Ballroom dancer takes shot at Fox competition show

As a matter of fact, Kristin Dobson of Howland does think she can dance — and apparently, so do a lot of other people. She is one of the contestants on season 8 of “So You Think You Can Dance,” which premiered Wednesday night on Fox.

Dobson, 24, is a ballroom dance instructor at Fred Astaire studios in Boardman, a job she’s had for two years. For contractual reasons, she was not allowed to talk about the show in advance of its airing, and the show ended too late to get the results in this column.

But regardless of how it turns out, Dobson is going to keep on dancing. It’s what she loves to do as a career and in her social life. Fittingly, Dobson had to tape Wednesday̱s episode to watch later — because she was at Fred Astaire working.

Dobson trained at Studio L Dance Center in Champion and The Performing Arts Center in McDonald.

She loves dancing with a partner, which led her into ballroom dancing four years ago.

Travis Manero, owner of Fred Astaire studio in Boardman, is Dobson’s dance partner, and the two have performed on cruise ships and other venues.

“So You Think You Can Dance” is a summer-season competition show hosted by Cat Deeley. It starts with hundreds of dancers in all genres who audition at a half-dozen cities. A panel of judges eventually narrows the field down to 20, at which point viewers get to vote for the champion.

Dobson and Manero went to New York in November for the taping of Wednesday night’s episode, and the couple were seen in the promo commercials for the show. But if Dobson advances, she will be paired with other dance partners.

“I’ve always loved the show and I got to the point where I said, ‘I’m going to do this, and I might as well start trying now,’” she said.

The cut-off age for contestants is 30, so she’ll have more opportunities if this one doesn’t end in a title.


In her new book, Cleveland-area writer Jane Ann Turzillo tells the story of 10 tough cookies from our corner of Ohio.

“Wicked Women of Northeast Ohio” includes a chapter on Rose Tauro of Niles. In 1899, Tauro walked up to a man whom she believed killed her husband and coolly fired a bullet into his head.

The other stories also are from the late 1800s or the early part of the 1900s.

The 112-page paperback (History Press) sells for $19.99. Go to

Muffs renew their bond with Youngstown fans

New York punk band The Bloody Muffs made its Youngstown debut last fall and forged an instant bond with the city. Something special happened at that first show at University Pizzeria, and the trio has since made Youngstown a must-stop destination when it hits the road.

The Muffs launched a mini-tour this week which, practically will begin and end in Youngstown. After the first stop in Pittsburgh tonight, the trio will return to the place where it all started — U-PIE — on Friday. It will wrap up the tour June 13 at The Royal Oaks.

Singer-guitarist Jason “Jonesy” Jones said his band has a bigger following in Youngstown than it does in New York.

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