Dancers square off in competition

The benefit will mirror popular TV show “Dancing with the Stars.”
Thursday, May 31, 2007 | 12:52 a.m. CDT; updated 6:33 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

The Missouri Contemporary Ballet will team up with the Twilight Dance Studio to be host to the first-ever, “Dancing with Missouri Stars,” tonight at the Hearnes Center. Dancing will begin at 7 p.m.; tickets are avaliable to the public for $20 and students for $10.

The event will benefit the not-for-profit company and will be run similarily to the television show, “Dancing with the Stars.” Ten mid-Missouri celebrities have been practicing with an instructor from Twilight Dance Studio for two months and will perform two ballroom dances. Karen Grundy, art director for MCB and producer of “Dancing with Missouri Stars,” said the celebrities were required to take 16 hours of lessons from their partners at TDS, but many of them have gone over.

“I think they’re having a good time. A lot of them are competitive, so they want to win,” she said.

Round one of the benefit will feature a tango dance while round two features cha-cha. Only six will remain for the second round after the audience votes. It will cost the audience $1 for every vote in the final round. According to Joe Fountain of Twilight Dance Studio, entertainment will be provided during the voting.

“We have a number by the ballet company and a program by the Twilight Dance Studio,” she said.

Cory Keck is one of the instructors from Twilight Dance Studio who will be performing tonight and said the process and timetable has been a challenge. He will partner with Darlene Johnson, one of the local celebrities.

“Some dancers dance for two years before entering a competition. I’m taking raw clay and turning it into something beautiful,” he said.

Outfits for the competition will follow traditional ballroom style with the men wearing pants, shirts and vests while the women wear dresses. Half of the cost for the dresses was provided by The Villager in Columbia.

The celebrities competiting tonight include Johnson who runs a local family business, Lori Anne Gaddy of Downtown Alterations, Kelly Gunderson of KRCG News, Chester Lampkin, a meteorologist at KRCG, Jerry Price of Summit Travel, Norm Ruebling of MO-X, Vicki Russell of The Columbia Daily Tribune, Bill Sheals of Murry’s, Don Stamper who served 12 years on the Boone County Commission, and Gary Tatlow, a former mid-Missouri trial lawyer. Judges include Fred Parry of Inside Columbia magazine and KFRU/1400 AM, Lisa Geger of MCB and John Swick, a professional ballroom dance judge. The event will be hosted by Doug Pugh, a Columbia attorney and columnist for the Columbia Tribune and Sarah French, Miss Missouri 2006.

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