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Celebrities to dance the night away and raise money for 3 charities
Event to benefit the Gainesville-Hall County Alliance for Literacy, Center Point and Rape Response
Stuart Higginbotham, the rector at Grace Episcopal Church, dances in last year's competition.

Dancing for a Cause

When: 6 p.m. cocktails and 7 p.m. dinner Saturday, Aug. 27

Where: Chattahoochee Country Club, 3000 Club Drive, Gainesville

How much: Donations can be made online

More info:

Local business leaders, pastors, public servants and more are spending their limited free time learning to dance for a good cause.

The annual Dancing for a Cause will be 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, at the Chattahoochee Country Club in Gainesville. Ten local “celebrity” dancers, representing area churches, city government, schools and businesses will compete for the crystal ball trophy.

Celebrity dancers are Liz Coates, Sam Couvillon, Chris Hallowes, Brooke Kalinauskas, Brett Mercer, Strother Randolph, Michelle Rawdin, Jene Robocker, Janice Rogers and Doug Stewart.

The event benefits three Hall County organizations: the Gainesville-Hall County Alliance for Literacy, Center Point and Rape Response.

“The 2015 event raised over $140,000,” said Dorothy Shinafelt, executive director of the Gainesville-Hall County Alliance for Literacy. “And, of course, we are hoping to top that (this year).”

Three judges will score each dance on a scale between one and 10. Votes can be made online for each celebrity with a donation at The winner will be determined by the amount of money raised and the judge’s score.

Dancers spend about 10 hours in dance instruction before the competition. Couvillon said he started practicing two weeks ago, and it has been challenging and enjoyable.

“I have a lot of respect for these professional dancers,” he said. “While I think I have rhythm, I am not a dancer, and it is a lot of work.”

Kalinauskas said she started practicing in early July.

“It’s going great and we’re having a lot of fun,” she said.

Couvillon said he is “excited and looking forward” to the event. He and the other celebrity dancers have fundraised in the community, holding events and soliciting donations from friends and neighbors.

Kalinauskas said she’s currently “on top” as far as funds raised and is expecting a few more big donations. In advanced donations, the dancers have already raised nearly $62,000.

“It’s exciting to give back to these organizations,” she said. “These are awesome, local organizations that are a big part of our community. It’s a lot of fun to be able to participate and give back to the community I’ve been involved with my whole life.”

For more information on the event and to make a donation on behalf of your favorite dancer, visit Doors open at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, with a buffet dinner beginning at 6:45 p.m. at 3000 Club Drive in Gainesville.

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