Exceptional talent and extraordinary generosity got the crowd going at the 4th Annual La Porte County Family YMCA Dancing Like a Star event at Blue Chip Casino on Friday night. Audience members brought more than bucks to the table — they also brought the noise.
Ten local celebrities spent three nights a week for at least two months training with professional dancers from Dimensions School of Dance to put on a high energy show. Their efforts were to help raise funds for the YMCA scholarship fund.
“We appreciate everyone who helps us build that scholarship fund,” said Cindy Berchem, CEO of the LaPorte County YMCA, “This is our largest fundraiser of the year.”
The fund helps ensure that all people are able to participate in Y programs and receive Y memberships regardless of their ability to pay. That means kids, seniors, and families can access the valuable services provided by the YMCA at no or low cost.
Dancing Like a Star draws from the generosity of the community by hosting a cocktail party with silent auction items for bidding as well as a wine pull followed by a dinner, so guests can gussy up and get down with their favorite dancers in town.
Each celebrity dancer helped raise funds by selling tickets and sponsorships and generally encouraging everyone they know to vote for them — at a low cost of $5 per vote.
There are four awards handed out at the end of the friendly competition, giant mirror ball trophies that lend credence to the bragging rights of every winner.
The Big Bucks Award went to Micky Gallas of Long Beach, who raised nearly $10,000 by the end of the evening. Gallas also won the People’s Choice Award, as certainly those 710 votes helped her win the Big Bucks.
Britt Whitfield of Chicago was dressed in white feathers to support her friend Gallas, who danced to Prince’s “When Doves Cry.”
“We’re here to watch Micky dance and support the YMCA,” Whitfield said, speaking on behalf of her similarly suited companions, “That’s why we’re dressed like birds!”
Sean Mitchell of SERVPRO, who danced the Jake with Hannah Pender to “Shake Your Tail Feather,” had a huge hand from his cheering section, allowing him to take home the Spirit Award.
Jeremiah Mellen of Michigan City also partnered up with Pender, and their action-packed iteration of “This Is Me” won him the Judge’s Choice Award.
“I do theater, but the dancing has been minimal,” Mellen said, explaining “The choreography is all Hannah.”
Mellen was allowed, however, appropriate fist pumps as he saw fit. Perhaps it was that level of personality and vulnerability that helped him earn the extra point that won him the Judge’s Choice Award.
After all the cheering, dancing, bidding, socializing and dining, the night was certainly a huge success. The community pulled together to celebrate all the ways the YMCA helps build healthier individuals and stronger communities.
If you would like to help support the La Porte County Family YMCA scholarship fund, visit lpymca.org
La Porte, IN 46350
Visit La Porte County Family YMCA Partner Profile