Malashock Dance, a San Diego, California, school and professional company, models its Malashock Thinks You Can Dance! fundraiser after Dancing with the Stars. The fourth annual event on Sunday, October 9, at the Birch North Park Theatre features a competition between local San Diego celebrities paired with professional ballroom dancers.
The contestants range from foundation heads to radio DJs. For their time in the spotlight, Malashock gives them 10 dance lessons each at Champion Ballroom, a nearby studio owned by Mary Murphy (former judge on So You Think You Can Dance), which also provides their professional partners. “In 10 lessons, you can’t really learn to dance,” says Paloma Patterson, executive director of Malashock Dance and the Malashock Dance School. “But we’ve realized over the years that it’s the personalities that make it fun.”
In addition to this year’s competition, the evening also includes Malashock Dance Company performing a tango-inspired modern piece. Videos that capture each couple’s months of preparation and show off Malashock’s school, company and outreach programs are also shown. After each couple performs in the live show, the audience votes for their favorite with handheld voting devices. Inspired by the excitement of the evening, audience members can also use these devices to pledge higher donations.
Despite production expenses (dance lessons alone cost about $7,000), the event nets about $43,000. The most significant income comes from contributions. Tickets range from $150 for VIP seating (including a reception prior to show time) to $50 for “C” seats. Profits primarily benefit Malashock’s educational outreach and scholarship programs. Info: www.malashockdance.org ––Rachel Zar
Photo: Last year’s winners, local celebrity Delicia Turner-Sonnenberg and her professional partner John Selby, performing the quickstep (by Manny Rotenberg, courtesy of Malashock Dance)