RUTLAND-Dancing With the Rutland Stars is an ingenious
fundraising event for Kids on the Move in Rutland. After a
successful competition last year, the event is being hosted again
by the Friends of Kids on the Move on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.
at the Paramount Theatre.
When it comes to raising funds and awareness, Friends of Kids on
the Move knew they had their work cut out for them. The group had
to come up with a creative idea in order to promote their causes
and the benefits of Kids on the Move. They succeeded in doing so by
capitalizing on the successful TV show Dancing With the Stars.
Local professional dancers Tara Bombardier, Cathy Salmons and Gayle
Lang were supportive and full of great ideas. The local community
also jumped on board and everyone involved is excited to be doing
it again for the second year.
This year's Stars are Michael Coppinger, Executive Director of
the Downtown Partnership, Joan Gamble, Strategic Change Consultant;
Rutland City Mayor, Christopher Louras; Eric Mallette, Program
Director at the Paramount Theatre; T.J. Sabotka, CPA a partner at
the accounting firm of O'Brien Shortle Reynolds & Sabotka, PC
and Attorney John Valente, a partner at Ryan Smith & Carbine,
These prominent community figures have taken six weeks out of
their busy schedules to train and rehearse. Mayor Christopher
Louras says, "I have come to realize that dance is work, very hard
work. I haven't had the opportunity to 'have fun' in the
conventional sense because it is so much like work." Mr. Louras
hasn't danced in 30 years and even went so far as to avoid it at
his own wedding. Despite his lack of experience and conditioning,
he says, "But as difficult as it can be, it fails to compare with
the day in and day out difficulties experienced by the children for
whom this great Kids on the Move fundraiser is meant to help."
The professional dancers who have been training with the stars
are Tara Bombardier of Centre Dance in Rutland; Shelby Jones of
Cobra Gymnastics; Gayle Lang of All About Dance at Grand
Performance in Rutland; Leif Erickson, Optometrist and former
international ice dancer; Ana DiTursi, private ballet and dance
instructor, and Gina Pezzetti of Miss Lorraine School of
All About Dance at Grand Performance is proud to be celebrating 15
years of dance excellence this year. Gayle T. Lang, director, is
not only an award winning choreographer, professional dancer and
national dance judge, but many of her students have excelled in
prestigious dance competitions, winning top awards against
thousands of contestants throughout the country.
The studio even has a connection to the Dancing With the Stars
of TV fame two-time winner Julianne Hough, who rehearsed there with
her star Chuck Wicks in 2009. Lang is working with Mayor Louras
this year and she says "It's hard work in a very short amount of
time. The Stars/Professionals put in a lot of rehearsal time,
commitment and dedication. The stars face a lot of fears to learn a
dance routine in less than 10 weeks, perform it in front of 850
people and be judged on it," says Lang. "We rehearsed several times
a week at the beginning. Now, it's every day for hours. The Mayor
is now feeling muscles he has never felt before."
Last year the event raised $15,000 for Kids on the Move and the
organizers hope that this year will be even better with the
possibility of a sold out Paramount Theatre on Saturday.
Coordinator Bernadette Robin speaks to the importance of the cause
when she says "Kids on the Move, a pediatric rehabilitation program
and the Pediatric Hi-Tech program are wonderful programs, and so
meaningful for families that need their services."
Founded in 1995, Kids on the Move was created to fill a void
that was left in the medical community when pediatric
rehabilitation services were eliminated at an area institution, she
notes, stating that "Now a program of the Rutland Area Visiting
Nurse Association & Hospice, Kids on the Move is the only
pediatric rehabilitation program within a 60-mile radius of