While ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” returns for a 14th season on ABC, inviting celebrities such as Maria Menounos, Gavin DeGraw, and Gladys Knight the perfect platform to reinvigorate their flabby careers, Case Western Reserve University faculty and staff are putting their feet to better use this March than even the B-list personas on cable television.
On Saturday, March 24 at 7 p.m., Dancing with the CWRU Stars, a campus tradition, will return for its third year to raise money to support local children with cancer and their families in the Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. The event is hosted by CWRU Dance Marathon, which also hosts the annual Dance Marathon in the fall. The organization has already raised $14,000 dollars since its inception three years ago, which has been given to deserving families struggling to empower their children in the fight against childhood cancer.
As the title suggests, members of the CWRU community are each paired with a professional Cleveland dance instructor and learn a dance to perform for the competition. Styles such as tango, mambo, salsa, and swing, are covered. While some CWRU faculty and staff are lucky enough to already possess the skills to stun the crowd, most enter the competition with no previous dance experience and a grueling few weeks of practice before them.
Last year’s event drew a considerable crowd. Lights, balloons, and flashy costumes were essential in setting the mood for the evening. In probably the only time any student has seen Officer Mark out of uniform, the crossing guard donned a suit and tie to the event.
Students can purchase tickets in Nord Hall or online. A ticket will run you $10 for special seating or $5 for general admission, and children five and uner get in free. The event takes place at Veale Center’s Horsburgh Auditorium.
Genine Apidone, a member of the Career Center staff, says she was approached to be in the competition by Mark Beatty, one of the Dance Marathon organizers. “I love new experiences and to help others,” Apidone wrote on her Facebook page with regard to the event. “Mark matched me with an amazingly talented and very patient instructor, Heriberto Perez, Latin Soul Ballroom, to learn how to dance. Slowly but surely, I am learning the samba!”
In addition to Apidone, this year’s faculty and staff “celebutants” are Sharon Milligan, the associate dean of student affairs at the Mandel School of Applied Sciences; Grover C. Gilmore, the Mandel School dean; Dan Akerib, physics professor; Greg Debeljak, head football coach; Linda Ehrlich, modern language professor; Bernard Jim, history professor and Observer faculty advisor; Emily Yoder, Greek Life; Andre Megerdichian, dance professor; Donna Hughes, Church of the Covenant staff; Jason Goodrick, department of emergency management; and Suzanne Leach, student activities and leadership staff.
Returning this year to MC the event will be Officer Mark with help from math professor Chris Butler. The audience will serve as judging panel – for those who have always wanted to be the Simon Cowell of the CWRU campus, now is your chance. But the competition is really all in fun; it’s a chance to see your campus favorites strut their stuff and support a great cause.