LEWISBURG — Everybody may not be doing the cha-cha-cha, but ordained clergy members will be doing their best rendition of it at an upcoming fundraiser. Sue Jamison, appointed to a fundraising ministry for Albright Care Services and Ann Keeler Evans of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Susquehanna Valley are among at least six couples from all walks of life who have teamed up to compete.
The Dancing with the Stars fundraiser for the Central Pa. Aphasia Center is planned for 7 p.m. Saturday at the Silver Moon Banquet Hall, Lewisburg. Visit www.aphasiacenterpa.org for ticket information.
“We dance a lot together,” noted Evans.
“She leads, I follow,” Jamison added.
Jamison and Evans are currently rehearsing, and much like the event’s namesake television show, will perform in costume. Exactly what they will wear may be among the many surprises planned for the night.
Evans said she may go the formal route, and wear tails.
“I’ll be in a dress,” Jamison noted. “I’ll be the girl.”
Evans said her first dancing experience was in the 1960s, dancing to rock ‘n roll. She wasn’t introduced to ballroom style dancing until a trip to Sweden as a Rotary International exchange student.
“Kids would go out on Saturday nights to parks with pavilions ...I learned to polka and waltz,” she added.
“Strictly Ballroom,” a film about competitive dancing was among Jamison’s influences, as well as American urban dance styles.
“I grew up in the ‘70s,” Jamison said, recalling her church work at the time. “I learned ‘the bump’ from my black Pittsburgh friends before anybody.”
Wedding receptions were also helpful learning experiences, Jamison said, as was liturgical dance, a style geared to worship.
Kyle Winans and Lura Wasileski Good plan a hip-hop influenced routine, appropriately to the anthemic “Bang Bang vs. Shake it Off.”
Good, who teaches French at Shamokin Area High School, brought her dance expertise to the competition for personal reasons.
“My mom works at the Aphasia Center,” she said. “It is a cause near and dear to my family.”
Good noted the good work done by the organization for a cause that is sometimes overlooked.
“You don’t hear too much about aphasia,” she added. “Traumatic brain injury, people who suffer from a stroke...their families and they themselves need support as well.”
Winans, Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way administrative assistant, said rehearsals were hard work but fun work.
“I get so much time to spend with my best friends,” he said, noting that he danced at the inaugural of the event last year.
To ensure a top-notch performance, Good and Winans enlisted the services of a choreographer. Emily Richardson of Shamokin described sharing her love of dance with them as awesome.
“This is my thing,” she said. “I have taken (classes) from Moyer’s Institute of Dance since I was four...and I danced in college a little bit.”
Richardson, a production assistant at the ABC television affiliate in Harrisburg, said her influences included Bob Fosse, the Broadway stage legend, and modern ballet proponent George Balanchine.
Richardson credited Good and Winans for their personal creativity.
“It’s really fun to see their personalities to come out,” she said. “I’m like a proud mama.”
Richardson supplies cues during practice and also admired the time and effort her dancers are putting in.
“They were sweating bullets,” she observed after a recent rehearsal.
Judges will include David Paulsen, Bucknell University men’s basketball coach, Paula Reber, Linntown Intermediate School principal and Nancie Wagner. The night will emceed by Ali Stevens and Drew Kelly. Tara Michaels, of the Aphasia Center said there would be lots of surprises, including an exhibition by Bucknell University dancers, and at least one “Wildcard Couple” to be announced.
Staff Writer Matt Farrand can be reached at 570-742-9671 and via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.