Butch Comegys / Staff Photographer From left, Roger Munchak, Rose Broderick, Brian Fulton, Missy Zaroda, Selena and Mike Walton strike a pose at Step By Step Dance Studio as they prepare for "Dancing with the NEPA Stars."
They have rehearsed for hours each week for more than a month, learning step-by-step how to groove across the dance floor like a professional.
And this weekend, The Times-Tribune library manager Brian Fulton, Froggy 101 radio host Selena and Advanced Imaging Specialists executive Rosemary Broderick will show the public how far they have come after weeks of hard work.
The performers will take to the stage at the Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple on Friday night for the second round of "Dancing with the NEPA Stars." The winner will face Justin Brown, the first-round champion, in the Aug. 19 finale.
Based on the television show "Dancing with the Stars," the competition pairs local dancing newcomers with experienced performers to raise money for the Cultural Center through votes, which can be cast in advance online for $1 on the Cultural Center's website, www.scrantonculturalcenter.org, and at the event. The dancer who raises the most money wins the round.
This year's show follows the theme of "A Night at the Movies," but organizers are keeping secret which films they are incorporating into the dances. Ms. Broderick will perform a rumba and West Coast swing with Roger Munchak, while Selena will do a foxtrot and cha-cha-cha with Mike Walton. Mr. Fulton will perform a hustle and swing with Missy Zaroda.
Debbie Koshinski-Urban, owner of Step By Step Dance Studio in Scranton, choreographed the routines and picked them "to kind of go with (the competitors') personalities." She also has trained them over the last several weeks, an experience she described as hectic but fun.
"They're really doing a great job," she said.
Mr. Fulton, whose only formal training before entering the competition was a dance class for gym in college, said his parents and friends watch the television show and are excited for him to participate in the local version. He is looking forward to showing the audience "what we learned (and) what we did in this short amount of time," and added that it also is a fun way to raise money.
"You get the added benefit of exercise and learning how to dance," Mr. Fulton said. "There's a little more to it than (just) having a fundraiser."
Selena has wanted to participate in the show for several years. She loves to dance, but her previous training also was limited to a college ballroom dance class. People have called the radio station to find out if she really was participating in the show, she said, because they thought it was a joke.
"Everyone at work ... thinks I'm a bad dancer," Selena said. "I wanted to do this to prove them wrong."
Learning to dance requires a lot of discipline, Ms. Broderick said, acknowledging her dance partner for being patient. And she laughed when pointing out that she has dropped a clothing size since starting training.
"I have a renewed respect for ballroom dancers," Ms. Broderick said. "When you see it on TV, it looks so easy."
Jack Martin of Dance Craze DJs again will serve as the show's DJ and master of ceremonies. Audience members also can learn some moves themselves from a professional dance instructor while there.
If you go:
What: "Dancing with the NEPA Stars," second round
When: Friday, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple, 420 N. Washington Ave.
Details: $16, includes drinks and light food
PLEASE VOTE: www.scrantonculturalcenter.org/selena