From poles to kilts and African drumming – the stars of the Eurobodalla certainly had it all covered on one of the biggest shire fundraisers of the year.
Tomakin Sports and Social Club was the centre of the action for the Cancer Council’s Dance for Cancer fundraising event on November 26.
Eight electrifying pairs and groups took to centre stage on the night for a cause close to many hearts.
Based on the popular Dancing with the Stars television show, the fundraiser saw community stars grouped with dance instructors of varying styles to rehearse a routine for the night.
Close to $22,000 was raised from the event, making it all the more worthwhile for the participants.
Judges were Bay Post/Moruya Examiner editor Kerrie O’Connor, dancer Vicki Mennie and Graeme Thom.
For many, the night symbolised months of hard work, many hours of watching dance videos on YouTube and a few injuries in between.
Some performers stepped up only weeks out from the big night, and hit the dance floor in front of a crowd of hundreds with only a few hours of practice under their belts.
Bay Theatre Players’ veteran Matt Burgess and dancing partner, Paige Davies, received the judges’ choice for their dramatic dance, humourously titled Last Tango in Tomakin.
Matt and Paige had only 10 days to get up to speed after Matt’s original partner, Sharon Mason of Narooma, had to surrender due to a knee operation.
Despite the tough task ahead of him, it was also a chance for Matt to redeem himself years after a failed foray into the world of dance.
“I did one day of dance lessons, a tap dancing class, and at the end of the lesson, the lovely instructress said would I mind not coming back again because all the ladies (in the class) laughed so hard they couldn’t dance,” Matt said.
Although a trained dancer and teacher, Paige was relieved to pull off the routine without a hitch.
“I’m so proud of not only what Matthew has achieved with the hard work, but (also) the amazing fundraising he’s done,” Paige said.
“I’m so pleased it all worked out. Everyone won in the end.”
Fitness and lifestyle coach Bee Smith of Narooma, and her partner in pole, Charmaine Brereton, took home the prize for the most money raised, at about $4000.
Bee credited her fundraising expertise to “harassing” everyone in her circles, she joked.
Their training was impacted when Charmaine fell ill with pneumonia just out from the big event.
“We only had five training sessions over three weeks,” Charmaine said.
Offstage drama also affected dancer Karen Winter, who battled through severe back pain during rehearsals.
Her dance teacher, Tara Moore of the Djeme Forte troupe from Narooma, said Karen juggled chiropractic and osteopathic treatments between practice sessions.
The Bay Post/Moruya Examiner’s own Kasia Currall dedicated her Great Gatsby-inspired performance to her mother, who she lost to breast cancer during year 12.
Kasia’s dance partner, Whitney Martin, lost her grandparents to cancer and has had three aunties battle the disease.