This year’s crop of contestants for Dancing with the Williamsburg Stars includes a famed archaeologist, a lawyer, an educator, a plastic surgeon, a businesswoman and a musician as well as others familiar with the booming craft beer scene and Williamsburg Tasting Trail.
Dancing with the Williamsburg Stars, now in its ninth year, pairs a dozen local “stars” with pro dancers in a charity event to raise funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Virginia Peninsula and Literacy for Life at the Rita Welsh Adult Learning Center. It will be held this year on March 3 at Phi Beta Kappa Hall at the College of William and Mary.
Participants have been rehearsing since December in preparation of the competition.
“We will have everything from waltzes to contemporary, quickstep, the pasodoble, jive, a show dance medley and more,” says Tiffany Reaves, a 2012 Dancing Star and marketing committee chair. “The music is diverse and entertaining, with selections by Rhianna, Prince, Elvis, Jackson Five and Chicago.”
Rick Wasmund, founder of Copper Fox Distillery, says participating in the event has “given me a new respect for the art and profession of dance. It takes a lot of dedication. It’s been challenging. But I am learning some new moves. I’ve tried them on my wife and she was impressed.”
Silver Hand Meadery founder and owner Glenn Lavender admits he isn’t much of a dancer but decided to join in the competition because of the cause.
“I really love what Literacy for Life is doing,” says Lavender. “Dancing is not something that I’ve done, but I enjoy new experiences and getting out of my comfort zone, so I decided to give it a try.”
The last time Dr. William Kelso, Director of Archaeology for the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation at Historic Jamestowne, really danced was in high school, but, like Lavender, he decided to become involved with Dancing with the Williamsburg Stars because it helps out the community.
“I think it is a neat event,” Kelso says. “I’m having a great time and learning a lot. Dancing is a fun way to work out and get in shape.”
For the first time, this year’s event will include a husband and wife dance partnership. Valerie Zangardi with Alewerks Brewing Company and a singer who performed for three seasons at Busch Gardens, will take the stage with her husband, Vince. The couple is choreographing their own number.
“I am passionate about music,” Zangardi says. “It is just an instinct to move when a song grabs me, and that movement has always gone hand in hand with my singing, even if it isn’t a huge choreographed number.”
Lynda Byrd-Poller, a Williamsburg native and educator, is also looking forward to supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters and Literacy for Life. She is dancing in honor of her father, the Rev. William Byrd Jr., who was a student in the Literacy for Life program when it was known as the Rita Welsh Program.
“I believe in both organizations and I believe in this community,” she says. “We are going to have a lot of fun while helping other people. It is going to be awesome.”
Want to go?
Dancing with The Williamsburg Stars will be held at 7 p.m., March 3 at Phi Beta Kappa Hall. Tickets start at $35. For more information, visit https://williamsburgstars.com/.