‘Dancing with the Grizzlies’ takes the stage Saturday, Dec. 1
Show starts at 7 p.m. at the auditorium at Glacier Peak High School, 7401 144th Place SE. Call the school for tickets, 360-563-7500
SNOHOMISH - Rebecca Prete is a typical 17-year-old senior who likes to bake pies, play a little piano, and practice fast-paced ballroom dances for hours until she’s soaked in sweat.
Prete is one of four Glacier Peak High School students and four teachers taking part in a whimsical charity event modeled after the television show “Dancing with the Stars,” where quasi-celebrities are paired with professional dancers to compete on the dance floor.
In this ballroom, though, the stars are high school students and teachers, and the dancers are local instructors with a passion for giving back to their community.
Andrea Bradshaw formed American Ballroom Dance Institute three years ago, but she always knew she wanted to do more and get kids involved with dance.
“For me, when I was a kid in high school, dancing was my outlet,” Bradshaw said. “So I really wanted a chance to give back to the community.”
Bradshaw’s work not only encourages the arts, but helps raise money for a local food bank as well.
“Dancing with the Grizzlies” performed to a sold out show last year, filling up all 500 seats in the school auditorium. The ticket sales raised $1,500 and 600 cans of food for the Maltby Food Bank, where 100 percent of the proceeds will go again this year.
This year’s show is 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 at the auditorium at Glacier Peak High School, 7401 144th Place SE. Call the school for tickets, 360-563-7500.
This is the second year Bradshaw has worked with a group from Glacier Peak to put on the show. If this year is anything like last year, it’s sure to change lives.
She and three other professional dancers donate dozens of hours and buckets of sweat to coach their novice partners. Each contestant learns a complicated routine and the group sees each other almost every day after school.
Prete comes from a dancing background, but she has never done the quickstep routine that she signed up to perform.
“It’s super challenging because you’re trying to keep your poise and you’re doing all this fancy footwork,” she said. “But I’m striving to do 100 percent every time.”
Like Bradshaw, Prete is thrilled to be able to get up and dance — and in the middle of a school day no less.
“I’m excited to express how I feel on the dance floor,” Prete said.
A few years ago, after seeing the reality show on television, Bradshaw immediately thought of bringing a similar program to a high school. With a vision in mind, she began peddling her idea.
“Originally I had gone to about four different high schools, but Principal Jim Dean was the only one who gave me the time of day,” Bradshaw said. “He heard my vision, and he said let’s try it, let’s do it.”
Bradshaw said she is sincerely impressed with the students that “really step up to the plate” to learn the routines.
“They learn so much of what they’re capable of because it pushes them so far out of their comfort zone,” Bradshaw said. “Looking at these kids, it gives me so much faith in the new generation. They work really hard and teach us and remind us as the instructors why we dance.”
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