Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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March 21, 2014

Ballroom dancing with the stars

Community leaders dance to raise money for Literacy Coalition of Howard County.

Ryan Minick will celebrate his ballroom dancing debut and retirement all on one day.

“I do not dance,” he said, with a laugh.

He’s making an exception, though, to help the Literacy Coalition of Howard County. Minick and his wife will dance the cha-cha at the annual Dancing with the Stars fundraiser at Ivy Tech Event & Conference Center at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

The couple, along with five others, has been practicing at a local dance studio for 10 weeks. A dance instructor from Indianapolis teaches them once a week.

Minick said he and his wife have had to step it up as their performance quickly approaches.

“This week we have practiced every night at home,” he said.

He finally memorized all of the steps, he said, only to realize he still needed to make the performance look good… and not clumsy.

Learning to ballroom dance has been a good experience, he said.

The weekly dance practices have proved to be a good date night for him and his wife, he said. He even admitted that he’s enjoyed the dancing.

“Other than actually having to perform in front of people, it’s been fun,” he said.

Bob Stephenson, director of the Literacy Coalition, said the real fun is seeing the couples step outside of their comfort zones a little bit.

Many of them don’t know the first thing about ballroom dancing when they start, but they never disappoint on performance night.

This year’s couples work at a newspaper, two financial institutions, a radio station, church and insurance company.

They’ll be performing four dances – the tango, cha-cha, salsa and mambo. That’s more than in years past, Minick said.

That’s because the event just keeps growing, Stephenson said.

It started four years ago and was the brainchild of a “wonderful” board member, Stephenson said.

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