Two area couples will take to the dance floor next month with a few others from around the region for the third annual “Dancing Like the Stars” fundraiser.
Ryan and Joann Dammann of Waconia, and Pastor Josh Bernau and wife Leah, of Norwood Young America, have got out their dancing shoes and have been practicing some fancy stepping for the past several weeks to prepare for the big dance.
The upcoming dance production, scheduled for Saturday, April 15, at Glencoe City Center, has quickly become the signature fundraising event for nonprofit 2B Continued to support its mission to increase awareness of suicide prevention, mental health and wellness through advocacy, education, and outreach.
The event takes the format of the popular “Dancing with the Stars” television series and other shows that spawned from it featuring celebrities paired with professional dancers in front of judges. The friendly dance competition originated with 2B Continued founder Tammy Diehn, who launched the organization in memory of her younger sister, Shelly “Teuby” Teubert, who loved to dance, but took her own life in January 2017.
2B Continued was established in 2019, and the popular fundraiser debuted in 2021 with 12 featured “star” couples from Carver, McLeod and Sibley counties. The dozen dancers work with professional choreographers to learn a dance routine then perform in front of judges in the competition to raise money for the organization. Funds are garnered through ticket sales and bids on the dance contestants.
Joann Dammann is a nurse at Lakeview Clinic specializing in mental health. She also had a close connection to Tammy Diehn and her sister Shelly in RN training. Tammy was her first charged nurse and Shelly was her mentor in nursing school. So, for her, the decision to accept the request to become a contestant and perform was “no-brainer.”
Her husband Ryan, a banker with Old National Bank in NYA, needed 24 hours to think about it, but came back with a yes reply.
“Mental health is an important issue and the increased rates of suicide are alarming, so it’s the least we can do to put in the time and overcome the anxiety for a great cause,” said Joann Dammann.
The thought of performing on stage is ominous, the couple agree, especially for a pair who do not dance to begin with.
“Ryan has two left feet and I have two right feet, so maybe we can meet somewhere in the middle,” joked Joann.
Fortunately, each couple is matched with a professional choreographer, and the Dammanns have been working with Hutchinson choreographer Natalie Botes since January. The pair also have been practicing on their own, now are comfortable with their dance moves, and say they might even continue dancing after the show as a way to get out as a couple.
The husband-wife team have three daughters, the oldest who was on dance team in high school, who can help critique their moves as they practice. They also expect to bring a cheering section to the live dance performance and stage a “watch party” for the live-stream airing which has become quite popular since the inaugural event was held during COVID-19 in front of four celebrity judges and a limited number of invited dancer guests.
The Dammanns struck a tango-like pose for the accompanying promotional photo which was actually shot outside on a freezing night. But you will have to attend the event either live or online to see their actual dance steps and routine.
Th live production begins with a preshow at 5:30 p.m. April 15, and 6:30 p.m. show time. Concessions with a meal option and cash bar will be available. Buy show tickets, vote for your favorite couple to support their pre-event fundraising campaign, and find a list of area establishments hosting a live-stream party at: www.2bcontinued.org
More information about the organization also is available on the website, or by contacting 2B Continued at firstname.lastname@example.org or (507) 381-4082. Please note: 2B CONTINUED does not offer any professional services. If you or someone you know is in crisis, call, text, or chat 988.
Footnote: There are also other local connections to the upcoming production. An opening noncompetitive dance performance will feature a group of nurses from Ridgeview: Dani Cowette, Brooke Dingels, Sam Gregory, Kari Harms, Shannon LaBaw, Melissa Macy, Alisyn Schmelzer, Caryn Schmit, and Becky Vanderlinde. Meanwhile, Ridgeview CEO Mike Phelps is back to be one of the celebrity judges again this year.
Rising Star Dance Academy of Waconia is one of the area dance studios providing rehearsal space.
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