CSU-Pueblo student shines at Dancing with the Pueblo Starz

Nicole Valdez and Kevin Cano
Nicole Valdez and Kevin Cano
Photo courtesy of Nuworld Photography

Colorado State University-Pueblo sophomore Kevin Cano and dance partner Nicole Valdez won the top prize at this year’s Dancing with the Pueblo Starz.

The event, which was held at the Pueblo Convention Center Saturday Sept. 6, is an annual dance competition and fundraiser put on by the Pueblo Downtown Association.

Every year, the association nominates prominent Puebloans to participate in the event. The nominees are then allowed to choose a partner and a style of dance to perform.

Valdez, an advertising account executive at the Pueblo Chieftain, asked Cano to compete with her in the event.

“We created an Egyptian, tribal (and) warrior routine because we really wanted to stand out and break free from the traditional ballroom you see on the television version of Dancing with the Starz,” Cano said.

Cano and Valdez competed against seven couples, including CSU-Pueblo wide receiver Paul Browning and Director of Alumni Relations Tracy Samora.

“Everybody that performed had nothing but smiles and top-notch choreography,” Cano said.

Cano and Valdez started practicing six weeks prior to the event. They “worked collaboratively with some help from Lori’s Studio of Dance and Performing Arts,” he said.

The event charged $75 for individual tickets and $700 for a table of 10. The money raised there will benefit the non-profit association and the Pueblo Young Marines.

Cano says that even though he has never taken a dance class, he has always been interested in performing. “My mom would tell me that even when I was in the car seat when I was little that I would be jamming out to the music,” he said.

Today, Cano is a fitness instructor at Inzone Fitness and Pueblo Athletic Club. In 2012, he was certified as a Zumba instructor.

“I have been a fitness instructor since I was a junior in high school, which I find really cool,” he said.

In addition to his fitness classes, Cano is a DJ for REV89. He hosts “Wake up Pueblo!” Saturday mornings and can be heard most weeknights after 9 p.m.

He is currently an undeclared major but “with my interest in Rev89 I think I am planning on majoring in mass communications and possibly minoring in exercise science,” he said.