Kevin Taulman and Tamara Bereznak rehearse for Saturday’s Dancing with the Stars fundraiser. The fundraiser, which benefits CASA, features eight local celebrities and members of the Steamboat dancing community and will take place at 7 p.m. in The Steamboat Grand ballroom.
Steamboat celebrities dance for charity at weekend event
Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs High School Principal Kevin Taulman never thought the hard linoleum floors of the school’s science classrooms would be used for this.
It was late Thursday evening at the high school, and Taulman dutifully pulled on a pair of black tap shoes, grabbed a cane and donned a black and silver costume hat.
“I think in order to do this, you have to be able to make a fool of yourself, and I can,” Taulman said. “I’m willing to put myself out there and support the community.”
Taulman is one of eight local celebrities who have been volunteering several hours each week for two months to compete in the first Dancing with the Stars fundraiser, which is taking place at 7 p.m. Saturday in The Steamboat Grand ballroom.
Modeled after the hit ABC television series, the local event features eight well-known figures paired up with members of the local dance community, who are volunteering their time to choreograph and coach the stars.
The event will raise money for Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA, a nonprofit organization that recruits, trains and supports volunteers who act as judge-appointed advocates for abused and neglected children as they navigate the court system.
Executive Director Valerie McCarthy, who directs the program that includes Routt, Grand and Moffat counties, said fundraisers like this are essential to the program.
“The program would not be here without local support,” McCarthy said. “I’ve been awed at the amount of support in all three counties. It’s not only great in raising those funds, but it’s essential to sustain the program and secure future funding.”
In 2011, the local CASA program served 28 children in Grand, Moffat and Routt counties, with five of those cases in Routt County since the program expanded here in July.
McCarthy got the idea for the fundraiser from another CASA program in Ohio but hasn’t seen what dances any of the couples have come up with.
The celebrity competitors also include a City Council member in Kevin Kaminski, Realtor Pam Vanatta, The Steamboat Grand general manager Mike Lomas, Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp’s Vice President of Human Resources Trish Sullivan, Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association CEO Lisa Brown, the Family Development Center’s Tami Havener and hockey player Brent Tollar.
They will perform dances including the cha-cha and disco to country and tap. There also will be a silent auction and dancing after the show, and audience members can sign up to dance with the performers.
Throughout the rehearsal process, teams of students from Steamboat Springs High School photography and videography classes have been charged with documenting the process as an assignment, creating the montages that will screen before the performances.
While filming Taulman’s rehearsal Thursday, high school students Mary O’Leary-Brennan and D.J. Ditter agreed that their principal’s tap-dancing skills were better than they expected.
“I think since it’s for a good cause, it’s sort of admirable that you’d put yourself out there and do that,” O’Leary-Brennan said.
Taulman’s partner and choreographer, Let’s Dance owner Tamara Bereznak, said her protege’s dance to “Soul Man” from the “Blues Brothers” soundtrack showcases a lot more than Taulman’s ability to laugh at himself.
“It’s about showing how talented they are in front of other people, that they come out and perform,” Bereznak said about the star dancers. “That they can get up there and learn a dance and raise money for a good cause, it’s another facet of their lives.”