All Hail the TO Stars


Dancing with the TO Stars. An annual two nights of heated dance competition held in the Thousand Oaks Performing Arts Center. Talented dance students paired with athletes or teachers (most of whom have never danced before), fighting for the title of Dancing with the TO Stars (DWTTOS) Champion.

Four weeks ago, the Varsity Dance students were given their partners. The pairs worked on choreography, music, costumes, and more. On Friday and Saturday, they danced before their friends, parents, and three judges.

On Friday, two-time champion and English teacher Mrs. Austin won her third title with a high-energy Hip Hop routine with her Varsity Dance Team partner, Ari Carrillo.

“Every single year I do this, the kids are the reason I do it. [Ari] was incredible. We have really phenomenal students at this school with really big hearts. I just felt like I was at home when I was with her.” Mrs. Austin said.

Country Line Dance took home the gold on Saturday. Performed by Varsity Dance student Serena Rozsa and her partner, Spencer Given, the two long-time friends got to share an exciting victory together before Given leaves for college next year.

The audience furiously voted for their favorites, and the energy in the room both nights was high. Even before the voting, cheering and shouting was not in short supply. 

“It seemed like the audience was enjoying the performances. There was a lot of cheering for each duo as they ran through their routines,” audience member and TO mom Irene Lopez said.

The brain behind the event was TO dance teacher, Mrs. Murphy. Since the first DWTTOS, Murphy has pushed her varsity students to become the teachers. The two nights help the varsity students grow, display the talent of the TOHS, and raise money for the dance program. No year is quite alike, and this year didn’t disappoint.

“There’s been lots of changes.” Mrs. Murphy said. “We used to have… celebrity judges like Mandy Moore… [but] those celebrities aren’t here [anymore]. We used to have Dancing with the Stars people. It’s not a bad thing. It’s actually more home-based. And the judges, a lot of them are alumni.”

No matter the judges or the contestants, audience members enjoyed cheering on their favorite routines and celebrating the top five winners, the top three winners, and the champions.

Congratulations to Mrs. Austin, Carrillo, Given, and Rozsa, and thank you to Mrs. Murphy for the exciting event. Here’s to another year of Dancing With the TO Stars.