The ladies of Dancing with the Pagosa Stars


Photo courtesy Tess Wisher
The 2019 Pagosa Stars are excited to strap on their dancing shoes this summer. In the front row, left to right, are: Laura Moore, Evelyn Tennyson and Nicki Smith. In the back row, left to right, are: Steve Potter, Mike Le Roux and Jason Cox. Not pictured are Chris Hopkins and Annita Bens.

By Tess Wisher
Special to The PREVIEW
The stars of Dancing with the Pagosa Stars are preparing for the second annual dance competition to support Pagosa’s Seeds of Learning. These Stars have been matched with a dance coach who will lead them through the process to win the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy. Four of these fabulous stars are Annita Bens, Laura Moore, Nicki Smith and Evelyn Tennyson.
Bens and her husband moved from Belgium to Texas with their two small children in 1985. She retired in 2007 from a career in the pharmaceutical industry and academia. Bens now lives in Mansfield, Texas, but enjoys her second home in Pagosa Springs.
“Thanks to the encouragement of my high school teachers and the hard work and support of my parents, I was able to attend college in Belgium and later graduate school in Fort Worth. Humble beginnings and the wrong zip code do not have to be detrimental for one’s future. I’m here to pay it forward and I will dance my heart and lungs out to earn your votes in support for the great initiative of the Seeds of Learning School,” she said.
Moore moved to Pagosa Springs in 2010 with her husband, Tim, to open a local arts center as well as co-found the nonprofit professional theater company that brings in professional performers, designers and directors from around the country to present year-round live theater in Pagosa Springs.
“Our oldest son, Finlay went to Seeds of Learning and we have been potty training our youngest son, Lachlan, since birth to get him ready for his admission to Seeds. We know first-hand what an incredible program Seeds is for kids learning and development and what a vital part Seeds played in the success of our businesses, by helping us keep our head above water as we try to balance managing our own business and raising a family,” she said.
Smith moved to Pagosa Springs over 15 years ago to open a popular local coffee shop. Throughout those years, Smith has had the opportunity to both watch and participate in the growth of this community.
From being a “big sister” to her time on the Chamber, Smith said, “it truly has been an amazing journey to see Pagosa transform into a place I’m excited to live and raise my family. With our son, Dakota, turning 2 this May, knowing that we have such an invaluable resource like Seeds makes all the difference in the world. I’m proud to have the opportunity to make an impact, and although so terrifying to dance in front of the entire town, you can bet that this introvert is going to give it all she’s got to rack up those votes.”
Tennyson has been a part-time resident of Pagosa Springs for the last 10 years after coming up here on vacation for 14 years before. Tennyson has been involved with several nonprofits over the years, is a part owner of a local art gallery and loves helping the community wherever she can.
“I became interested in Seeds a few years ago when I went to my first ‘Little Black Dress’ event with friends. Although I don’t have children, I love what they stand for and their commitment to helping the kids in this community,” she said.
This year, our female stars are joined by four male stars competing for the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy. You can now go to the Seed’s website at to learn more about all of the stars and their coaches and vote for your favorites. Each $1 vote moves a star closer to winning the fabulous trophy and bragging rights for the next year. But, more importantly, all the proceeds go to sustaining Seeds of Learning, where preschoolers are expertly prepared for school and for life.
This year, we have tickets available for $125, which includes a buffet dinner, a complimentary wine glass, a fabulous show and open dancing. Ticket purchase instructions are available at