Skip to content
Advertisements

Dancing with the Fairbanks Stars

#maturewomen dance attire Dancing with the Fairbanks Stars @ High Latitude Style @ http://www.highlatitudestyle.com
#over50 winning third prize at Dancing with the Fairbanks Stars
Adman Dewey and me in our dance attire posing with the trophy at the Tanana Valley Fairground

Dancing with the Stars

At the annual fair in Fairbanks, Dancing with the Fairbanks Stars is one of the cultural highlights. This venue is a fundraiser for the Lathrop High School Ballroom Dance Team. Someone had nominated me as one of the stars – as a fashion blogger – and I accepted the challenge to be on Dancing with the Fairbanks Stars. Nice ballroom gowns, which girl can resist?

The stars and professionals

Like in Dancing with the Stars a “professional”, i.e. one of the team members or alumni, dances with the stars. There were eight contestants in the competition, Blake Rosenberger, Colleen Redman, Samantha Alexander, Will Schendel, Spencer Alexander, Sheridan Heinrichs, Ryan Grimes, and me. The “professionals” were Katherine Mayo, Sam Pope, Alfredo Quiroga, Hope Hughes, Susie Spiers, Derrick Helms, Daa Lewis, and Adam Dewey.

Dancing with the Fairbanks Stars twirling
Demonstrating the movement of the ballroom dance gown at the dress rehearsal on the evening before the event at Ryan Middle School

The jury

Like on TV, there was a jury of three, Marie Roberts (US National & British Open Latin Formation Champion), Melody Harrison (Brigham Young University Ballroom Dance Company team member for two years), and Jerry Blemke (Southern California Latin Dance and hustle champion). The latter seemed to be the Leonard of the show.

members of the 2015 dancing with the Fairbanks stars competitors
Group photo of some of the members of the 2015 Dancing with the Fairbanks Stars competitors when starting to practice for the event
getting the skirt airborne Dancing with the Fairbanks Stars
Back view of demonstration of the movement of the dance dress at dress rehearsal on the evening before the show

The Fairbanksans

Like on TV, the audience also had a vote. Since it was a fundraiser, they could buy as many votes they wanted for one dollar each.

Warmup for Dancing with the Fairbanks Stars
Warming up for the afternoon show on the fairground with the event tent in the background. Unfortunately the light conditions were too bad for photos or videos. We had planned on videotaping the dance, and left the camera at home. Big mistake!

The Alaska stage

There was an afternoon competition and an evening competition. The stage in both cases was clean Alaska style meaning some construction lumber was nailed together to make a stage. The stage in the afternoon show was about 3 yards by 5 yards (2.74 m x 4.57 m), if at all and about 1.2 yards (1 m) above the ground. The one in the evening was about 5 yards x 8 yards (4.57 m x 7.31 m) 1 ft (30 cm) about the ground.

#over50 dance gown Dancing with the Fairbanks Stars
Going thru the routine in my thoughts wearing the gown with a coverup

Highlight of the afternoon show

Like on TV, dancers were interviewed by Rocky Barnette who has an afternoon radio show on Magic 101.1. He was wearing Fairbanks Formal which means clean shirt, jeans and shoes.

When interviewed about his dance, Alexander Spencer, a car dealer who danced with Susie Spiers, offered the judges a free car when they would place him first. Marie pulled a 10 for a joke sort of. He then felt encouraged to offer to donate $500 for every car he would sell that Saturday if the buyer would mention him dancing in this competition and stating that he is the most awesome dancer they every saw. He competed against his own wife of 21 years, Samantha Alexander.

#maturewomen dance attire Dancing with the Fairbanks Stars
Waiting at the Tanana Valley Fairground for the start of the show. I am wearing a light cover-up in the same fabric as the skirt of the dress

Trailer chat

After the afternoon competition, we ladies went into a small trailer to change as there are no dressing rooms. The trailer belongs to Michelle Pope and her husband, who are sort of soccer parents to their two dancing sons. “They didn’t say how they will weight the audience votes with those of the judges” I said meaning it more as a question to Colleen who had already danced in the competition a couple of years ago. “Nicole, you can’t win against a car dealer” Sheridan responded “We don’t have the money.” “You are right, it doesn’t matter.” I nodded.

The final

In the evening, Rocky Barnette picked someone randomly out of the audience to explain how the voting goes. He asked the guy for his name and for whom he will sheer. He said “for my grandma.” Colleen waved with her hands. Since there was no room for the competitors, she like all other competitors was sitting in the first row of the audience.

In the after dance interview, the car dealer now extended his offer to the weekend, and again offered the free cars to the judges. He was eager to win the competition and to defeat his wife. “I rather write a check of $500 to the Lathrop Ballroom Dance Team as a donation and buy a good car” I heard someone saying behind me in the audience.

After all dancers had competed, the Lathrop team gave some presentations while the audience votes were counted.

All contestants were called onto the stage to announce the winners. Guess what? Colleen the grandma in her 70s was the audience’s favorite and came in first place. She defeated the car dealer by just $6 whose reaction was “Damned, I should have added another $20!” I would have loved to see the face of his wife! Adam and I came in third with our Viennese waltz which was very hard to dance on such small stages and is one of the hardest ballroom dances there is.

#over50 winning third prize at the Dancing with the Fairbanks Stars
Happy faces after winning third place with our Viennese waltz routine

Acknowledgements

A big thank you goes to my husband for making movies of our dance training and providing constructive advise on my dancing, to the Fairbanks’ audience for voting and cheering for me, to the person who nominated me, to Adam for teaching me the routine, to the Popes, Adams and all the other volunteers who helped to pull this event off, to the judges and Rocky Barnette for donating their time, and to Stefani Borrego, the director of the team to invite me to dance in this fundraiser.

If you liked this story, tweet to your friends read how a 70 year old defeated the car dealer.

Get the inspiration, support, motivation, and tips to look to your best in life. Get a subscription to High Latitude Style. Deep inside you know when I can do it you can do it too.

Photos: G. Kramm

Copyright 2013-2017 Nicole Mölders | All rights reserved

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: