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Local celebs step up for dance challenge

Published on October 10, 2017 3:23PM

Eight local couples with nerves of steel and hearts of gold will take to the Newport Performing Arts Center stage on Friday, Nov. 3, for the first-ever “Dancing with the Coastal Stars.” The amateur dancers will compete for bragging rights and a mirror-ball trophy on a night that will benefit Samaritan House Family Shelter.

Before the curtain rises at 7:30 pm, hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served in the lobby beginning at 6:30 pm.

With the help of local dance instructors, each couple will perform a uniquely-choreographed routine with the dance style and song of their choosing. Guests should expect some surprises, some laughs and a fun evening for a great cause. They should also plan to pay close attention because each paid admission will receive one vote toward a people’s choice award.

Angela Nebel and Evelyn Brookhyser, two members of the Samaritan House Board of Directors, are coordinating the event, with the help of Executive Director Lola Jones.

“There are 16 dancers and six coaches who deserve all the credit for making this new event a reality,” Nebel said. “These people committed countless hours this summer to learning their choreography and have said they are willing to dance on stage, which is a brave commitment for those who aren’t professionals. I’ve seen some of the rehearsals and I know our audience is going to see a great show.”

Dancing in the first year of what the organization hopes will be an annual fundraiser are the following couples:

Bob Cowen and Su Sponaugle

Bob and Su moved to Newport four years ago to work at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center. Bob is the Director of HMSC and Su is an OSU Professor of Marine Ecology. At work, they study plankton and larval fishes; at home they raise Tibetan yak. While they have no ballroom dancing experience, we imagine their specialized training among tiny fish and hairy beasts will serve them well.

Brian and Jody Hanna

Brian has been teaching in the Lincoln County School District since 1996. Jody moved to Newport in 1993 to teach sixth grade at Newport Middle School. She thought she had moved to the end of the Earth and only planned to stay one year. Instead, she fell in love, with her husband and the community, where they have now raised their five children. While Brian and Jody each took a dance class in college, they are not formally trained.

Jennifer Wrazen and Sean Rash

Jennifer and Sean met while both were working at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland. They moved to the Newport area 18 years ago, and both have been practicing pediatric medicine while raising their three sons. They have no formal dance training and little experience.

Kaety Jacobson and Mark Farley

Kaety and Mark both work for Oregon Sea Grant — Kaety as a fisheries extension agent and Mark as manager of OSU’s Cyberlab project. In addition to raising five children, they are both active in the community. Their dance experience includes awkward rocking back and forth at proms and, in Kaety’s case, years of ballet, which was swiftly abandoned for a chance to fish with her dad. 

Jamie and Courtney Rand

Jamie is the publisher of the Newport News-Times. Courtney is the PR & sponsorship manager at the Newport Chamber of Commerce. Courtney took dance classes as a child but for Jamie this is a brand new experience. They are planning to work hard so they can surprise everyone with their new moves.

Coley Wallin and Wade Sproul

Coley is a teacher at Toledo Elementary School and has been teaching in Lincoln County for four years. Wade is currently operating his own custom shoe business, FabricatedSoles. As for dance experience, Coley danced ballet for six months at the age of nine and Wade did the hula in Hawaii.

Gabrielle McEntee and Shelby Knife

Shelby works for Yachats Rural Fire Protection District and Gabrielle owns and operates Mo’s restaurants and teaches yoga. Gabrielle grew up taking dance and performing. Shelby only dances when he’s in a bar. They are very excited about the dance they will perform, as it supports their “live life as passionately as possible” philosophy.

Margarita Macchia-Osio and Julio Jiminez Perilla

Margarita works for WorkSource Oregon and Julio is an administrative assistant at a non-profit agency in Newport. The couple originally hails from Colombia and their natural affinity for Latin rhythms is apparent to anyone who sees them on the floor at one of the local dances. Margarita’s love for dancing goes back to the day she was born and Julio was raised in a home that was the center of family celebrations and that meant a love of music.

Tickets for the event, which includes the reception, are $54 at the PAC Box Office and $58.50 online (includes fees) at coastarts.org. All proceeds benefit Samaritan House Family Shelter. For more information, go to SamFamShelter.org

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