Once a week, Michael Reins goes on a walk with David Smith, former executive director of Center Point. They talk about life and catch up on the little stuff. But for Reins, that walk will soon turn into a dance as he and nine other locals will compete in this year’s Dancing for a Cause.
Reins, Nairika Cornett, John Darden, Tim Hepburn, Scott LeFevre, Rena Millwood, Beverly Nordholz, Jennifer Pirkle, Brad Puryear and Tyra Wimpye were announced Wednesday, March 27, as this year’s locals who will compete for fun and to raise money for Center Point, Gainesville-Hall County Alliance for Literacy and Rape Response Inc., all nonprofits in the area.
The event is planned for 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, at the Chattahoochee Country Club in Gainesville.
Reins, a local life coach, said he first fell in love with dancing at a studio in Gainesville when he was younger. He learned ballroom dancing and the fox-trot there. He even learned one of the hardest parts of dancing: How to walk across the room and ask a girl to dance.
He won’t have to use that particular talent, though, because he and the rest of the contestants will be paired with professional dancers who will help them train in the coming weeks and perform with them on the big night.
Even though he’ll likely be in front of a crowd of 400 or more, Reins said he’s not nervous.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Reins said of the previous events. “I love to see some of the better dancers … It’s all fun and it’s a chance to get out and compete. I’m competitive, so it will be fun.”
Each dancer will raise money through donations and events leading up to the night of the dance. The celebrity with a combination of the most votes, most money raised and best dance score will be chosen as the winner and receive the mirror ball trophy.
Last year, the event raised over $210,000 to be split between the three nonprofits.
Ashton Meeks, last year’s winner, offered advice to the new crop of contestants on how to handle training.
“Don’t take yourself too seriously,” Meeks said. “Once you get down to crunch time, it can be hard … It’s an opportunity to raise awareness and have a good time with your partner and with the people in this room.”
She also offered fundraising advice, saying she simply wrote letters to a lot of people she knew.
Tyra Wimpye is one of the younger contestants this year and has always dreamed of being a part of Dancing for a Cause. She remembers driving down Green Street the past few years, seeing a sign advertising for the event. When she got the call inviting her to compete this year, she didn’t hesitate.
“I’m overly excited,” said Wimpye, drama director at Gainesville Middle School “It's a great cause and a great reason for me to dance and have fun and bring people together.”
She has plenty of experience dancing as she's grown up around musical theater and danced when she was young.
“I wouldn’t say I’m nervous, but I’m hoping for a challenge,” Wimpye said.
That’s what Beverly Nordholz will get: A challenge. She said she hasn’t danced since taking tap and ballet classes 50 years ago. By being a part of Dancing for a Cause, she wants to show she still can.
“I just decided that I wanted to prove that old ladies can do things,” Nordholz said.
Her grandchildren have already given her tips on how to win. Her granddaughter told her she’d “have to get an attitude” and her grandson told her she would “have to get flexible.”
The best advice may come from her daughter-in-law, Katie Nordholz, who competed in the event in 2017 and won the Community Star after a perfect score for her tap routine.
“It was so much fun when Katie did it and that’s why I decided I would do it, too,” Beverly Nordholz said. “I just hope I can pull this off. I’m going to do my best.”