Waco -- her hometown -- after 17 years away. Most recently, she resided in Denver. Anne's lifelong passion for advocacy led her to pursue a master's degree in social work. Now, she focused much of her energy on collaboratively working to better the education system as Director of State Advocacy for KnowledgeWorks, a national organization based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Anne serves on the Board of Directors at Art Center Waco and can often be found bopping around town with friends and family, her two pups in tow.

Bryan Tate

Arthur Murray Dance Studio

Bryan is a professional Ballroom Dancer with Arthur Murray Dance Studios. Originally based out of Arthur Murray Fort Worth, he is now the Franchisee of Arthur Murray Dance Studio of Waco. When Bryan and his wife, Stephanie, are not competing or running their studio, they enjoy traveling, good food, and spending time on their pontoon boat with their dogs Bentley, Coup & Sam. Read more about Bryan's dance career here.

Samara McLennan

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Samara McLennan, a native Wacoan, is entering her fourth year as a Senior Financial Analyst with Baylor University's Office of the Vice Provost for Research, where she manages grant funds for the professors who do remarkable work on their research. Learn more about Samara and her community involvement here!

TJ Rayder

TJ Rayder Headshot

TJ Rayder got his start in dancing with Argentine Tango as a hobby after serving in the United States Marine Corp. Learn more about his dancing career here!

Mindy Davis


Mindy grew up dancing ballet in Dallas; however, it’s been many years since she hung up her pointe shoes. She and her family have chosen to put roots down in Waco and aspire to be contributing members of the community. She feels honored to support the Family Abuse Center and be involved in this incredible event. Learn more about Mindy here!

Jim Curtis

Arthur Murray Dance Studio

Jim loves working with his students at the Arthur Murray Waco Studio and his favorite part of the job is helping people connect with each other and music through dance. Read more about when he started dancing here!

Erin Kubala

Erin Headshot

Erin moved to Waco in 1997 where she got her degree in management/marketing and then attended cosmetology school. She is the owner of Pura Vida day spa and has done hair for 23 years, and the co-owner of Twisted Sisters. She is married to a Waco Firefighter and they have a 7-year-old son Briggs, who is actively involved in horses, baseball, and football. She is so honored to be asked to participate in such a great cause.

Patrick Rodriguez

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Patrick Rodriguez is a Waco native who began dancing at the age of eight. He has performed at Disney World, on cruise ships, and danced with a national collegiate dance team at the University of Stephen F. Austin. Through his years of experience, his skills have helped him to develop confidence in himself to give others the fundamentals of learning, performing, and excelling in dance. His passion for dance is displayed through his classes. When you leave you will walk out wanting to come back. Learn more about his dance career here!

Kristen Knapp

Kristen Knapp Headshot

Kristen was born and raised in Waco! After living in the Dallas area for 9 years where she and her husband began their family, they returned to the Waco area in 2019. Kristen serves as the director for the Dance Campany at Joy's School of Dance where she teaches jazz and hip hop, as well as her daughter's dance classes. Learn more about Kristen's dance background, family, and her time as a teacher here!

Joe Taylor

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Joseph Taylor is very excited to join Dancing With The Waco Stars as a dancer after serving as a judge for last year’s competition. Joe holds a BFA and MFA in Dance from Florida State University. In 2019, he joined the faculty at McLennan Community College as an Associate Professor of Theatre Movement and Dance where he continues to share his passion for dance and theatre with his students. Learn more about his dance career here!

Carroll Fadal


Carroll Fadal is a native Wacoan, educated in Waco public schools (Richfield High School class of 1971). He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Baylor University in 1975 while working full-time for the Waco Tribune-Herald. For the next 9 years, he worked for various newspapers in the Houston area and at the Austin American-Statesman, where he was assistant sports editor. Carroll and his wife, Hatt (Baylor BA in History, 1975 and MS in Education 2007) moved back to Waco in 1984, where Carroll embarked on a 39-year career with Texas Life Insurance Co., retiring April 30 this year as Vice President and Chief Sales Officer. During Carroll’s tenure, Texas Life (founded in 1901 in Waco) grew to become a top-5 provider of voluntary permanent life insurance sold at the worksite. Read more about Carroll here!

