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Cutting a rug for fun and a good cause
Taylor Crawford, left, moves through the paces to Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal.” - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
Leave it to Harmony Rebeiro to turn an ordinary fundraiser into something that the entire community can come out and enjoy.

On Friday night people filled Chez Shari to capacity to watch the second annual installment of “Dancing With The Dance Stars” – a fundraiser that Rebeiro started to help raise money to benefit her local dance school that serves dancers from as young as seven up to professionals.

This year the money raised is going to purchase a new tap floor for the studio.

And it would have been easy to send out notes to parents about the need for a new floor and a request for a donation, or the school-wide implementation of some fundraiser program selling something like candy or cookie-dough – even though the sugar and calorie-rich anomaly would be lost on most people.

But Rebeiro didn’t do any of those things.

Instead she designed an event where family members team up with studio students and choreograph their own dances for all to enjoy.

She turned the power over to her students to design costumes, choreograph routines, and come up with music for a short performance in front of a panel of judges that included a former Raiderette and MTV Reality TV star, Give Every Child a Chance CEO Carol Davis, Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Charlie Halford, and San Joaquin County Superintendent – and Rebeiro’s cha-cha partner during the “Dancing with the Manteca Stars” event last year – Mick Founts.

What turned out was a little bit of hilarity, a little dash of wow and a whole lot of fun.

Tori Vasquez started off the night with her cousins Hunter and Alex, and opened their routine with a monologue from Jersey Shore sensation “Pauly D” – mixing up their routine to include a little bit of War’s “Low Rider” and enough of Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” to elicit a cheer from everyone in the crowd.

And the next duo, Bella and Ray Martinez, didn’t let a technical snafu prevent them from running through the gauntlet of music that covered everything from Rednex’ club hit “Cotton Eyed Joe” to Styx’ “Mr. Roboto” – taking the time to execute the dance moves, and throwing a bit of an homage in to Michael Jackson with a piece of the Thriller video.

The idea for the entire event seemed simple. But at the same time it seemed genius. Take competitive dancers, mix them with their family members, and have a good time – all the while raising money to outfit the dance studio with modern equipment that will only make the experience better for all involved.

I don’t know where I was when this went on last year, but I’ll be sure to make it next year just to see what happens when families get together for the sole purpose of laughing and having fun with one another.

The grand champion was Jodie Scaraborough who danced with her father Bill.

Other honors were Runner Up: Bella Martinez who danced with her father Ray, Awesome Partnership: Sabrina Aldana; Talent At Its Best: Paislie Taylor; Great Use Of Music: Mary Martinez; Best Costume and Concept: Destiny Herrera; Wasn’t Expecting That From You Two: Alyssa Harris; Should Be On So You Think You Can Dance: Julissa Torres; Best Choreography: Kelly Eichsteadt; Make Me Want To Get Up and Dance: Tori Vasquez; Does Your Mama Know You Move Like That: Brianna Paradzinski; It Runs In The Family: Caitlin deGraaf; and Most Entertaining: Taylor Crawford.