When the curtain rises at the Landmark Convention Center Temple Theater for the second-annual Dancing with the Tacoma Stars on Nov. 6, guests will recognize many of their favorite high-profile community members competing for top honors. This year’s competitors include Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland; Patricia Lecy-Davis, owner of Embellish Hair Salon; Jana Wennstrom, manager of public and volunteer programs at Tacoma Art Museum; John McGrath, sportswriter for The News Tribune; Ed McGuire, retired attorney; and Thane Davis, co-owner of Smooth and Juicy.
The judges are no strangers to the event, and even include last year’s winner and Lakewood Mayor Doug Richardson. In addition, the judging panel includes Rachael Costner, owner of SandsCostner Marketing; James Donaldson, owner of Donaldson Physical Therapy and member of NBA Hall of Fame; and professional ballroom judge Lynn Offutt. Last year’s Best Female award went to Emily West, who will serve as co-emcee, along with Steve Smith, college administrator for the University of Puget Sound.
All proceeds from the event benefit the Tacoma Musical Playhouse (TMP), and the organization hopes to raise at least $25,000, up from last year’s $18,000, according to Director of Development Diana George. “The money we raise at these events go toward a variety of programs such as a senior theater program, youth programs as well as scholarships,” George stated.
George is planning the event along with Studio 6 Ballroom co-owner Natasha Thayer, who “is a major asset to this event and the reason why it works,” George remarked. “Our contestants are very excited for the event this year, and have been practicing for months.”
Thayer is choreographing the men’s portion of the competition, and is looking forward to the final performance to see everyone’s hard work pay off. Although she admits coordinating schedules with all the competitors was a challenge, many of them have had fun with the rehearsals and spent much of their own time practicing the dances, as well. “Some of the dancers are really putting their character into each dance, which often helps them learn everything better and faster,” she said. “It’s been my job to make the process entertaining and easy for them, and it’s been so much fun. I’m very proud of the dancers this year and all the work they have put into the competition.”
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for a no-host bar for dinner-and-show ticket holders, and seating begins at 6:15 p.m. After dinner is served, the dance competition opens with the fox-trot, and a traditional ballroom competition schedule begins, with all males and their professional dance partners performing, with the females and their partners following.
In between performances, guests can take part in a mini-instructional class by the professionals at Studio 6 Ballroom. The second section of the competition will be modeled after the popular television show, with interviews and clips of the stars practicing their routines.
VIP tickets are available for $100 apiece, and include dinner, dessert and seats next to the dance floor; $75 tickets include dinner, dessert and tables on the first and second tier of the auditorium; $35 tickets are available for the show only. Each guest is welcome to vote for his or her favorite performer for $1 per vote. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the TMP box office at (253) 565-6867. The Landmark Convention Center Temple Theater is located at 47 St. Helens Ave. in Tacoma.