Meredith Sutton

Meredith Sutton

Meredith Sutton is the dance teacher and choreographer for Baylor's Department of Theatre Arts. She teaches ballet, tap, and jazz, choreographs department musicals, mentors student choreographers, and serves as an advisor to the Baylor Dance Company. She holds an MFA in Directing from Baylor University and a BFA in Dance Performance from West Texas A&M University. She is the mother of four amazing boys.

Rod Sturdivant

Rod Sturdivant

Rod Sturdivant joined the faculty of the Department of Statistical Science at Baylor University in 2020. He serves as Director of the Statistical Consulting Center. He is a retired U.S. Army Colonel who served on active duty for 27 years after graduating from West Point. He finished his career as an Academy Professor in the Math Department at West Point. Learn more about Rod and his career here!

Stephanie Tate

Arthur Murray Dance Studio

Stephanie is a professional Ballroom Dancer with Arthur Murray Dance Studios. Originally based out of Arthur Murray Fort Worth, she is now the Franchisee of Arthur Murray Dance Studio of Waco with her husband. Learn more about her dance career here!

Donovan Burris

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Donovan Burriss moved to Waco, Texas in June of 2019 and serves as the Director of Resource Development in the Baylor Athletics. A native of Frederick, Maryland. Burriss graduated from Frostburg State University with a degree in Kinesiology, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a Master’s Degree in Sports Management. Learn more about Donovan here!

Mandy Dudik


Mandy Dudik has been a choreographer and instructor in dance for over 25 years. She co-owns and operates Rise and Shine Dance in Clifton Texas with her dance partner Danielle Spooner. Mandy has been married to her husband Jeff for 17 years. They share 2 daughters that are the light of their world. Read her full bio here!

David Pooler


David Pooler grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. He is an Army veteran, is married to Cheryl Pooler, and they have two adult daughters. He is starting his fifteenth year as a Professor of Social Work at Baylor University. David loves traveling, riding bikes, hiking, and camping. He is an advocate for adult survivors of clergy sexual abuse and is also a therapist here in Waco. David and Cheryl are hosting an exchange student from Germany and are enjoying their journey of learning about a new culture. David has not danced before in any capacity but jumped right into the opportunity to be a Waco Star and help raise money for the Family Abuse Center.

Sydney Curtis

Arthur Murray Dance Studio

Sydney loves teaching people to dance because of the positive change that dancing can bring and because dance has the special ability to connect people across the world, from all different backgrounds. Learn more about Sydney's love for dance here!

Joshua Sims

Josh Sims

Hailing from the nurturing biosphere of Groesbeck, Josh Sims, his wife Jennifer, and their two daughters George and Clara, have been residents of Woodway since 2016. Josh opened Oak & Ivy Wine Bar Bistro in Woodway in June 2022. Learn more about what led him to owning his own business here!

Caryn Hernandez

Caryn Hernandez Headshot

Caryn is a fulltime professional Ballroom Dancer and competitor for Arthur Murray Dance Studio in Waco. She got her start dancing as a hobby, taking dance lessons as a creative outlet. Learn more about her love for teaching dance here!

Matt Pattillo


Waco native, Matt Pattillo, graduated from Waco High in 1998 and completed his undergraduate studies at Baylor University in 2022. Shortly after graduating from Baylor, he married his college sweetheart, Laura. he then pursued his career in medicine, graduating from UT San Antonio Medical School in 2008. He is currently at Ascension Providence. Learn more about his career, family, and how he likes to spend his free time here!

Nadya Rafferty

Nadya Rafferty

Nadya Rafferty was born and raised in Russia where from a very young age, she studied gymnastics and dancing. She was traveling the world working with international companies as a professional dancer and choreographer. Learn more about Nadya here!