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    Oxnard, Calif.—Seven community leaders will take the stage and dance for charity during the “2019 Dancing With Our Community Stars Dance Contest and Charity Fundraiser,” Sunday, July 28 at 1 p.m. during the 26th Annual Oxnard Salsa Festival in Oxnard.

    The contest is a salsa version of the hit TV show “Dancing With The Stars.” Contestants are paired with the area’s top dance instructors. Each team works on choreographed moves over several months in preparation for the festival showdown.

    Dancers compete for the “Judge’s Choice Award” for the best routine. They are also vying for the “People’s Choice Award,” given to the dancer who raises the most money for his or her designated charity. Donations can be made online at and during the festival at the “Dancing With Our Community Stars” booth. Over the years, the contest has raised more than $850,000 for local charities.

    Here are the 2019 dance competitors and dance instructors.

    –Victor Rodriguez, dancing for Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation. His instructor is Yesenia Peña.

    –Veronica De La Cruz, dancing for Clean International. Her instructor is Adan De La Torre.

    –Sommer Frisk, dancing for Rancho Ventura Conservation Trust. Her instructor is Jesus Garcia.

    –Solovino (aka Agustín “Aluche” Ballesteros) dancing for Merito Foundation. His instructor is Erika Martin del Campo.

    –Salena Bracamontes, dancing for Project Understanding. Her instructor is Ernesto Martinez.

    –Dr. Marlene Batista, dancing for Partnerships for Safe Families. Her instructor is Marco Aguilar.

    –Ben Escobar, dancing for American Society for Suicide Prevention – I’ve Got Soul. His instructor is Diana Terre.

    Meet the Stars

    Victor Rodriguez is the youngest of nine siblings. His family immigrated to the United States and eventually settled at the Cabrillo Village farmworker community in Saticoy. Today, Rodriguez is a passionate advocate for affordable housing. He is a board member of the Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation and works to support its mission to provide comprehensive housing services and community economic development activities for individuals and families most lacking in opportunity in Ventura County.

    Veronica De La Cruz is a sales manager, overseeing a team of six mortgage consultants at Union Bank. Veronica supports many community and regional organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club, Food Share, Teddy Bear Foundation, Relay for Life and United Way. She is proud to represent Union Bank and to support Clean International, an organization dedicated to ensuring that every person around the world has access to sustainable clean water and sanitation.

    Sommer Frisk is regional vice president of Cumulus Broadcasting. Stations include KHAY, KBBY, The Vibe, Spin FM and 1450 Sports. Sommer has been on the board of Rancho Ventura Conservation Trust since its beginning and plays an important role in guiding the trust’s outreach. As a board member, she supports programs that permanently conserve the working landscapes located in the foothills above the City of Ventura.

    Agustín “Aluche” Ballesteros is the person who gives life to the on-air character of “Solovino” on La M 103.7 FM. His character is cheerful, flirty and funny and always trying to get a smile out of radio listeners. Born in Mexico City, “Solovino” is very passionate about his work, talking from behind a microphone since 1998. He’s proud to be dancing to raise funds for the Merito Foundation, an organization committed to protecting the ocean by facilitating education, conservation and scientific research opportunities to multicultural youth and their communities.

    Salena Bracamontes is a Ventura County native. She is currently the only female State Farm agent in Ventura County to have her own agency with two locations with an all-women team. Salena is very active in the community through both membership and leadership roles, and she thrives when she’s helping people in any capacity (insurance related or not). Bracamontes is excited to be dancing on behalf of Project Understanding, where she serves on the Board of Directors.

    Dr. Marlene Batista is a first-generation American whose parents emigrated from Cuba. She is a strong advocate for ensuring that Latino parents have the tools necessary to support their children in school. She is the Director of English Learner Services at the Oxnard School District where she oversees programs and services for the over 6,000 students and their families who speak English as a second language. She is dancing for Partnership for Safe Families & Communities of Ventura County, the designated child abuse prevention council in the county.

    Ben Escobar has been the owner/operator of Affordable Auto Glass for the past 14 years. Escobar chose to perform for the American Foundation for American Society for Suicide Prevention because it is a topic close to his heart. He lost a close friend and nephew to suicide last year. Escobar hopes to raise awareness about suicide prevention and the resources available to those who are contemplating suicide or struggling with depression.

    Sponsoring the dance contest is Union Bank and La M 103.7.

    About the Oxnard Salsa Festival

    The 26th Annual Oxnard Salsa Festival is presented by the Oxnard Downtowners.

    The annual festival draws an estimated 35,000 attendees each year. Event highlights include live bands, salsa dancing, a salsa tasting tent, vendor marketplace, international foods, kids’ play zone and community stage.

    This year’s festival is Saturday and Sunday, July 27 and 28 at Plaza Park (Fifth and “B” streets) in historic downtown Oxnard from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days. Festival admission and parking are free. Main stage open seating is $5 and the salsa tasting tent is $5 per person (includes salsa and chips).

    For more information and the full entertainment lineup, go to

    Oxnard Salsa Festival

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