2022 ‘Dancing with the Terre Haute Stars’ lineup released | Local News

The beat goes on for “Dancing with the Terre Haute Stars.”

Now in its 16th year, the annual fundraiser for Chances and Services for Youth (CASY) introduced its 2022 lineup Monday evening at the Dance Studio on Wabash Avenue. Both CASY and the Dance Studio are run, coincidentally, by Brandon Halleck.

Dancers were not informed what style of dance would be required of them until they were introduced Monday, and some admitted that they were not familiar with what had been chosen for them. Participants include:

• Brenda Wilson, representing the Vigo County Council, will dance the Cha Cha.

• Westminster’s Lauren Keisheimer will perform the foxtrot.

• Eleni Miller of the Vigo County School Corporation will do the quickstep.

• Alisa Abney-Bonine will represent Tolly’s and the 25th Street Tavern as she dances the waltz.

• Alia Shuck from Ivy Tech State Community College will step into the sultry Argentine tango.

• WTWO morning anchor Shelby Reilly will do the hustle.

• Century 21 Elite’s Taylor Austin will boot-scoot to the country two step.

• Amanda Houge will represent Novelis as she performs the samba.

• Leslie Hemminghouse, a stay-at-home mother, will move to the East Coast swing.

• Joe Mascari of Sullivan Automotive Group will do the salsa.

• First Financial Bank’s Jon Scherle will rumba.

• Jimmy Merk, representing Cook Medical Group of Spencer, will dance the merengue.

The companies that participants represent run the gamut from First Financial Bank, which has been a sponsor of the event all 16 years, to Cook Medical Group, which is taking part for its first time.

Halleck said participants come from multiple directions — he consults past stars for recommendations and is approached by people who say they’ve always considered it. “Post-COVID, it’s been a little bit easier recruiting,” he said.

Participants range from enthusiastic to reluctant, Halleck added. “We get some people who are thoroughly excited, and some who are thoroughly terrified,” he said. “There were a couple of them that were, ‘I’m just not sure…’ and I said, ‘You can do it, you’ll be fine.'”

Reilly, WTWO’s morning anchor, is one of those raring to go.

“I actually wanted to do it when I heard about it, so I asked our general manager, Tim Sanders, if I could do it — originally, someone else had asked to do it, so he said, ‘Maybe next year,'” Reilly said. “But then he approached me two or three days ago and apparently they needed more girls. I was stoked.”

Sanders himself represented WTWO last year. “I don’t think it was something he ever anticipated doing, but he said it was a lot of fun and goes to a great cause,” Reilly said. “He had nothing but positive things to say about it. He says he usually has to pull teeth to get people to do it. I have actually danced my entire life, so I was jumping at the opportunity.”

Others don’t have Reilly’s dancing experience, so they were a little less gung-ho.

Scherle, who works in commercial lending at First Financial Bank, confessed, “I wouldn’t say that I jumped out of my seat and said, ‘Yeah!'”

Informed that he would be dancing the rumba, he said, “I’m guessing that’s not the vacuum cleaner that I have at my house. I’m not familiar. As far as dancing, I’m about as green as they come. Hopefully I won’t make my partner look too bad.”

But, he noted, “Brandon does a lot for the community, so it’s hard to say no when somebody like that asks you.”

Hogue admitted, “I’ve never danced a step in my life” and knows nothing about the samba but added, “I love to fund-raise.” The human resources manager at Novelis, does a lot of fundraising for other children’s organizations, including the League of Terre Haute, and is the mother of two children.

Hogue’s friend Megan Kirk, who was a Terre Haute Star last year, wrangled her into participating. “Anything that can help kids in the community, I’m on board with,” Hogue said.

Merk, operations manager for first-timer Cook Medical Group, said, “It should be a good time and I hope I don’t embarrass myself too much.”

CASY provides programs and services ensuring Indiana’s most vulnerable children grow up in safe, nurturing environments. Last year, CASY helped more than 10,000 children and families.

Last year, Michelle Hein of Labor Link was proclaimed the winner. Tim Sanders of WTWO was named Judges’ Choice. Last year’s event raised more than $285,000 — a record — and over the years, “Dancing with the Terre Haute Stars” has raised more than $2.3 million.

This year, the event is collaborating with Network for Good, which will provide each star with their own fundraising page so they can share why they’re dancing and why they’re raising money for CASY.

“I never have a goal to break last year’s record,” Halleck said. “If it happens, great. I’m pretty confident that we’ll be able to raise the money we need to continue working with the kids in our community.”

He added, “It always amazes me how much this community rallies around not just chances but all of the nonprofits. We’re all having fundraisers and everybody just gives and gives and gives. That’s what makes the Wabash Valley and Terre Haute such a great community.”

“Dancing with the Terre Haute Stars” will be 7 pm Friday, Oct. 7 at Hulman Center. It will also be carried live on WAWV.

David Kronke can be reached at 812-231-4232 or at david.kronke@tribstar.com.

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