News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 29, 2012

Dancing with the Terre Haute Stars raises $126K

Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Twelve community members stepped outside their comfort zones Friday and became the latest group of dancing celebrities as part of the 2012 Dancing with the Terre Haute Stars event.

“You’re in for a great show,” master of ceremonies Julie Henricks told the crowd estimated at 1,040 in Hulman Center.

From Sue Jarvis’ Quickstep, to Bernice Helman’s Merengue, the dancers didn’t disappoint. Friends, family and fans liberally cheered on their favorite dancers — and favorite moves.

This year’s first place winner was Amy Anderson; second place, Bernice Helman and third place, Mike Roberts.

The sixth annual Dancing with the Terre Haute Stars again was a sellout; it serves as a fundraiser for CHANCES for Indiana Youth, a nonprofit agency that provides programs aimed at keeping youth away from drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

This year, the event grossed just over $126,000. Last year, the event grossed $117,000.

The judges this year were a funeral home owner, Gary Greiner, and two politicians, State Rep. Clyde Kersey and State Sen. Tim Skinner. Judges were pretty liberal with dispensing the highest score possible, a 10. Dancers could receive an 8, 9 or 10 from each judge.

“I liked the hip action,” Kersey told Roberts, who did the Cha Cha.

Skinner responded: “That’s one thing Rep. Kersey is never going to be accused of — being hip.”

The annual event continues to grow in popularity, said Brandon Halleck, CHANCES executive director who also dances in the program; in fact, he danced with every female Star. He is a professional dance instructor with The Dance Studio.

“We have a new cast of local stars every year” who put their time and talent into the event, he said. “People love to come out and cheer on their friends and family members.”

Among the dancers this year was Ryan Adamson, a Terre Haute Police Department K-9 handler. He performed the “Swing” with Kate Zimmer.

“No I’m not a dancer, but I’m going to be tonight,” he said during a late afternoon practice session. “Here’s the deal. I’m going to give it my all. If I get up there and screw up really bad — hey, it’s all for the cause, so it doesn’t matter one way or another.”

He said he’s glad to help raise money for an “absolutely fantastic program that does a lot for young people.”

After his performance, when interviewed by Henricks, he said, “It was a blast.” He had much support from the police department.

Helman, who danced the Merengue with Halleck, described it during practice as “very challenging  … I am scared out of my mind. But it should be fun.”

It’s all for a good cause, she said. “I love what they do over there [at CHANCES]. The programs they have for youth are amazing,” she said. She’s done a lot of fundraising.

The winner is based on whoever raises the most money, not dancing ability. Participants receive 10 free dancing lessons with a professional instructor through The Dance Studio.

Every table of eight sold earns a dancer 200 points, and every other dollar raised earns one point. Dancers also can receive up to 10 points from each judge (30 total) on the night of the competition.

Another dancer, Christi Fenton, danced the Tango with Halleck. “It’s been fun — today was the first day it hit me that I’m a little nervous,” she said during rehearsal. She participated to support CHANCES. “They’re all about working with kids, and that’s my life. That’s what I do.”

Mitch Stauffer, superintendent of operations with Indiana American Water, danced the Samba, a Latin dance, with Barbara Lamb. When he started learning his dance routine this summer, “I was like — I didn’t know what I got myself into … I didn’t think I was going to make it in the beginning.”

On Friday during rehearsal, he said, “Ready or not, I’m going to do it.”

After he performed Friday, Henricks told him his dancing went “from a slow drip to a raging faucet.” She also teased that if he won, he might give everyone a discount on their water bill.

Stauffer said, “It went like a glove.” All the training came together, he said. One of his moves, which he called a “hip shake,” was a crowd pleaser.

Dancer and Tribune-Star editor Max Jones  did the Mambo with Kate Zimmer, and judges were impressed. Kersey responded, “Max, Max, Max … Who would have thought. All that talent you’ve been wasting away” at the newspaper.

Greiner commented to Jones and Zimmer, “This performance is what Dancing with the Terre Haute Stars is all about.”

Halleck said Dancing with the Terre Haute Stars represents about 10 to 15 percent of the agency’s budget. “It’s vitally important for nonprofits in today’s economy to be doing fundraisers,” he said. “This is what keeps our doors open, serving the youth in our community, and the families as well.”

Participants in the 2012 Dancing with the Terre Haute Stars competition included Max Jones of the Tribune-Star, Ryan Adamson of the Terre Haute Police Department, Eurico Ferreira of Indiana State University, Anne Elise Parks of WTWO, Christi Fenton of Vigo County School Corp., Sue Jarvis of Union Hospital, Amy Anderson of First Financial Bank, Mitch Stauffer of Indiana American Water, and J.D. Jones of Vectren, Bernice Helman of Troy Helman Realty and Patti Milazzo of Regional Hospital.

First Financial Bank was the title sponsor.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or