Frank Gillitzer and Angela Gillitzer, Absolute Danz
Frank Gillitzer, co-owner of Absolute Danz, began to dance at the age of 7. He was the United States Amateur Male Champion in American Smooth and International Standard and Latin in 1998. From 1992-98, he was the United States Junior Amateur Male champion in American Smooth and International Standard and Latin. Prior to that he was the United States Amateur Junior Smooth and Rhythm champion from 1990-93. He also served as the United States Amateur Preteen champion from 1989-90. When he turned professional in 1999, he continued his national success, becoming the United States Sixth Top Teacher in 2002. He also was named the Dancer’s Cup Circuit Top Teacher in 2003. He has taught and coached dance throughout the United States and at colleges including Kansas State University, Missouri State University, Ohio State University, Kent State University, and Marquette University. Frank is an active member of the National Dance Council of America, National Dance Teachers of America and Professional Dancers Federation.
Angela Gillitzer, co-owner of Absolute Danz, has been dancing since the age of 3. Angela has studied ballet, jazz, and tap for 15 years. She performed at two half-time championship football games, the Citrus Bowl in 1998, and the Outback Bowl in 1999. She also danced with the Wisconsin Dance Team that performed at Walt Disney World in 2001. In 2004, Angela shifted her focus to ballroom dance. She began as a social dancer and quickly realized that competitive ballroom dance was her passion. She received private coaching from Suzanne Gelinas, former Canadian 10 Dance Champion. She began to compete in 2007 and consistently placed within the top six competitors in each competition she entered. In 2006, Angela became a certified Zumba instructor and has been actively teaching for 3 years. Angela is a member of the National Dance Council of America.
Frank and Angela began competing in the Professional American Smooth Division in January 2009. Since then, they have participated in over 60 competitions throughout the United States, Hawaii, and Canada, in which they have consistently placed in the top 12. Absolute Danz, LLC opened in July of 2008. In 2009 and 2010, Absolute Danz received the “Best Dance Lesson” award from The Post-Crescent’s “Best of the Valley” People’s Choice Awards.Frank and Angela are taking a break from competing as they are welcoming their first child in August of 2012. They plan on getting back to competing in April of 2013.
Jessie Spencer, Valley Social
Jessie Spencer, manager of Valley Social Dance Studio, has been teaching ballroom dancing since 1998. Jessie’s career in the dance business began at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Minnesota. Her competitive figure skating background made it easy for her to learn to dance. In 2004, Jessie became manager of Valley Social Dance Studio. Giving back to the community has been goal of Jessie’s since the beginning of her career. She believes that sharing her knowledge and abilities to benefit others is an important life lesson. She has been a part of “Shall We Dance” since the start, 5 years ago. She also teaches for a similar event in Sheboygan called “Movers and Shakers Gala,” which benefits Lakeland College and the Sheboygan Symphony. Jessie plays a role in the Shooting Star Program, a program for area 5th and 6thgraders teaching social skills though ballroom dance. She says, “Thank you to all of the amateur dancers for all of your hard work to benefit this important cause.”
Zeke Cribbs, Absolute Danz
Zeke Cribbs studied Animal Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but soon fell in love with dance after taking a class on African dance. He explains, “I tried it just to see what it was like, and in return I caught a severe case of I-Love-Dancing-itis!” He quickly discovered ballroom dancing at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Madison, where what began as a summer job transformed into three-and-a-half years at the studio. While teaching at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio, Zeke and his wife Pamela regularly competed as members of the National Dance Council of America in the rhythm dance category. However, he experienced the greatest sense of pride and joy when he saw the huge feeling of accomplishment his students experienced when they took a leap of faith and showcased themselves on the dance floor for the world to see.Zeke says, “Being a part of the “Shall We Dance” event has been an awesome experience. Using dancing as a tool to display the talents of our competitors for this cause has been very rewarding. It is an honor to be a part of such a great event. The Sexual Assault Crisis Center holds such a critical role in our community and this is a great way to raise awareness for this important cause. I look forward to being a part of this event for years to come!”
Pamela Cribbs, Absolute Danz
Pamela Cribbs began dancing three years ago. After earning a degree in kinesiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Pamela’s life took an unexpected turn when her husband Zeke introduced her to the world of ballroom dancing. She spent two years teaching at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Madison, where she taught everyone from social dancers to national competitors. Pamela’s greatest joy comes from social dancing, but she has also enjoyed professional successes with Zeke by competing nationally as rhythm dancers. As busy as she is with her dancing, Pamela has taken on a new challenge: she is currently pursuing a degree in nursing.In Pamela’s words, “Shall We Dance is such a wonderful opportunity to do this but, more importantly, it is a perfect chance to support the Sexual Assault Crisis Center’s great cause.” Pamela feels privileged to have the opportunity to participate in this truly incredible event.
Chuck Spencer, Valley Social
Chuck Spencer, who has been a ballroom dance teacher with Valley Social for the past 8 years, dreams of someday owning the studio with his wife. He has received extensive training with Valley Social Dance Studio and graduated from Valley Social Ballroom Dance Teacher’s College. Chuck’s talent as a dancer gives him a unique way to help the community. He has taken the stage as a celebrity dancer at Shall We Dance for four years and at the Sheboygan Area Movers & Shakers Gala, a fundraiser for Lakeland College and the Sheboygan Symphony. He also teaches charity lessons for local businesses and non-profit organizations, and he works with the Shooting Star 5th Grade Ballroom Dance Program. Chuck calls SACC an “important and necessary” part of our community; he says: “I feel honored to be part of this event. I feel good knowing that all the hard work goes toward improving the Valley.”
Jay Morth, Valley Social
Jay Morth is a graduate from the University Wisconsin of Green Bay with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring with an emphasis in Vocal Music and a minor in Arts Management. It was at UWGB where he joined the Ballroom Dance club and began a love for dancing. Jay has since enjoyed teaching and competing; sharing his passion with his students. Jay joined the team at Valley Social Dance Studio in 2012. Jay has had the opportunity to participate in several competitions, and local charity events. Including the American Red Cross “Dancing With Our Stars” event, where this year Betina Driver took home her own mirror ball trophy to match her husband’s and dance partner’s, Donald Driver. With the knowledge that Jay gains from his experiences, he looks to pass on that knowledge to others with the hope that he can create the same passion he feels for dancing. And in doing so, make life a joy!
Joining SACC’s lineup of professional dancers for a fifth time this year, Angela Athey brings a tremendous amount of training to the dance floor. She was a cheerleader for the University of Wisconsin for a year, a dancer for the Green Bay Blizzard for three years, and a teacher for Bellevue Parks and Recreation for two years. She’s been an instructor at Valley Social for six years. Angela’s favorite pastimes include volleyball, reading, playing cards, and hanging out with friends. Plus, even when she’s not working, she loves dancing! According to Angela, dancing is “a great way to raise money for the SACC and increase the community’s knowledge of this cause. Also, it’s a great way to meet and introduce dancing to some extraordinary people who put so much effort into learning a dance!”