SO, I think I can dance.
Not that I’ve always thought that – far from it – nor had 12 other Novocastrians who’ve shed blood, sweat and tears (literally, for some of us) over the past three months for Stars of Newcastle, a Cancer Council event where amateurs are paired with a Newcastle Dance Academy professional and told to just make it work.
The contestants come from varied backgrounds – from a builder, to journos, to a yoga instructor, and everything in between.
Our day-to-day lives couldn’t be any more different, yet, somehow, we’re all dancing to the same tune.
On Wednesday, the performers have their first full dress rehearsal ahead of Saturday’s finale at Wests City.
Just like the nail-biting moment in every dance movie ever made, now is make or break time.
But the event has already kicked goals off the stage.
Recently, the Cancer Council announced the event’s initial fundraising goal of $100,000 had been achieved.
At last count, the contestants – through various community events – had raised about $125,000, with the highest fundraiser, Newcastle builder Mato Damir, collecting nearly $40,000 in donations alone.
“Every day I’m just humbled by the generosity of this community; it’s encouraging to see,” Cancer Council Hunter manager Shayne Connell said.
“Stars of Newcastle has just grown and grown over the past three years. It’s here to stay, and I can only see it getting bigger.”
Money raised from this year’s Stars of Newcastle will remain in the Hunter and go toward research, support services, prevention programs, and advocacy.
As a dancing muggle, the past three months have been an experience. Saturday could all go pear-shaped. I could embarrass myself, or, worse, embarrass my brave dance partner, Maddi Magennis, in front of hundreds.
But knowing cancer is still a leading cause of death in Australia, it calms the nerves to know that someone, somewhere, will benefit from this concert.
I think I can dance to that.