Dancing with Freeborn County Stars gears up for its 4th year as a fundraiser

Published 9:35 am Friday, February 19, 2010

It may still be about a month away, but excitement is already building for the 2010 Dancing with the Freeborn County Stars.

On March 20, local personalities will be paired up with experienced dancers in what will be the fourth year of the fundraiser for the Freeborn County chapter of the American Red Cross.

Chapter Director Jeanie Opdahl said this year’s dancers have been practicing since the first week in January. Even with busy schedules, they have found time to meet each week.

Email newsletter signup

They’ve also had a few practices at Albert Lea High School — where the event is held — so they can get familiar with the stage.

“They’re doing remarkably well,” Opdahl said.

This year’s program will include:

Emily Bernau dancing the cha-cha with Mike Walker

Martin Bernau dancing the waltz with Sally Walker

Sindy Dickey dancing the tango with Mark Thompson

Albert Lea Schools Superintendent Mike Funk dancing the fox-trot with Dawn Thompson

Ebenezer Howe III dancing the two-step with Angie Stadheim

John Kluever dancing the hustle with Bev Rothmeier

Jennifer Levisen dancing the swing with Dana Nelson

Kim Nelson dancing the rumba with George Rothmeier

What: Dance with the Freeborn County Stars:

When: 2 and 7 p.m. March 20

Where: Albert Lea High School auditorium

Tickets: $15 reserved seating, $10 general admission; purchase tickets at the Red Cross office, 1608 W. Fountain St., Doyle’s Hallmark, Ben’s Floral & Frame Design, and Celebrations Party & Gifts.

Winners are based 50 percent on judges’ scores and 50 percent on votes from the audience.

Attendees vote for their favorite couple by donating money into that couple’s bowl during the intermission.

The difference in this year’s event — compared to year’s past — is that there will be two performances to accommodate more people.

“Every year we’ve had it, we’ve had to turn people away,” Opdahl said.

There will be shows at both 2 and 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

Opdahl said with the 2 p.m. show, organizers will count the money for each couple like they normally do during intermission, and the top three couples will be named alphabetically.

Then, at the 7 p.m. show, the scores and money donations for both performances will be totaled to name the first-, second- and third-place winners.

This means just because a couple was in the top three in the afternoon show, that wouldn’t necessarily mean they’d be in the top three at the end of the day, depending on the crowd, she said.

Dancers will perform the same routines in each show.

Opdahl said last year’s event raised about $23,000. The year before, it raised even more.

“Every year it has gone beyond my expectations,” she said. “I’m just so grateful for the community for the support we get — for the businesses that sponsor and for the people who come and watch the show.”

Reserved tickets are $15, and general admission tickets are $10. Tickets can be purchased at the Red Cross office, 1608 W. Fountain St., Doyle’s Hallmark, Ben’s Floral & Frame Design, and Celebrations Party & Gifts. Reserved tickets can only be purchased at the Red Cross office.

Opdahl said there are still reserved tickets and general admission tickets available for both shows, but there are less available for the 7 p.m. show.

Dancers practice at the Dance Yourself Silly studio in the Skyline Plaza and are being instructed by Roberta Grahn and Joyce Matthies.

All money raised will stay in Freeborn County and fund local Red Cross programs.

The Red Cross provides immediate needs for those impacted by disasters, including house fires and weather-related problems.

It also provides training and education for first aid, CPR, baby-sitting, preparedness, pandemic and flu-related topics.

It serves as a link between people serving in the Armed Forces and their family members at home.