The fourth annual Dancing with the Vernon Stars fundraiser for Hospice House features local dancers putting their own stamps and steps to memorable show tunes.
The Tribute to Broadway, presented by Digital Dean Photography and Cheek to Cheek Dance Studio, took on the task of teaching 10 celebrity couples new dances for the colourful, upbeat show slated for Friday at the Vernon Recreation Centre.
Klaus Tribes, owner of KT’s Heritage Restaurant, brings his experience to the stage.
“I used to dance a lot when I was younger. When Lorna asked me to be in the show and told me it was for Hospice House, I said yes right away,” he said. “I thought it would be a piece of cake but it didn’t all come back to me and it was a brand-new experience, just marvelous.”
Tribes, 71, the oldest dancer in the show, learned the Viennese waltz with Heather Stranks and they will dance to A Chimney Sweep’s Dream from Mary Poppins.
“She is the most patient, wonderful instructor, ever so good. I come on stage with my tails, top hat and broom. dragging myself home after a long day’s work on the rooftops of the city. I doze off on a bench and wake up in old Vienna waltzing with the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen. Then she spins out of my dream and pick up my hat and go on, crestfallen that my dream is over,” he said.
Tribes got into the act buying his own tails, providing an old top hat that he uses for costumes, and making a chimney sweep’s broom from online instructions.
“It’s been a lot of fun and I think I will take some more dance lessons,” he said.
Hypnotist Troy Mitchell of Troy Mitchell Entertainment didn’t take much convincing to participate, either.
“It was an instant yes. When I can help a worthwhile cause and have fun doing it, I will,” he said.
He had done some hip hop dancing but never the tango, which he will dancing with Ruth McGrath.
“She’s a great teacher and the lessons were fantastic. It was a workout getting my body to move the way it was required to move but it was worth it. I bought dance shoes so I’ll keep up dancing now.”
Look for Mitchell in his purple shirt, black pants and patent black and white shoes.
David and Carol MacBain of The Salvation Army had done little dancing beyond a few lessons but they were eager to take part in the fundraiser. They took lessons in salsa, a dance they had never tried.
“The biggest challenge was to remember all the steps. It’s been a lot of fun and something we can do together,” said Carol. Her daughter found her a hot pink dress from France online and David bought his white linen suit on Bay Street when they were on holidays in Toronto.
“The dance is high energy and we had to get more fit to keep up. We’ve really enjoyed it. We know the good work Hospice House does in the community and we wanted to give back to the community because it gives such good support to the food bank,” he said.
The Vernon Stars marquee also includes Gord and Christine Molendyk (RCMP) dancing a nightclub two-step to It Takes Two from Hair Spray.
Okanagan Symphony violinists Denis Letourneau and Susan Schaffer show another side in a disco hustle to Shake Your Groove Thang.
Kevin Rothwell of KISS FM does a suave foxtrot to New York, New York with partner, Rebekah Cooper, while Charlie Veaudry of Century 21 and Ruth McGrath show why west coast swing is so popular.
Singer Melina Moore of Valley Vocal Arts shows her Latin roots in the cha cha with Jaeden Jensen, then Jensen dances again in a graceful waltz with Sheila Odney of Hospice House.
Maureen Ruscheinsky, representing Powerhouse Theatre and Sutton Realty, gets dramatic in the bullfighter-inspired paso doble with Jens Goerner.
The Tribute to Broadway includes a show with professional dancers Jeni MacMillan and Warren Eaton (Latinesque, Kelowna); Sharon Sebo (Dance4Life, Kelowna), Tom Selzler (Dance Connections, Kelowna), and the Cheek to Cheek dance team.
The judges are Ed Stranks (2010 winner), Tom Selzler (Dace connections, Kelowna), Celeste Sali (Bootsteps West) and special guest judge singer Darby Mills.
The dancers are competing for three trophies: Best Amateur Couple, Best Pro-AM Couple, and Community Favourite, decided by most votes at dwtvs.com ($5 donation to Hospice Society per vote) and on the night of the show.
The master of ceremonies is Dawn Tyndall from KISS FM.
Dean Cebuliak, of Digital Dean Photography and Lorna Robb, of Cheek To Cheek Studio, and the instructors, who volunteer their time for the dance lessons, choreography and performances, have been working long hours to get everything ready.
“I have always appreciated Hospice and what they do but now I understand and value it so much more,” said Robb, whose father died at Hospice House earlier this year.
Cebuliak was a dancer two years ago and also does the photography for the show.
“When I was asked, I said, ‘I’m a celebrity?’ but I stepped out of my comfort zone and took the lessons. The next year I was a judge and now I’m a co-sponsor,” he said. “I’ve got 24 other corporate sponsors and I’m working on the business end, the technical stuff, the website, video and promotion. I’ve put in hundreds of hours and I really enjoy it and I’m finding my place in the event.”
He hasn’t forgotten dancing, he will be part of a group performance wearing his white tie and tails.
Dancing with the Vernon Stars Tribute to Broadway takes place Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.) at the Recreation Centre Auditorium. Although the event is sold out you can still support the North Okanagan Hospice Society by contributing to the fundraiser and voting for your favourite star.
To nominate a celebrity to take part in next year’s show contact Robb at Cheek to Cheek at 250-545-6539.