Dance to the music

By Kimberly Jenkins -

One of last year’s couples dancing at DWTS.

One of last year’s couples dancing at DWTS.

Last year’s group of dancers, dancing together.

Dance, Dance, Dance…One of the most popular shows is all about dancing — Dancing with the Stars.

Portsmouth is not going to be left out of the entertainment that show gives to the television audience, as it prepares for its own version of Dancing with the Stars in March 2018. The first thing the American Red Cross does to help promote this event, it what they call their kick-off.

This year is no different, as The Ohio River Valley American Red Cross has invited the community to meet the new cast of Dancing With Our Stars 2018 at the “DWOS Kick-off” scheduled between 5 and 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 3, at the SOMC Friends Community Center on 18th Street.

Debbie Smith,Community Executive, from the American Red Cross says, “this is our sixth year and we’re excited because of Friday’s kickoff to meet the new dancers, and we’ve got another great line-up. We’re also using the theme, we’re doing the Dancing with the Stars hits Broadway. We are kind of mixing it up this year to get fresh and new. The dancers are selecting their favorite Broadway plays for their dance selections.”

The evening will begin with light hors d’oeuvres provided by the Fork and Finger Café, Portsmouth Brewing Co., Market Street Café, Port City Café & Pub, Fuzion Grill and Hot Heads along with a cash bar. Music will be provided throughout the evening by DJ Frankie Frank.

Dancing With our Stars featuring Broadway in 2018. Dancers will select their favorite Broadway musical and choreograph a dance of their choice to one of the musical’s songs. “To get everyone in the mood, we are inviting Kick-off guests to enter our “Dress to Impress” Contest by dressing as their favorite character from a Broadway Musical, said Smith. Character dress is optional, but the contest winner receives two seats for the 2018 show in March and that’s some of the exciting things on for this Friday.”

In addition the dancers will be competing for the most fans in attendance at the Kick-off with the winner receiving 500 bonus votes towards the coveted mirror ball trophy.

Four “pro” dancers are returning and the group includes two husband and wife teams including Scott Artis, a firefighter with the Portsmouth Fire Department with his wife Melissa; and Alisha Schmidt, Fashion Retailer and Trainer for LulaRoe with her husband Brandon. Reece Brown, Energy Advisor for Stand Energy Corp. is dancing with Autumn Dowdy who returns for her sixth season with the show; while Brian Stephenson, Director of Occupational Therapy at Compass Community Health, is looking forward to dancing with veteran “pro” dancer Dianne Coriell-Rice who returns for her fifth year. Sean Frazier, General Manager for the Portsmouth Bob Evans, is dancing with Kellie Bell; and Sean King, Program Director at Pulse FM 98.3 in Portsmouth, has teamed up with Toni Dengel who was a Star Dancer in the 2017 Dancing With our Stars. Scott Isaac, Director of Programming for the Juvenile Court for the Scioto County Court of Common Pleas – Juvenile/Probate Division, is dancing with Heather Cate who is also a returning “pro” dancer from the 2014 season. Jennifer Rapp, bartender and Assistant Party/Event Coordinator at Ohio’s oldest Brewery, The Portsmouth Brewing Company, will hit the floor with her partner Cody Colley. Cindy Burge, Owner/Photographer at 1OAK Photography & Design in Ironton who is dancing with David Markins. Rounding out the ten teams is Andrea Dyer Nurse Practitioner at Shawnee Family Practice.

Star dancers will spend the next four and a half months learning new dances and raising funds to support the local American Red Cross in their quest to win the coveted mirror ball trophy which is awarded to the Star dancer raising the most money. Smith added, “Some of them start early in their practicing, but others, we suggest that they at least start by January. I know a few of them have already started practicing and they’re already working on their fundraising for the Red Cross, already selling tickets for sponsorship’s for the main event.”

Kick off tickets are $10 per person and are available at the Red Cross office at 1801 Robinson Avenue; Neal Hatcher Real Estate, 902 8th Street or from any of the dancers or committee members. Tickets will also be available at the door the night of the event.

Sponsorship’s are currently being sought for the event scheduled for March 24, 2018. Smith says, “Right now we open it up for sponsorship’s first, so if someone is interested in sponsoring , they can contact the Red Cross office. And then, come January, any tickets we have left will be opened up for individual ticket sales, of course, sponsors get first choice of seats.” Now in its sixth season, Dancing with Our Stars is known for its sell-out crowd and generating funds to support the Red Cross programs in the community. A limited number of sponsorship’s are still available by contacting the Red Cross office at 740.354.3293 or any of the dancers.

All proceeds from Dancing With our Stars and the money raised by our Star Dancers support local disaster prevention, preparation and relief, the life-saving training of first aid, CPR/AED classes, collection and testing of blood and blood products, support to military members serving around the globe, the transportation program and international programs.

Small towns and cities are sometimes overlooked as places to find fun and interesting things to do, but bringing Broadway to Portsmouth and using local people to dance to their favorite Broadway music, just goes to show, this town does not want to be left out. The Dancing with the Stars kick-off this Friday, is a prelude to a much more glamorous and wonderful show to look forward to in March 2018.

One of last year’s couples dancing at DWTS. of last year’s couples dancing at DWTS.

Last year’s group of dancers, dancing together. year’s group of dancers, dancing together.

By Kimberly Jenkins

Reach Kimberly Jenkins 740-353-3101 ext. 1928

Reach Kimberly Jenkins 740-353-3101 ext. 1928