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Dancing with the (local) stars

LO's mayor, fire chief and a host of celebrities will cut a rug for charity at Lakewood Bandstand


Photo Credit: STAFF PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Ami Remsing, an instructor with Step It Up Dance Studio, puts Lake Oswego Fire Chief Ed Wilson through his paces as he learns the slow waltz.

Step It Up Dance Studio owner Kristy Higgins is feeling pretty lucky lately. The celebrities she’s teaching to cha-cha, mambo, waltz and more for Lakewood Bandstand, a fundraiser styled after a 1950s sock hop, are getting the steps down just fine.

“I got lucky — they are pretty talented,” Higgins says. “It’s not easy to learn these steps.”

Lakewood Bandstand is a pro-am dance competition that will raise funds for Multiple Sclerosis and Lakewood Center for the Arts. The competition takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 23, at the Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State St.

Celebrity dancers include Lake Oswego Mayor Kent Studebaker, who will dance the quickstep, and LO Fire Chief Ed Wilson, who’ll do a slow waltz. Also on tap:

n Mark Birge, a partner with AKT Wealth Advisors, Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce board member and Rotarian, dancing a spicy mambo;

n Carol Winston, owner of Accessories from the Heart, Rotarian, president of the Arts Council of Lake Oswego and chairwoman of the Lake Oswego Business Alliance, dancing the Hustle;

n Samantha Richardson, a Lake Oswego resident and Lakewood Center supporter, dancing the East Coast swing;

n Kelly Giampia, attorney with Hart Wagner and a Lakewood Center board member, dancing the foxtrot;

n Tenley Webb, voice actress and singer, dancing a Viennese waltz;

n Paul and Teri Graham, owners of Graham’s Book and Stationery, dancing a dramatic tango;

n Bob Barman, Lake Oswego School Board vice chairman, dancing a cha-cha; and

n Claire Sarnowski, a 9-year-old representing the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, dancing the Lindy Hop.

With the exception of the Grahams — who will dance together — the dancers will be partnering with instructors from Step It Up Studio. Wilson says the experience so far has been fun.

“It is fun — for a guy that can’t dance a lick,” the fire chief says. “I’ve never been a dancer, so I was reluctant to do it. But it’s for a good cause, and I thought it was probably time to learn how to dance.”

Wilson says he now has a whole new appreciation for the celebrities who star on television’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

“I didn’t realize how much goes into learning the basics of a dance,” he says. “I’m a little nervous. For a one-minute routine, it’s roughly taken two months of practice. But I have high praise for Kristy and my personal instructor, Ami Remsing, who’s done a great job of bringing me along slowly. I hope it generates some money for a good cause, but I don’t expect to win many dance contests.”

Higgins says all of the dancers will perform onstage to live music provided by Left Coast Jazz and the Millennium Concert Band. Audience members will vote for their favorite dancers.

“It’s ‘Dancing with the Local Stars’ meets ‘American Bandstand,’” Higgins says.

The event will begin with a reception; a raffle and silent auction also are planned.

“We have five ‘monster items’ for our silent auction,” Higgins says. “Items donated that were less than $500 in value are being used as raffle prizes.”

Tickets to the fundraiser are $150 and can be purchased at Lakewood Center for the Arts; Step It Up Studio, 449 Third St.; Accessories from the Heart, 220 A Ave., suite 100; or World Class Wines, 269 A Ave., all in Lake Oswego.

For more information, call Higgins at 503-744-0105.


By Barb Randall
Staff Reporter
503-636-1281 Ext 100
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