DANCING WITH THE STARS: Local celebs t take stage to raise funds

Published 8:34 pm Friday, January 10, 2020

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The news is out all over town. And people are talking about the upcoming “Dancing with the Stars: Troy Edition” on Friday, February 8 at the Claudia Crosby Theater on the campus of Troy University.

Kelly Sanders, event organizer, said Dancing with the Stars: Troy Edition is a benefit for the Patti Rutland Jazz Arts in Education Outreach Program, BEYONDance, which is the largest weekly outreach program in Alabama.

BEYONDance is in its third year at Troy Elementary School and all students in grades one through six are involved, weekly.

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BEYONDance carries a $12 per child price tag and Dancing with the Stars: Troy Edition will help fund the program at TES and, hopefully, help extend the program to other schools in the county, Sanders said.

“We are excited about Dancing with the Stars: Troy Edition and appreciate our dancers who are volunteering their time and talents to the program,” Sanders said.

On the dance floor will be familiar faces, Shelia Jackson, Tracy Jones, Jonah McWaters, Troy Weed, Jeffrey Bennett, Tonya Terry and Kelly Sanders.

Each local dancer will be paired with a professional dancer and each couple will perform its own choreographed dance.

Shelia Jackson said she is not a dancer and, laughingly, added that she probably won’t be one on February 8.

“But I’m going to do my best for the school and the kids, because a lot of them would not have this kind of opportunity if it was not for a program like this,” Jackson said. “I’m proud I was invited to dance.”

Jackson said she doesn’t know how the dancers will be scored but Sanders said creativity, imagination, energy, stamina and the loosening of all inhabitations will factor into the score.

Three awards will be given. The Judge’s Choice Award, People’s Choice Award and Overall Champion. The competition will be friendly but everybody is dancing to win.

“We only have a few weeks to practice,” Sanders said. “Dancing with the Stars: Troy Edition will be a fun and entertaining evening and, hopefully, become an annual event in support of BEYONDance in Pike County.”

Dancing with the Stars: Troy Edition was planned to accommodate the schedule of the professional dancers.

Even though “Dancing” is on the same night as the Colley Senior Complex Mardi Gras Gala, February 8, it is possible to do both, Sanders said.

“Dancing with the Stars: Troy Edition” will begin at 6 p.m. and will conclude at 7:30 p.m. leaving time to attend the Gala, where the dancing will go on into the night.

Tickets for Dancing with the Stars are $25 general admission and $15 for Troy University and PRJ Dance Center students.

Sponsorships for Dancing with the Stars: Troy Edition are available beginning at $500 Theater Sponsorships and increase in $500 increments up to the $3,000 Front Row Sponsor.  A Center Stage Sponsor is $5,000. Invitations to the VIP reception and reserved seating for the show are included in the sponsorships.

“BEYONDance is in its third year at Troy Elementary School and it’s amazing what the program means to the kids,” Sanders said. “All students in grades one through six benefit from the program as they are involved in dance as part of the physical education program. Professional dancers from PRJ are the teaching artists for the weekly outreach program.”

Sanders said the benefits to the students are many.

“Dance improves overall fitness and motor skills,” she said. “Teachers have said the side benefits of the dance program include improved conduct, communication and social skills. For many kids, dance gives them more of a sense of self pride and worth. The dance teachers say dance opens the doors to interaction, especially, among shy children and it’s amazing how much growth children make through dance.”

The BEYONDance program also offers dance education scholarships to the Troy Dance Center to students who wish to be more involved in dance.

All students in the BEYONDance program have an opportunity to perform in a dance program at the close of the school year.

There is no way to know the extent of the benefits of a school dance program, Sanders said.  However, the smiles on the faces of the children and their excitement and energy are good indicators that the benefits of BEYONDance are worth much more than the cost.