Steamboat Pilot & Today General Manager Scott Stanford practices a dance routine last month with choreographer Julie Tucek at Bella Barre studio. The pair will perform at Saturday's Dancing with the Stars benefit for Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA.
Steamboat's 2nd annual Dancing with the Stars event to benefit CASA
Steamboat Springs Julie Tucek has a championship to defend, but it’s hard to see a competitive side through her sometimes-uncontrollable laughter as she dances her way through the title song from “Footloose” with partner and Steamboat Pilot & Today General Manager Scott Stanford.
“It’s so fun,” she said about Steamboat’s Dancing with the Stars, the event she’s preparing for. If it wasn’t fun, she wouldn’t have dedicated hours of practice and choreographing with her partner. “If I ain’t laughing, I ain’t doing it.”
She and Stanford will be competing against seven other couples of local celebrities and experienced dancers at the event, which takes place at 7 p.m. Saturday at Strings Music Pavilion. Tickets are $50 and are available at All That Jazz.
To local choreographer Tucek, who usually creates advanced and intricate pieces for shows like Steamboat Dance Theatre, winning isn't everything — even though she did win last year with a memorable disco dance with Kevin Kaminski. But the contest aspect is just part of the fun.
"You’re cheering each other on,” she said. “It’s a friendly competition.”
Competition for a cause, that is.
The first Steamboat Dancing with the Stars event last year sold out and raised $25,000 for Northwest Rocky Mountain CASA, or Court-Appointed Special Advocates. The nonprofit attained its independent status one year ago and provides and organizes services that help abused and neglected children in the legal system.
This year, executive director Valerie McCarthy said it was a no-brainer to bring back a successful and entertaining event.
“It’s different in that you get to get dressed up and you get to go out and watch people who have practiced and worked hard and are willing to dedicate their time to do a dance,” McCarthy said. “The dances are unbelievable. They’ve really put a lot of effort into them. There’s a lot of skill, and it’s very entertaining.”
In addition to Stanford, the celebrity dancers include Alpine Bank President Adonna Allen, former Olympians Jim “Moose” Barrows and Caroline Lalive, Feldmann-Nagel partner Charles Feldmann, real estate broker Lisa Olson, high school teacher Kipp Rillos and personal trainer/ski patroller Terin Petersen.
Styles of dance range from hip-hop to tap with a paso doble thrown in for good measure.
At the event, there also will be a silent auction and cash bar, and after the main event is over, dancing is encouraged among the audience.
But McCarthy said the event is about much more than kicking off your Sunday shoes.
“The goal is to raise money for CASA, so we can keep serving the children that need volunteers,” she said.
The local CASA program began in 2009 in Grand County, where it served three children. In 2012, it had expanded to Moffat and Routt counties, gained independent nonprofit status and served 34 children with 16 volunteers working on behalf of abused children and advocating for their health and safety.
McCarthy said CASA wouldn’t be where it was without Dancing with the Stars, but there still are children out there waiting for volunteers.
“We would not be here without local support, and this fundraiser has really helped us have strong footing as a start independently,” she said.