Just dance

CHERYL BABIN @Cheryl_whats_up
Alsie Dunbar

The old saying goes, “never miss a chance to dance,” and 11 business and community leaders took that to heart this year as they are set to “Dance for a Cause” on July 12 at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales at 7 p.m. The dancers are taking this dancing chance to help raise funds for the ARC of East Ascension, a non-profit organization celebrates 50 years of raising awareness and enhancing the quality of life for those people with disabilities and their families through services and advocacy that support choice, independence and dignity.

This year’s dancers are: Shelly Graham, Owner of Action Fitness; Donna Villar, Owner of Villar & Co. Realtors; Brittany Leblanc, Leblanc Food Stores; Lisa Bacala, Ascension Parish School Board; Stephanie Haas, Owner of Platinum Express Car Wash; Alsie Dunbar, Chemist of Motiva Enterprise; DeRon Talley, Editor of the Gonzales Weekly Citizen and Donaldsonville Chief; Dr. Harry Brown, Dentist at Brown, Kogler & Rome Family Dentistry; Kent Schexnaydre, Ascension Parish Councilman; Derek Leblanc, Ascension Parish Sherriff’s Office; Rick Dickmyer, Site Manager of Momentive Specialty Chemical.

Talley surely didn’t want to miss his chance to do a little dancing, especially for a cause such as this, he said.

“Fund raising is usually a strain and struggle for most people, but when you get to have fun in doing it makes everything worth while,” Talley said.

Saturday will be Talley’s first time dancing in this event, and he was also exposed to real ballroom dancing for the first time as well. However, he said he always loved to dance.

“I’ve danced in front of big audiences before in high school, but it was some freestyle move I created on the whim,” Talley said. “It was hard at first for me to adjust to learning to count and move with a partner.”

Talley’s partner, Christy Mendoza of & 5,6,7,8 at Dancing Daisy’s in Prairieville, has 10 years of ballroom dancing experience, and even has trained with some of the stars from the original Dancing with the Stars TV show. However, this is her first experience with Dancing for a Cause.

“I like the small town stuff though,” Mendoza said. “Because I think that people, especially in Louisiana, we are all built around music so just to have them dancing not necessarily ballroom but bar room type of social dancing I think that’s what is so fun about it.”

“It’s that you can take all of the technique and everything but kind of minimize it so that you can go anywhere wedding receptions, family reunions, parties, the club and still do ballroom dancing but at a more simplified step and still have fun.”

Mendoza has participated in the Big Buddy fundraiser in Baton Rouge, and said I love being able to do just anything to raise money for any types of causes in my local area and where I have a business.

“Giving back to the community that gives back to me in dancing,” Mendoza said, who teaches tap, ballet, lyrical, hip-hop, jazz, and ballroom dancing.

Mendoza said, despite Talley’s lack of experience in ballroom dancing that he walked in with a lot of energy and wasn’t afraid to do anything.

“He already had some rhythm and he knew what he wanted to dance to,” Mendoza said. “He learned how to lead it and has been leading all of the dances that I have given him.”

Mendoza added, “Just look out for some good ole dancing, just a lot of fun flirty cha cha and rumba dancing.”