The Big Time: Rogue Valley Stars Shine Bright for Sparrow Clubs Annual Event
Dancing with the Rogue Valley Stars expects to dazzle another sold-out audience with talent and heart this year at its annual fundraising event on November 10 sponsored by Newswatch 12 and Banner Bank. But, what makes a Rogue Valley star shine? Is it the biggest personality? Is it the most technically accurate dancer? Is it someone everyone in the Valley recognizes? Nope. It is the one who raises the eyebrows of everyone in the crowd with a special tutu.
“I remember one year, Ron Burgess with ReMax was one of our Stars. He really put his all into fundraising. His performance outfit was this fancy, expensive looking, all red suit. However, one of the fundraising donors he was trying to get on board told him he would donate $2000 to the cause if Ron wore a pink tutu instead of his red slacks for the matinee performance. Ron actually did it! He did a serious ballroom dance wearing a pink tutu! It was hilarious, but it also showed just how much some of these people care about helping the cause!” Matt Sampson, National Program Director for Sparrow Clubs, thinks the stars are the Sparrow Clubs kids, but tutus and tiaras do happen.
The very first year the event began in 2008, there was minimal planning, no decorations and a goal of clearing $5,000 if they were lucky. It made $14,000 and has grown ever sense with more participants, attendees, exhibition dancers and a new goal of reaching $100,000 in donations. This Saturday will be the event’s tenth year.
“In total, 103 local people have put their feet on the stage and have raised $440,000 for Sparrow Clubs to date,” says Sampson.
Eleven stars and their partners are being diligently coached by the experienced and talented, Marilee Grimm from Evergreen Ballroom this year. Grimm, who has been a performer and committee member in years past is excited about her new role as Dance Coordinator and talks about why she thinks America loves dancing, “Partner dancing is special in that one can relate with other people, make new friends and move one’s body to the music—which is a wonderful outlet and stress reliever and boosts one’s happiness. Watching others dance brings joy as well. Shows such as “Dancing with the Stars” invite us to share in the journey of learning, growing and accomplishing which inspires us all.”
The dancing is fun but is it worth all the hard work? A former participant and TV show host, Danielle Craig has this to say about her experience: “Taking part in DWTRVS was really one of the highlights of my life. As I was dancing each day, practicing for the big show—I was also attending Sparrow assemblies. It was an incredible experience to simultaneously raise money for Sparrow Clubs and then watch the very real way those dollars made a difference. I would start my day at an assembly with junior high school students rallying around one of their classmates in need of medical help—and an hour later I would be at the ballroom preparing to dance! It was such an emotional experience—to connect fundraising, dancing and each child in need of medical help.”
There is just something about dancing and competition that brings hope, joy and a presence of mind, body and spirit. In the words of Tom Bergeron, host from the “Dancing with the Stars” TV show that inspired Rogue Valley’s spinoff, “Be. Here. Now. When all else fails, grab a clown nose.” Or a tutu; whatever works, right?
The lineup of local stars can be found at dwtrvs.com.
Rogue Valley Dancing With The Stars
2 and 7 pm, Saturday, November 10
North Medford High School Auditorium, 1900 N. Keene Way Drive, Medford
$15 – $25