Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dancing for a Cause - Guest Blogger Lauren Harris!

Living in the diverse Traverse City area, we have many unique dining, shopping, and activity opportunities. Fundraising opportunities, in particular, have also become increasingly common and more creative in their efforts - Roller Derby’s, men wearing bra’s, or jumping into frigid water in the middle of winter (brr!).

One of the most creative fundraisers has grown exponentially within the past 5 years is SwingShift and the Stars, a local dance competition to raise money for charities.

As a fellow Young Professional in Traverse City, I also teach at The Dance Center two days/week and given the honor to be one of the six dance instructor’s. As a first year participant, I’ve been paired with a local star in the community, Lars Kelto, a local technology guru who has worked with the Traverse City Film Festival and the State Theatre.

                                                                                                                                                                      ^^^^^Lauren ^^^^^
Together we are representing the Great Lakes Children’s Museum, a local non-profit museum in TC, designed to educate children on the importance of our local environment in fun and engaging activities. It is such a fun charity to represent – and with Lars as a partner and his experience at the Old Town Playhouse, we are ready to win!

Similar to the popular TV show, Dancing with the Stars, six local stars in the community pair up with an instructor and represent a charity. The SwingShift in the name, refers to the local “uber talented” band, SwingShift, who performs all of the songs live at each event. Three judges score the couple’s performance and the collective audience vote counts as the last judge. How does the audience vote? Through a minimum $5 donation to their favorite charity. Voila!

In 5 years, they’ve raised over $600,000.00! That’s a boat load of money!

The event is inherently designed to be social. Outside of the 2 minutes each couple is dancing, everyone is socializing, having a local beverage and meeting new people. There’s even a group dance lesson the first half hour of the show for audience members!

The event draws a diverse crowd from all over the area, from different industries and background. Some previous Stars to participate have included:

· Bill Marsh, owner of Bill Marsh Automotive (and our most recent keynote speaker at the 2013 YP Annual Conference)

· Kelly Ignace – Director of Marketing for American Waste

· Erika Erikson – former local 7&4 news anchor

· Denise Busley – owner of Grand Traverse Pie Co.

Here are some sneak peeks behind the scenes and pictures of the fun from the first event held this past September. 

Don’t miss out on the FUNdraising for October 18th, November 15th, and December 20th for the Grand Finale.  Tickets are available at the City Opera House’s website.  No seat is a bad seat, especially since there’s so many reasons to be on the dance floor!

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