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‘Dancing’ gets local

 The Student Union Grand Ballroom will be twinkling as the Music Scholarship Alliance Board and the Golden Circle Board host their very first “Dancing with the Valdosta Stars” event Saturday, beginning with a social hour at 6 p.m.
This event is being held in an attempt to raise scholarship money for the music, theatre and dance programs.

 Similar to the television show, local and professional dancers will be paired with a local Valdosta “star.”

 There are eight couples, including pro Jeani Synyard, retired dance teacher and former studio owner, and star Dr.  Ronald Zaccari, former VSU president.

 Couples also include pro Eric Nielsen, VSU dance director, who is partnered with star Ashley Thompson, teacher at the Valdosta School of Ballet.

 Dr. Stephanie Gee was forced to withdraw due to surgery.

Jacque Wheeler, area head for theatre and dance, and Duke Guthrie, associate professor for theatre, are set to emcee.

 The various ballroom dances consist of the Tango, the West Coast Swing, the Cha-Cha, the Foxtrot, the Jive, the Merengue and the Swing. Each couple picked their own dance style.

 The attire for this brand-new event is described as being “black tie” optional.

The VSU Department of Music’s Jazz Combo will provide the music.

The event will open with a group dance number displaying a Waltz choreographed by Nielsen.

There will be an Audience Favorite Award given to the couple who sells the most tickets and that receives the most donations during the performances.

There will be no judges’ scores.

Aside from the audience award, all participants will receive a fun prize.

 “Since the event is a benefit, focus is placed on having ‘fun’ first and any level of competition is secondary to the objectives of this wonderful collaborative event,” Nielsen said.

According to Synyard, they attempted to find community leaders that wouldn’t mind helping to raise scholarship money.

“They are the ‘stars’ coupled with area dance teachers or dance/theatre majors at VSU,” she said.

There are hopes that “Dancing with the Valdosta Stars” can be an annual event.

“As it is, the VSU Ballroom Club’s biggest fund raiser is Dancing with the Greeks, which is already an annual event,” Nielsen said.

“It would be great to see the club also support Dancing with the Valdosta Stars in the future.”

Admission is $75 per person, which includes a dinner that will begin at 7 p.m.    

Shuttles will be available to pick up attendees from the Oak Street parking lot to take them to the Student Union.

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