The Herald Bulletin

January 18, 2014

Leaders anxious to 'Dance Like the Stars'

Performers prepare to show off moves in Saturday's competition

By Kelly Dickey
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — This year’s “Dancing Like the Stars” (DLTS) competition is just around the corner and there seems to be one universal truth among its contestants: dancing is hard.

Fourteen community leaders and professional dancers will take the stage in the sixth annual competition 6 p.m. Saturday at the Paramount Theatre.

St. Vincent Mercy Hospital’s Jeff Lawson said his partner, Tracy Martin, had her work cut out for her.

“They would have been better off if they gave her a circus bear to practice with,” Lawson said. “It would have been easier for her.”

The pair will perform the cha-cha, and Lawson said he hopes all of their practicing will pay off. They started rehearsing for an hour once a week in late October until mid-December. That’s when they started rehearsing three times a week.

“I’m on the (performance) side of it and I have no idea what it will look like to the audience,” Lawson said. “I’m just hopeful I don’t embarrass myself, Tracy or my organization.”

Friends told Lawson he’d be surprised how quickly dancing would get him in shape, but it was more than that. Learning the dance steps and coordinating the moves were difficult.

It was especially hard when it came to leading the dance.

Lawson said when they first started rehearsing, Martin naturally took the lead since she is the teacher. The more they progressed and he thought they were dancing well, the more she expected him to step up and take charge.

“I do think (the inexperience) makes it hard for the man who’s supposed to be the structure and the girl is the one making it pretty,” he said. “But I would feel like (being) a female with no experience would be a lot harder.”

Dentist Molly Weiandt wasn’t prepared for how challenging dancing would be for her. She said even though she’s athletic, dancing has been harder than the four half marathons she ran this season.

“I run about 25 miles a week but I still lost weight when I started dancing,” she said.

Learning dance techniques are difficult enough for anyone to learn, she said, but picking up on how to do a dance and learning intense choreography at the same time for the competition is a feat most people don’t have to overcome.

To make sure she’s ready for competition day, Weiandt has been practicing the cha-cha twice a week since early October with professional Darren Cupp, who is participating in the competition for the first time.

Professionals Seth Hale, Diana Miller and Kim Chastain are also entering the competition for the first time this year.

Previous winners returning to the competition include dance professionals Rob Jenkins, Scott Shook, Monica Lung, Ed Godby-Schwab and Yulia Shook.

For the first time, the Anderson Ballet Company will perform two songs while the judges tally their scores and there will be an additional professional dancer judging the competition, DLTS co-chair Nancy Anderson said.

She said they’ve raised more than $160,000 for the Paramount Theatre from the competition over the years, and this year she wants to break the $200,000 mark.

Tickets for the competition are still available, Anderson said. Seat prices range from $20 to $37 and can be purchased online at andersonparamount.org or through the Paramount Theatre box office. Only a handful of tickets for a VIP after party, which cost $15, in the Hardacre Ballroom are left.

Other pairings include John Donohue of Anderson Community Schools and Marie Roach of Indianapolis, who will perform the Argentine tango; Kaylee Dunham of the Madison County Health Department and J.C. Bryant of Indianapolis, performing the samba; Jaime Linscott of Linscott Photography and Cary Pettit of Indianapolis, performing the west coast swing; Dr. William Kopp of St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital and Lung of New Palestine, performing the swing, and Becky Chapelle of Anderson University and Hale of Indianapolis will perform the hustle.

Other contestants include: Dana Stone of Anderson Symphony Orchestra and Scott Shook of Camby, performing the bolero; Lisa Putnam of Hoosier Park Racing and Casino and Godby-Schwab of Lapel, performing the cha-cha; Jeanne Fredericks of Fredericks Inc. and Rob Jenkins of Indianapolis, performing the rhumba; attorney Ron McNabney and Yulia Shook of Camby, performing the fox trot; David Schwartz of Toles Flowers and Diana Miller of Fishers, performing the tango; Zachery Kerr of Phillippe Water and Kim Chastain of Indianapolis, performing the tango and actor/writer Eric Schroeder and Jennifer Luna of Indianapolis, performing the rhumba.

 

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Tickets cost $20, $30 or $37 and can be purchased online at andersonparamount.org or through the Paramount Theatre box office. Tickets for the VIP after party in the Hardacre Ballroom cost $15. Contestant pairings include John Donohue of Anderson Community Schools and Marie Roach of Indianapolis who will perform the Argentine tango; Kaylee Dunham of the Madison County Health Department and J.C. Bryant of Indianapolis performing the samba; Jaime Linscott of Linscott Photography and Cary Pettit of Indianapolis performing the west coast swing; Dr. William Kopp of St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital and Monica Lung of New Palestine performing the swing; Jeff Lawson of St. Vincent Mercy Hospital and Tracy Martin of Indianapolis performing the cha-cha and Becky Chapelle of Anderson University and Seth Hale of Indianapolis will perform the hustle. Other contestants include: Dana Stone of Anderson Symphony Orchestra and Scott Shook of Camby performing the bolero; Lisa Putnam of Hoosier Park Racing and Casino and Ed Godby-Schwab of Lapel performing the cha-cha; Jeanne Fredericks of Fredericks Inc. and Rob Jenkins of Indianapolis performing the rhumba; attorney Ron McNabney and Yulia Shook of Camby performing the fox trot; David Schwartz of Toles Flowers and Diana Miller of Fishers performing the tango; Zachery Kerr of Phillippe Water and Kim Chastain of Indianapolis performing the tango; dentist Dr. Molly Weiandt and Darren Cupp of Indianapolis performing the cha-cha and actor/writer Eric Schroeder and Jennifer Luna of Indianapolis performing the rhumba.