By KJ Philp, June 2017 Issue.
Dancing with the Bars, a Valley fundraiser that was operated by SWAY Events for eight years and acquired by one•n•ten following the 2015 season, is undergoing a facelift in honor of its 10th anniversary.
The 2017 event, now named Dancing for one•n•ten, is a ballroom dancing and fundraising competition that will take place Aug. 13 at the Tempe Center for the Arts. For the second consecutive year, all proceeds will benefit one•n•ten, a support organization that’s been serving LGBTQ youth, ages 14 to 24, since 1993.
“As we look at opportunities for growth and expansion, aligning the event’s name with the one•n•ten brand opens additional corporate sponsorship opportunities and allow us to engage the youth we serve in the event,” said Travis Shumake, development director for one•n•ten, and winner of Dancing with the Bars Season 8.
Once again, the competition will star localebrities paired up with professional ballroom dancers from Arizona Ballroom Champions (ABC).
“[We’re] very dedicated to being a part of this massive fundraiser because we feel it is important to be an example for our youth and show that you can, in fact, be a successful business owner and be openly gay,” said John Holzworth, ABC teacher, manager and co-owner. “We also feel it is important that the community knows that Arizona Ballroom Champions is a safe nonjudgmental place for anyone to come and enjoy the beautiful art of partner dancing.”
Also consistent with the previous nine seasons, each dancer will represent a local bar, which will serve as a home base for their fundraising efforts.
“Our community host bars will continue to serve as the backbone of contestant fundraising efforts,” Shumake said. “There are several charity ballroom dance competitions in Phoenix, but what sets Dancing for one•n•ten apart is the connection to local businesses that can leverage their resources and facility to support their contestant’s effort to fundraise.”
However, Shumake explained that many of the traditions from years’ past will be modified a bit as part of this rebrand.
For example, there will only be two winners this year: the judges favorite and the fan favorite. Fans can cast votes through donations to their favorite contestant for the duration of the fundraising phase. Donations will be accepted via each contestant’s webpage through midnight Aug. 12.
“Today, we have 15 youth experiencing homelessness, on the waiting list for one•n•ten supportive housing. Generating the funds to get these youth into our Promise Of a New Day [P.O.N.D.] housing program is why these contestants signed up to dance,” Shumake said, tying the organization’s mission directly into the contest’s new format. “This year, we combined the spirit of philanthropy with the thrill of competition to maximize each contestant’s fundraising potential. Recalibrating the fundraising competition allows someone’s grandma in Kansas to buy six People’s Choice votes online for $100 to support her favorite contestant.”
This season, which marks his fifth time participating as a dance pro, Holzworth said he’s looking forward to the new take on an old favorite.
“The caliber of pros this year is also super high and all of the contestants seem super hungry to fundraise,” he said. “The energy and participation is already so much higher than ever before!”
Meet the Contestants
While the Dancing for one•n•ten contestants were announced May 8, and have already kicked off their fundraising efforts as well as their dance lessons, we wanted to be sure to introduce you to them here. You can expect to see and hear a lot from the season 10 cast throughout the next few months. Team Echo wishes them all the best of luck!
Pro partner: Jordyn Reyes
Bar: The Rock
Name: Saellah V
Pro partner: Drew Mitchell
Bar: BS West
Name: Jen Moreland
Pro partner: Shawn Nerdahl
Bar: The Cash Nightclub & Lounge
Name: Stella Prince
Pro partner: Freddie Maese
Name: Jordan Nimura
Pro partner: James Weathers
Lustre Rooftop Bar
Pro partner: Natalie Crandall
Bar: Postino Wine Cafe
Name: Brad Speck
Pro partner: John Holzworth
Bar: Stacy’s @ Melrose
Name: Jared Dillingham
Pro partner: Selina Vegas
Name: Kelvin Harper
Pro partner: Paige Knuth
Bar: Los Diablos
Name: Nevaeh McKenzie
Pro partner: Tim Bishop