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‘Dancing with the Corvallis Stars’ comes to the Majestic

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Ballroom professionals partnered with amateurs of varying skill levels. Fancy costumes. Video highlights from dance-training sessions.

Pretty much the only thing the Majestic Theatre’s “Dancing with the Corvallis Stars” is missing from the ABC show that inspired it is Tom Bergeron as host.

According to Majestic Supervisor Jimbo Ivy, the idea for staging a local version of the dance competition came from hosting annual workshops from the Utah Ballroom Dance Company, whose professional dancers use the space as a practice facility for two weeks before starting its season of helping communities around the country stage similar fundraisers.

Ivy, who will compete in the event, said he and the company's Mark Lowres have previously discussed a local event, but they couldn’t make it happen until this year.

The inaugural “Dancing with the Corvallis Stars” is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Majestic. (See info box for details.) The event features representatives of six Corvallis nonprofits competing to out-dance — and out-fund-raise — each other.

The winner will be determined by a combination of audience votes and scoring by a panel of three judges. Participants receive bonus points if they meet or exceed the $2,500 fundraising goal each organization has agreed to (the organizations get to keep the money they raise).

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Ivy, who's representing Corvallis Parks & Recreation’s scholarship fund, will be joined onstage by Chris Heuchert (da Vinci Days), Deborah John (The Arts Center), Jen Waters (Whiteside Theatre), Jon Hollis (Cornerstone Associates) and Kelly Volkmann (Corvallis School District Theaters). Competitors each get five one-hour training sessions with their professional partners; first rehearsals began Dec. 30.

“The pros do a good job teaching the dance,” he said. “They make it fun.”

Ivy said he will personally dance a cha-cha to AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.” He didn't know much about his competitors' routines, but he’s heard other performances will include a foxtrot, a nightclub two-step, a country two-step, a swing and a tango.

Plans for "Dancing" began coming together over the fall, with partner organizations committing to providing competitors by late October. Ivy said it wasn’t hard to get other organizations on board because it’s a fun concept.

“It’s not even really a competition," he said. "There’s a big trophy at the end, but everyone has fun and everyone makes money."

According to Ivy, the event's first half features the competitors’ performances, followed by an intermission where people vote for their favorites. The second half includes demonstration performances by the professionals.

Ivy said the Majestic would like to host similar events once or twice a year moving forward: “I think it’s going to become a Corvallis tradition and I’m really excited about that.”

Anthony Rimel covers education and crime in Benton County and weekend events across the Mid-Valley. He can be reached at anthony.rimel@lee.net or 541-812-6091.

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