Every year, The South Bend Center for the Homeless hosts a big event. All the money raised -- and they raise a lot -- goes right into running the center.
FOX28 has had some of our own talent take the floor at the "Dancing With Our Stars" competition over the years, and this year... is no different!
Last year, my co-anchor Tom Powell WOW'ed the crowed at Center for the Homeless "Dancing With Our Stars 2015," but before that, for 3-months we watched Tom's dancing jouney, with the help of another FOX28 dancing alum... photojournalist Tom Shaw.
Tom Shaw has competed in the competition multiple times, but when he first started, he says, "I was what you would call the classic wedding dancer. No dance experience at all!"
Tom Powell describes going into his first rehearsal with partner Nicole Majewski saying, "It was nerve wracking! I'm not a dancer!" But the night of the competition, you would have never known! The night of the competition, Tom says, "[Nicole's] advice to me was own the floor... and we did that tonight." And his fans... loved it!
This year, Tom will emcee the event, and yours truly... will be dancing! Now I HAVE danced before. I was the Captain of the Purdue Dance Team, I danced for the Chicago Bulls as a Luvabull... I've had my training!"
So at my FIRST rehearsal, I already was having a tough time... if I could've found the right dance shoes in my dance bag I haven't opened for 4-years now.
For this year's competition, my partner is Matt Smith. He says, "I've danced since I was 19. Loved dance since I was a little kid watching 'Singin' in the Rain' with Gene Kelly." Matt is an award winning Ballroom Dancer, Teacher, and Choreographer. Most recently, the last 2 years at the Indiana Challenge, he's won a top teacher award, and 4th in Pro American Rhythm. And not to mention, just earned his Black Belt in Juko-Ryu Toide in July.
Since I've been a solo dancer all my life, the idea of having a partner telling me what to do doesn't really sit well with me. So I asked Matt for advice as far as our FIRST class. He said, "Trust me! Lead and follow is kind of like driving your own car, he's just your GPS."
So lesson one: The first step I learned was the sugar push. A little different because in ballet, your feet stay lifted off the floor. In ballroom, you press into the floor. This who partner-dancing thing... may not be as easy as I once thought!
Two dancers from two different dance worlds, but will it be hard for Matt to train an ALREADY trained dancer?! He says, "Just depends on how stubborn they are... Ask me in about 3-weeks!"
The South Bend Center for the Homeless has served more than 55,000 men, women and children by linking them with the programs, agencies and people who can help them break the cycle of homelessness. Every night more than 275 people call the Center home, and at least 60 of those people are children. To house just one person for one night, it costs $41.00.
The CFH's biggest fundraiser of the year is their annual "Dancing With Our Stars" competition. This year, FOX28's Faran Fronczak is competing, and needs your help! One vote costs $41, the price of one person per night, but that amount isn't mandatory. Whether is $1, $5, or $500, any amount is going to an amazing cause that helps combat the cycle of homelessness in the Michiana community.