The countdown has begun for nine local celebrities and their professional dance partners competing in the first Dancing With Our Stars fundraiser for the Center for the Arts.
There’s no turning back for these competitors now — each couple will take their turn to impress the judges at 8 p.m. Friday at the Veterans Memorial Building. Center Development Director Rhonda Herrin has nothing but raves for these dance couples.
“They have embraced the spirit of the fundraiser, and are committed to creating a joyous, entertaining, community event. They want to put on a show, and in the process, show off a few of their signature dance moves,“ she said. “These folks are putting their egos, bunions and even their backs on the line. One celebrity has even visited a chiropractor for a dislocated shoulder, but is determined to complete a death-defying lift/drop combination that is sure to be a crowd pleaser.”
Dave Schmall, publisher of The Union, has really gotten into the spirit. He will share emcee duties with Center Executive Director Julie Baker.
“I have waited my whole life for this opportunity. I was born to do it!” Schmall said with a laugh.
Schmall has a few things up his sleeve for the evening, including breaking out a signature dance move of his own.
“I have been working on one and don’t have a name for it. But think, ‘Hammer Time,’” he said.
For some of the more laid-back personalities like Machen MacDonald, he is all about giving back.
MacDonald worked diligently to raise his $2,000 for the Center, and he did it while simultaneously raising money for another nonprofit. Look for his version of Western swing. They are going all out with this one. Hay bales, saddles and other riding accoutrement to create just the right mood for their first dance. Giddy up!
A lot of planning has gone into the preparation for dance performances. Each couple has chosen dance styles, searched for just the right music, choreographed two dances, memorized the dance steps, spent countless hours in dance rehearsals, found just the right costumes, opted in or out of complimentary spray tans, theatrical makeup, and even an updo or two. What does that total up to? Two dances, two minutes, three judges each with two thumbs, pointing either up or down. The thrill of victory, the agonies of a wardrobe malfunction! It is all on the line.
Several of the celebrities are in an all out battle to win all three trophies. Friday those trophies are up for grabs. The judges will decide the winner of the first annual “Best Dancer” prize, online voting and the audience will determine the “Popular Vote Winner” and the celebrity who raises the most money for The Center receives the “Best Fundraiser” trophy.
Let your voice be heard! This is the one time that stuffing the ballot box is encouraged. Online voting began last week. Go to: http://thecenterforthearts.org/dancingwithourstars/ and vote for your favorite dance couple. It costs $1 a vote and you can vote as often as you, or your wallet will allow. The community can also stop by the Center for the Arts, or vote on Friday night.
After months of planning and training it comes down to a few pressing questions left unanswered,:
• Will Dr. Mike Hallenbeck crack under pressure of the competition and succumb to the seduction of a free spray tan?
• Will Stan Miller choose Friday night to announce his secret plan to go on tour as a pro dancer?
• Is it a twinkle in Roxanna Cohen’s eyes, or is she so focused on winning that you can actually see disco balls reflected in her eyes?
• Will Machen MacDonald and his partner ride or walk a horse into the auditorium to start his first dance?
• Should Belle Star have her legs insured for $1 million by Lloyds of London, or should she buy local, and have Anthony Halby Insurance, take out the policy?
• Will Hollie Grimaldi Flores totally cut loose, releasing her inner Shirley Bassey?
• Was the real motivation for Rob Lambert to shoot his latest “Man on the Street” video at the Nevada County Fair, done just to steal some last minute signature dance moves?
• Allison Swartzendruber has stated her plan is to win all three trophies. Smack-talk, perhaps. Two other dancers are determined to stop her in that pursuit. Who are they, and will they succeed?
• Is Dr. Brian Evans really writing a series of self-help books entitled, “From Doctor to Disco in 6 Easy Steps” or “Don’t Bust a Hip, Busta Move.”
Those with inquiring minds can get resolution to these questions and more with the purchase of a $25 ticket for Friday’s performance. Tickets are available online at http://thecenterforthearts.org/tickets/, by calling 530-274-8384 ext 14, or in person at The Center for the Arts, 314 W. Main Street in Grass Valley. Doors open at 7 p.m.
A portion of the proceeds from Dancing With Our Stars will fund improvements to meet Americans With Disability access to the stage area at the 308-seat venue at the Center.