Couples announced for local 'Dancing with the Stars' event

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Shelly Birkelo
Thursday, April 4, 2013

Stephen and Cameron Pickering have wanted to take dance lessons for quite some time, but they never had the chance.

Until now.

Along with caring for their historic home and running their own business, the Janesville couple also is raising three preschool-age children. You could say their lives are hectic.

Still, they decided to step out of their comfort zones and learn how to dance—not only for themselves, but also for charity.

Stephen, 29, and Cameron, 28, will be among a half-dozen couples competing in this year's Dancing With the Stars event, a benefit for the Alzheimer's Support Center of Rock County.

Having lost loved ones to Alzheimer's, the Pickerings have a special interest in helping the local nonprofit. Stephen's grandmother had the disease and lived for 10 years in his parents' home before dying in 2008. The disease also claimed the life of Cameron's grandmother.

For their part in the show, the Pickerings will perform a swing dance to the music of “King of Polyester,” by the W's, a 1990s Christian swing band.

When the two aren't practicing on their own nightly, they're rehearsing weekly with Julia Hess of Janesville, who has volunteered to choreograph their dance and instruct them.

“I trust her to make us look good,” said Cameron. “She's danced all of her life, performed with the Rockford Ballet, has choreographed swing dance before and for Theatre Unlimited last year.

“She's been teaching us the moves that we mostly have down, but I think we'll pick up a lot more this week when we start dancing to the music tonight,” Cameron said Tuesday.

The Pickerings have been rehearsing since February on the hardwood floors of their dining room and office, moving furniture aside to make room.

As for their routine, the couple is finding “the pretzel move” that involves a lot of twisting and turning to be the most difficult.

“She (Hess) taught us, then had to take a two-week break after her Dad died,” Cameron said. “Then she told us to watch how to do it on YouTube.”

Stephen said the biggest challenge he faces is stepping outside of his comfort zone since he doesn't dance at all, let alone in public.

“I have no rhythm, so I just stand or jump up or down,” he said.

The most difficult aspect for Cameron has been allowing Stephen to lead when they dance.

“The man has to lead, but I'm more of the dancer,” she said.

The couple admit the experience has been fun.

“We don't always get time to go out on a date, so it's something extra we can do together,” Cameron said.

The Pickerings hope to raise $2,000 for the local charity. They think their goal can be reached because they plan to use their video production company—Drywater Productions—to create a video about the fundraiser that they can send to family and friends.

“If we can help raise money, that will help the community, we want to help out,” Stephen said.

Cameron agreed.

“It's a good cause for the community, and we get to dance together,” she said.

Dancers, hosts named

Steve Van Dinter, also known as The Gadget Guy, and Gayle Viney, spokeswoman for the Dane County Humane Society, will host the Alzheimer's Support Center of Rock County's Dancing With the Stars event Saturday, April 27, at the Janesville Performing Arts Center, 408 S. Main St.

This year's dance competitors are: Cindy Giese, Tom Woodward, Jamie Murray, Andy Murray, Steve Dean and Kathy Dean, Dr. Morgan Fife and Kristin Fife, Kirke “Bo” Plank and Elaine Plank, Cameron and Stephen Pickering.

Dancers will perform a 90-second routine for the audience and guest judges.

The couples have been collecting sponsorship donations to give them extra bonus points that will give them an edge over points awarded by the judges.

To sponsor a favorite dancer, visit alzheimers

supportcenter.org, click “Special Events,” then “Dancing With the Stars 2013.”

The Voter's Choice award will be given to the couple that audience members vote for as being their favorite team.

Last updated: 10:29 am Tuesday, July 2, 2013

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