The scene is the Salmon Arm Secondary School’s gymnasium.
Dance music blares, people gather round the edges of the floor. Their palms sweat and their nervous anticipation can be felt in the air.
But it’s not the usual school dance.
It’s the first practice for this year’s crop of contestants for Dancing with the Shuswap Stars.
Now in its third showing, the dancers began to learn their salsa shimmies and finesse the foxtrot on Sunday, Sept. 9 in preparation for the Nov. 23 main event, which will see them take to the floor of the Salmon Arm Recreation Centre in a unique dance contest with the ultimate goal of raising funds for the Larch Hills Chalet Expansion and Shuswap Hospice.
With the previous events and fundraising for the chalet being so successful, the chalet project is well on the way to completion. So this year, Shuswap Hospice will be working and sharing in the proceeds, with a view towards taking on the fundraiser for future years.
A new element in the competition this year is the ability to vote with your dollars for your favourite performers before the event night.
By going to https://shuswapstars.ca/, people can choose to support the dance couple or pro-am team of their choice by making financial contributions to their efforts through online donations.
This will be tracked and can also be viewed online. It should make for a healthy rivalry as the competition date gets closer. Since winning the contest is largely based on which dancers attain the most purchased stars, advance contributions could give some of the teams an edge heading into the big night. The dancers’ performances on Nov. 23 could, of course, bring the audience to its feet and bring a rush of star purchases for a particular couple to help seal their first-place finish.
Increased costs have meant a change to pricing for this years tickets, which will be $75 each for the evening of entertainment, music, delicious appies and a opportunity for the audience to get up and boogie to the live band.
The popular Hot Wax and the Klister Sisters are taking a break this year, and so the sizzling sounds of the Legendary Lake Monsters out of Vernon will be taking their place along with Bryan Coffey of BC Sound behind the sound board.
Due to the popularity of tickets for last year’s event, this year’s group of dancers are being limited in the amount of tickets they can pre-purchase to ensure availability to the public.
Tickets will go on sale Sunday, Sept. 30 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the lobby at the SASCU Recreation Centre in Salmon Arm. Any tickets left over after the first sale date would then be sold at Wearabouts in Downtown Salmon Arm.