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May 14, 2008 > Dancing with your Local Stars

Dancing with your Local Stars

By Vidya Pradhan

If Shannon Elizabeth's hip-moves (or lack thereof!) and Cristian de la Fuente's scrumptious good looks are the topic of discussion Monday nights at your home, be prepared for a real treat on May 20. Local celebrities will take to the dance floor to recreate the popular show "Dancing with the Stars" at The Saddle Rack in Fremont.

The brainchild of the Tri-city Health Center, "Dancing with your Local Stars" is a chance for all to watch local celebrities strut their stuff as they tango and salsa around the Saddle Rack's stage. If you've been screaming in support of local favorite Kristy Yamaguchi, Dancing with your Local Stars is a chance to do it in person for people closer to home.

This is the third year that Tri-City Health Center (TCHC), a local non-profit community based center, is putting on this event. TCHC provides services to families in the community without health insurance. It hosts the now prestigious event to spotlight its mission and the amazing volunteers who give their time and energy to the organization.

"Dancing with your Local Stars" emulates the TV show as closely as possible. Local celebrities are identified (though given the popularity of the show, the problem is who to choose!) and paired with professional dance instructors in the area. The professionals generously donate their time and talent to the event.

This year, eight couples will take the stage, among them Fremont Councilwoman Anu Natarajan and Ohlone College Dean of Humanities Mikelyn Stacey (a full list is available at the end of this article). Dancers are given 6 to 8 weeks to practice; each couple determines their own practice schedule.

Councilwoman Natarajan has been paired with Richard Lane, the professional dancer who prevailed in last year's competition. "The challenge was the complete unfamiliarity with ballroom dancing," says Natarajan. "It was about getting out of my comfort zone in a lot of ways. There's no way I'll know everything in the short period of time we have to practice but I am reasonably confident I won't make a fool out of myself." Given the importance of the audience in determining who gets to win, Natarajan is looking for a cheering squad of friends and family to support her.

All dancers are expected to perform the salsa and the swing. Based on the judges' score (the judges are only allowed to score 8, 9 or 10!) and the audience roar, 4 couples will advance to the final round to dance the tango.

Before the final four take the stage, a break allows audience members to bid at a silent auction for goodies that include oil paintings, limo and wine tours in the Livermore Valley, a vacation rental at Lake Tahoe and many other items. A live auction will also be held before competition resumes giving the audience an opportunity to test their vocal chords when shouting support for the finalists of their choice.

"Dancing with the Local Stars" was a tremendous success last year and the Tri-City Health Center is expecting another large crowd to attend this year as well. It is a good idea to buy tickets early to support your favorite "star." Tickets to this must-see event go quickly, so hurry over to www.tricityhealth.org.

Dancing with your Local Stars
May 20
6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The Saddle Rack
42011 Boscell Road, Fremont
(510) 252-5835
www.tricityhealth.org

$35 per ticket


Celebrities:
Martha Anderson, The Greater San Jose Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Dominic Dutra, Dutra Cerro Graden
Dirk Lorenz, Fremont Flowers
Anu Natarajan, Fremont City Council member
Jim Navarro, Union City Council member
Hollman Perez, Newark Unified School District
Mikelyn Stacey, Dean of Humanities, Social Sciences and Math, Ohlone College
Lena Zee, Entero Real Estate Service

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