Dancing for a cause

Dancing with the Vernon Stars raises funds for the North Okanagan Hospice Society

David and Carol MacBain (Salvation Army) will be dancing the salsa at the Dancing with the Vernon Stars fundraiser for the North Okanagan Hospice Society Sept. 30.

David and Carol MacBain (Salvation Army) will be dancing the salsa at the Dancing with the Vernon Stars fundraiser for the North Okanagan Hospice Society Sept. 30.

Local celebrities are dusting off their dance shoes and polishing their moves for the fourth annual Dancing with the Vernon Stars.

Digital Dean Photography and Cheek to Cheek Dance Studio present Dancing with the Vernon Stars, a fundraiser for the North Okanagan Hospice Society, on Sept. 30 at the Vernon Recreation Complex auditorium.

“When we first started, I knew very little about hospice, now four years later I have personally experienced and better understand the importance of the North Okanagan Hospice Society,” said Lorna Robb of Cheek to Cheek. “My dad, George Robb, died there on March 14 of this year.”

A total of 10 dance couples will compete this year. Seven well-known personalities will grace the dance floor with their Cheek to Cheek instructors and try to win the audience votes and one of two trophies: Audience Favourite and Overall Winner.

Three local celebrity couples will also be dancing.

Robb is teaching the salsa to David and Carol MacBain (Salvation Army), a nightclub two-step to Christine and Gordon Molendyk (RCMP) and a hustle to Susan Schaffer and Denis Letourneau (Okanagan Symphony).

“I can’t play favourites, they are all unique, talented and competitive couples really working hard for a very good cause,” said Robb.

Well-known instructor Ruth McGrath is not as diplomatic as she garners votes for her guys.

“Charlie Veaudry (Century 21) is doing a sexy West Coast Swing and (Hypnotist) Troy Mitchell will make you melt with his tango,” gushes McGrath.

One of last year’s winners, Heather Stranks (Vernon Figure Skating Club) is now a Cheek to Cheek dance instructor and is making Klaus Tribes (KT’s Restaurant) dust off his dancing shoes in a Viennese Waltz.

No stranger to drama, Maureen “Mo” Ruscheinsky (Powerhouse Theatre) will be dancing the Paso Doble with instructor Jens Goerner.

Goerner contacted Cheek to Cheek after attending the event two years ago. He had been a dance studio owner and instructor in Germany and had recently relocated to Salmon Arm.

One of the newer instructors, Jaedan Jensen, is excited to dance with two ladies. Melina Moore (Valley Vocal Arts) will be dancing a cha cha to the song Broadway and Sheila Odney (North Okanagan Hospice Society) will waltz to Edelweiss.

And of course, we cannot forget auctioneer, Better Business Bureau consultant and Kiss FM personality, Kevin Rothwell dancing a foxtrot with lovely instructor Rebekah Cooper.

Co-presenter, Dean Cebuliak, of Digital Dean Photography, was a celebrity dancer in the 2009 event. He knows first-hand the commitment and courage it takes to step out of your comfort zone and dance.

“As I took a more active role this year in finding sponsors I was amazed at the excitement of local companies to become involved,” said Cebuliak.

First on board were Naked Media, The Morning Star, Kiss FM and Wayside Printing. Sponsorships are still rolling in and Robb and Cebuliak are eager to recognize the organizations whose generosity will make the event bigger and better than ever.

“On Sept. 30 we will dance for our loved ones who have passed away. We will dance to celebrate a community who understands that the end of your life is just as important as the beginning of your life. We will dance to celebrate the great quality of life we have in the Okanagan and the ability to also have a quality end-of-life experience,” explains Robb.

Tickets will soon be available from the dancers, Cheek to Cheek Dance Studio and at the North Okanagan Hospice Society website: www.nohs.ca.