Dancing for a cause: Locals raise funds for performing arts programming | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Dancing for a cause: Locals raise funds for performing arts programming

Ginger Nicolay-Davis and Dino Elias tied for first place at last year's Tahoe Dancing with the Stars. They share their title with Lisa McDaniel and Sebastiani Romagnolo.
Courtesy / Lauren Lindley Photography |


Stars and pros in Tahoe Arts Project’s Dancing with the Tahoe Stars are Iris Kamm and Jorge Favio Orozco, Michelle Ludiker and Wolfgang Reichstine, Kelly Shanahan and Rainer Herm, Mandi Weavil and Gerzon Chaves, Lindsay Wines and Bob Truesdale, Jerry Bindel and Angela Smith, Travis Cabral and Rebecca Lincoln, Zion Finck and Rhonda Keen, David Greco and Angela Zajic and Chad Houck and Robyn Lindner.

Styles of dance include the waltz, cha cha, fox trot, cumbia, country, salsa, Broadway, hip hop, swing, and the hustle.

When Kelly Shanahan, a 22-year resident of South Lake Tahoe, was asked to compete in Dancing with the Tahoe Stars, she said, “Sure, that sounds fun,” even though it’s completely outside her comfort zone.

Shanahan, who has Stage 4 cancer, agreed because she believes in the mission of Tahoe Arts Project, which puts on Dancing with the Tahoe Stars as an annual fundraising event. Plus, her daughter, who attends South Tahoe High School, is active in dramatic arts.

“It’s something that I really believe in,” she explained. “I also have a terminal disease — I could care less about making a fool of myself.”

Though dancing can be challenging due to side effects of cancer treatment, Shanahan said she’s finding the whole process entertaining.

“I have pain, but I’m not going to sit around and not live,” she added. “I’m finding it very fun. My pro is patient and an extremely good teacher.”

Shanahan said she’s paired up with Rainer Herm, another longtime local who does “a lot of social dancing.” They will perform the hustle — not the line dance associated with “Saturday Night Fever,” but the couples dance.

“He’s a miracle worker,” she said.

Just like Dancing with the Stars on television, the premise of the event is to pair community members with dance experts. They’ll perform in a competition complete with costumes to raise money for a local cause. This year’s event is planned for Saturday, March 5, at the Montbleu Resort Casino and Spa Theater. Tickets for reserved seating are $15-$45.

Chad Houck, who works for South Tahoe High School, is paired with pro Robyn Lindner, an English teacher who also competed last year.

“We’re doing a swing dance routine,” Houck said. “It’s very aerobic, challenging and fun. Since we’re both from the high school, our costumes are Vikings colors, and we’re staying consistent with the time period.”

Both Shanahan and Houck expect a big turnout of family and friends supporting their efforts.

Dreu Murin, from KTHO radio, will act as master of ceremonies. Past winners will perform at the event as well.

According to a Tahoe Arts Project news release, “Our distinguished judges for the evening will be Marcia Sarosik, Don Bosson and Paul Middlebrook. The audience will have the opportunity to vote by text for their favorite couple. The judge’s scores along with the audience text vote will determine the winner. Audience members can also help decide the People’s Choice winner by making cash donations for their favorite couple.”

Shanahan said she hopes to earn the People’s Choice title.

“People can vote for their favorite star by going to the TAP website and clinking on the link,” she noted.

Peggy Blowney, executive director of Tahoe Arts Project, said the organization’s focus is to bring performing arts to local schools.

“Our annual budget is about $100,000,” Blowney said. “Dancing with Tahoe Stars raises about $30,000, which goes directly toward programming.”

For more information about Dancing with the Tahoe Stars and Tahoe Arts Project, visit http://www.tahoeartsproject.org. Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.tahoeartsproject.tix.com or by calling Tahoe Valley Lodge at 530-541-0353.

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