Locals enter crunch time for Dancing with the Stars - Oct. 12, 2017
BY DENNY SCOTT
Huron County Victim Services’ Dancing with the Stars fundraiser will feature some local talent this year including avid dancer and nine-year event veteran Les Cook of Blyth and his partner star Melissa Boven.
Boven, a massage therapist who has her own clinic room at her home in Blyth and also works in Wingham and Brussels, was paired with Cook and the duo plan to perform a salsa to Christina Aguilera’s Candyman and an East Coast swing dance to Elle King’s Ex’s and Oh’s.
Boven explained that music and dance have always been something she has been interested in.
“It’s fun and I’ve always wanted to do swing dancing and wanted to learn it,” she said. “Les showed me some other different dances and that’s what led to us looking at the salsa.”
While not new to the activity of dancing, Boven is new to formal dancing and new to dancing lessons. The desire and opportunity to learn is a familial connection.
“I wanted to do swing dance because the music reminded me of my grandmother,” she said. “I would visit her and we would go for a drive and she had that kind of music in the car.”
Boven’s mother-in-law goes to the fundraiser every year and takes dance lessons.
“She told me I should participate and she talked to Les and before I knew it, I was on the list,” she said.
No one had to twist Melissa’s arm, however, as she loves music, loves dance and knows the importance of Huron County Victim Services.
Cook agreed, saying that the fundraiser is very important to the organization.
“Melissa has been a quick study and a quick learner,” Cook said.
He said it was great to work with someone in Blyth as, in the past, he has sometimes been paired up with people outside of the village. Being able to practise with someone in town has allowed for more frequent time in the dance hall.
“The organizers usually pair us up with someone local, but getting someone right in the village is great,” he said.
Deb Finch of Blyth is another star in the competition and is paired with formal dancer Herb Runstedler.
Finch said she is excited at the opportunity to participate in the event for several reasons, not the least of which is the work that Huron County Victim Services does.
“I’ve always admired the Victim Services group and what they provide for the community,” she said in interview with The Citizen. “It’s definitely a valuable asset and I wanted to support the event.”
Finch is the treasurer for the Dave Mounsey Memorial Fund, a group that purchases defibrillators for placement in community facilities, and has been a part of a similar program in London every year.
“It’s fun to see the event from a dancer’s perspective,” she said.
Finch has no experience with formal dancing, though she says she may have ‘sauntered’ across the dance floor once or twice at a local buck and doe, and said that learning has definitely been enjoyable for her.
“It’s been very, very fun and very rewarding,” she said. “I love pushing myself outside my comfort zone. I’m definitely learning a new skill I’ll be able to take forward with me.”
Finch said she hopes to convince her husband to join her on the dance floor going forward once the event has finished.
Finch and Runstedler will be performing a foxtrot to Marilyn Monroe’s Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend and the Charleston to a version of rapper’s will.i.am’s Bang Bang.
Being ready for the event is no easy task according to Finch, who said that, while she has been looking forward to the big night since the very beginning, she is working hard to be ready.
“Over the last month or so, we’ve been edging up to six hours a week of rehearsing,” she said. “We’re trying to finesse the routines and work out the bugs.”
She said that, while rehearsals were getting longer, they were still enjoyable.
“I’m definitely enjoying spending the time together with my partner and getting to know him and developing that friendship,” she said. “There’s a lot of laughter and I find, a lot of nights, I’ll go home and have ‘dancing feet’ when I’m trying to get to sleep.”
Dancing with the Stars is the primary fundraiser for Huron County Victim Services. The event includes the couples competing for top spot as well as other fundraising efforts such as an auction.
The other four pairings include star Jeanette Sears paired with dancer Wayne Bos, Caley Doran paired with Reanna Ramaker, Devin Sturgeon with Bonnie Walter and Patty Coulter with Bill Gulutzen.
For more information, visit Huron County Victim Services presents Dancing with the
Stars on Facebook or visit www.victimserviceshuron.ca
The fundraiser takes place Oct. 14 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Goderich. Tickets are going fast and are available through the Huron County Victim Services’ office at 519-600-4108.
A dress rehearsal of the evening is also being held on Oct. 13 and is open to the public. Admission for the dress rehearsal is by donation.