Beth Bales: 'Dancing' Contestants Scared, Nervous, Excited
'Dancing With the Geneva Stars' is less than a month away. How are the dancers feeling? It depends...
Since asking my fellow participants last week about their thoughts as we get ever closer to our Feb. 4 dancing moments at “Dancing With the Geneva Stars,” the same song has been running through my head.
It’s Do You Love Me? from Fiddler on the Roof. Tevye and Golde are talking about their wedding day, 25 years in the past. They sing their thoughts, in a back-and-forth exchange, starting with Tevye.
I was scared/I was shy
I was nervous/So was I
“I would say ... We’re excited, nervous and overwhelmed,” reported Connie Wagner, preparing to fox trot with husband Art. “Art is much more relaxed about the whole thing. That’s helped,” she added.
And she said she knows the night itself will be much different than getting ready for it. There will be people there cheering and having a good time, and that will provide a charged and enjoyable atmosphere. “It will be fine,” she said.
Kari and Eric Bartel are “nervous and apprehensive,” said Kari. “I’m more nervous for my husband, because he’s not a dancer,” she said. “And I realize this is the first time he hasn’t caught on to something faster than I do.” In days gone by, she’d study for eight hours and he’d log in three, she said. In this case, it's the other way around.
They have all the steps learned—now it’s a matter of putting them all together, she said.
My husband and I are busy getting our waltz routine down. (I was in marching band all through high school and in three of my four years of college. I’ve decided learning this is somewhat—somewhat!—similar. You’re learning steps to music. You just have to keep practicing.)
We are far from polished or perfect. But practice is making us at least somewhat proficient. And we’re getting to the point where even if we don’t have the steps exactly right, we pretty much know where we’re supposed to go and how to get there. I think we could echo Connie’s thoughts, especially about being nervous. But I, at least, am close to getting excited!
And it turns out only some of us are nervous.
“Heidi and I have truly enjoyed the process thus far,” said Mike Jacoby, adding that they’re excited to begin working on the choreography. “Learning the initial steps associated with the tango has been fun, but we know the real challenge will be putting it together into a story tied to our music.”
Don’t be expecting the movie version or a traditional tango, he warned. “We are going to push the envelope on song selection. It will be a crowd pleaser for sure!”
I don’t think the Geneva Cultural Arts Commission could have better ambassadors for this event than Laura Rush and Derek Swanson, who are very enthusiastic. Their lesson was before ours one Sunday—and this was early on—and they were already great. Not only that, they’re not scared, shy or nervous, they’re pumped, extroverted and fairly confident. Certainly Laura can hardly wait. “I am having, and I hope Derek is too, so much fun learning the jive,” she said. “While it is challenging, it is also very exhilarating. I almost wish I could do it every day, like on the TV show.”
It’s also a great workout, she said. And having a partner other than her spouse has worked fine, as well. “I know (husband) Rick is glad he ‘dodged the dance bullet’ and I am grateful Derek agreed to it.”
Jim and Maureen Emma-Radecki, working on perfecting the salsa, call the whole experience “loads of fun,” and commented on the encouraging and helpful attitudes of all involved in this big endeavor.
They did report some challenges. “Like any new physical activity, dancing practice has resulted in a few injuries,” Maureen said. “Aching muscles have added to the challenge of rehearsing the more demanding moves. We’re living on Advil and hoping that adrenalin will carry the day.”
And in between the first report and my finishing this item something new was added. New steps! “We were feeling confident until we went to our fifth lesson,” Maureen said. “Alex added a new stunt and a difficult sequence, so we are back to being confused. He sure is keeping us on our toes!”
Beyond the dancing, there’s the vote-getting nature of this event. It is a fund-raiser, after all.
The Radeckis have already created a Facebook page and even a slogan: “You can’t have the salsa without the chips!” Brilliant! And so clever.
And they’re right. Chips and chits and dollar bills will make all our dances swing and help the Cultural Arts Commission and the Geneva Academic Foundation, the organizations which reap the benefits of our dancing.
Vote early. And often. (And hey, if you don’t happen to know any of the dancers but want to help out ... Well, feel free to cast a vote or two for Steve and me! The name, despite what you see here, is Olson ...)