What do a firefighter, a reeve and a construction worker have in common?
Saturday night, it will be dance routines. And while the regular Joes will be having fun, the reason they’re dancing is no joke.
Those three community members — alongside a doctor, two fitness studio owners and a radio host — will be the first seven to take the stage for Prince Albert’s first Swinging with the Stars fundraiser.
Based on a successful fundraiser by the same name that’s been held in Regina and Saskatoon, Saturday’s event will be the city’s first. It pairs up seven local celebrities with professional dancers and dance instructors — sort of like the reality TV show Dancing with the Stars. Each couple presents their two to three-minute routine to a panel of four judges. In the lead-up to the event, they’ve been fundraising with the aim of raising the most money and becoming people’s choice.
All the money raised will support Hope’s Home.
“I picked people I knew would step out of their comfort zone a little bit or a lot and be taught how to dance,” explained Mickey MacGillivray, regional fundraising manager for Hope’s Home.
“It’s a fun event to raise money and awareness for Hope’s Home.”
MacGillivray has seen the event do well in both Saskatoon and Regina. Regina’s event also raises funds for Hope’s Home, while Saskatoon’s benefits the city hospital foundation.
“I’ve been to both, and I knew that if I put it out there to P.A. I would have people support it. It’s such a fun night out for people and people need nights out.”
The Prince Albert event sold out in just 28 hours.
“It was amazing,” MacGillivray said. “I did a happy dance. I cried a little bit. It’s amazing to know that people want to not only support P.A. but also these dances, who are members of our community and are really putting themselves out there.”
Those dancers are:
– Dr. Ayaz Ramji and his dancer partner Kim Schick, co-owner of Bold Dance Studio
– Chelsea of Power 99 and her dance partner, former USask ballroom dance instructor and current school board psychologist Randy Krammer who has been teaching dance on and off for three decades
– 4 Horseman Fitness owner Danielle Carter and her two-stepping partner and long-time friend Jason Zaleski (an RM of Buckland Councillor, grain farmer, school bus driver and country dancer who has been at it for years)
– S2dio Owner Dez Hesson and dance instructor Sean Overby
– RM of Prince Albert Reeve Eric Schmalz and Bold Dance Productions co-founder Brooke Wozniak
– Prince Albert firefighter Ryan Robin and Bold Dance Studio instructor Rachel Bremner
– B&B Asphalt Operations manager Todd Kulczycki and Bold Dance Studio instructor Lauren Williams
Krammer and Chelsea had a small fundraising event of their own Tuesday night at the Legion, giving people a taste of what to expect Saturday.
Over 50 people showed up to support the pair’s fundraiser.
“The support that’s backing you is cool,” Chelsea said. “It gives you the warm fuzzies when people are supporting you.”
Chelsea said she’s way out of her comfort zone. She had never danced before taking on the challenge four months ago.
“Hope’s Home is important to our family. Our children have gone there in the past so I’ve been able to see the inner workings of that home,” she said.
“The care they provide and the love they have for the kids is just really cool.”
She praised Krammer for his patience working with her over the past four months.
“No matter where I go, if anybody has taken his class before, they say ‘isn’t he the best?’” she said.
“He’s so great at what he does. He’s been so patient and I’m very grateful.”
Krammer said that as an educator, he loved that Hope’s Home also serves children. He also credited his dance partner with their success.
“She’s absolutely brilliant. I could never have dreamed of a better partner than her,” he said.
”She has an amazing attitude, positive, cooperative and willing to try everything in my wacky choreography. This is a high-level routine. It’s not a beginner or intermediate routine. I’m blessed with the best partner I could possibly imagine.”
While Krammer is an experienced dance instructor, he’s also stepping out of his comfort zone on the Swinging with the Stars stage.
“I never do showcase dances or performance dances,” he said. “(Chelsea) has been amazing in putting up with my choreography. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Krammer and Chelsea weren’t the only ones putting on a show as they got ready to perform in front of an audience.
“(Dr. Ramji) and his partner Kim have done dances all over the hospital, just trying to get out those jitters,” MacGillivray said.
“It’s one thing to dance in front of a mirror all by yourself with your dance partner. To get up in front of people is totally different.”
The dancers also have to get up in front of the four judges. They are Malcolm Jenkins of Canadian Tire, the title sponsor of the event; Jenna Baldry, a nursing supervisor at Hope’s Home, Ivan Trudel of Trudel Autobody and Saskatchewan Roughrider Zack Evans, who won Regina’s Swinging with the Stars event last year.
Even though this year’s event is sold out, MacGillivray is still getting calls from people hoping to buy tickets. The interest means they’ll be looking at putting the event on again next year “for sure.”
“I’m definitely looking for dancers for next year,” MacGillivray said.
“If anybody wants to step out of their comfort zone, I can help.”
While tickets are no longer available, residents can still vote for their favourite pair by donating at voteswts.ca.