With only 12 hours of dancing instruction, 12 “celebrity couples” and three dance teams will compete for “judge choice” and “people’s choice” awards, while raising money for Paramount Theatre.
Since this will be the 11th annual “Dancing Like the Stars” event, the theme is Diamonds and Denim, and everyone in attendance is encouraged to show off their rendition of the pair.
“This is a fundraiser for the Paramount Theatre, so the event is to raise money for the upkeep of the theatre,” said Taffanie McGhee, co-chair of the event.
Every year, “celebrities” are chosen based on their connection to the Anderson community, whether they live in the area, go to school there or work there.
Jenny Chambers, a “celebrity” dancer and an employee of the 911 dispatcher in Madison County, said she was recruited after meeting with the co-chairs to work out at the YMCA.
"Dancing Like the Stars" will start at 7 p.m. Jan. 26 at Paramount Theatre.
Anyone can vote for their favorite "celebrities" on their website.
“I’m involved in the YMCA in Anderson. I work out there, and I attend a lot of the fitness classes,” Chambers said. “[The chair and co-chair of the event] are both instructors at the YMCA. So, [I said] hey tell me about the event because I’m interested. I grew up in Madison County, and I thought it was a good way to give back to my community.”
After Chambers was paired with an instructor, she began commuting once a week to his studio in Indianapolis. Her and her partner, Rob Jenkins, have to learn two different swing dance routines for the competition.
“I’ve been practicing with my instructor since October, so we’ve been having lessons once a week for an hour,” Chambers said.
Alongside her rehearsals, Chambers has been trying to raise as much money as possible by getting creative with her strategy.
“I’ve been using social media to get votes. Also here at our dispatch center, we have a lot of law enforcement and a lot of first responders who come in and out of our facility,” Chambers said. “So, I’ve been having a little concession stand [set-up] at the entrance [for] if they’re hungry.
“You know, they work 12 hour shifts just like dispatchers at the dispatch center, so by having a money container out next to the chips, cookies and candy bars, I have been able to get a couple of donations that way as well.”
McGhee, who has been on the committee for two years, said she is very excited to see dancers like Chambers perform Saturday, and she enjoys watching the talent change from year to year.
“To host [the event] is just really exciting to be a part of, and this event means a lot to me,” McGhee said. “Being able to see our Anderson community come together and sponsor each other, to see our dancers perform, to see some do something they have never done before, to see professional instructors come from different places in the world and teach our dancers; it’s quite an honor.”
Last year, the event brought in $550,000, and McGhee said the committee hopes to top that this year.
Tickets for the event are still available, and voting for favorite celebrity director is open as well. Tickets are between $20-37, with tax fees. The event will start at 7 p.m. Jan. 26 at Paramount Theatre.
Also, there will be a VIP party help afterward from 10 p.m. to midnight in the Hardacre Ballroom.
More information about “celebrities,” instructors and teams, as well as voting, can be found on the event's website.
“I’m excited about it. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous,” Chambers said. “I think it will be a fun time for all my family and friends. Also, it feels good to give back to the community I grew up in.”