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Cancer Council staff joined twelve Northern Sydney business and community leaders, cum dance contestants, for the announcement of the dance categories they would be assigned for the competition finale, hosted at Norths on Saturday 24 June.
In the tradition of Dancing with the Stars, the local celebrities will be paired with professional dancers (from AIPA and Arthur Murray dance schools) and learn a routine in the style that has been randomly chosen for them. These include Contemporary, Jazz, Latin, Swing, Freestyle, Broadway and Ballroom.
Jono Slingo, Incinerator Cafe and Felicity Wilson, Liberal candidate, receive their categories (photo c/o- Cancer Council & Carlos Velasco Photography)
So, drum roll please… The official list of 2017 contestants is:
Jemina North, Founder, Pilatestry Studios Rachel Chappell, Founder and Publisher, North Shore Mums Justin Dethbridge, Founder and MD, Bligh Capital Partners Rebecca Parish, Journalist, North Shore Times Luke Simmons, CEO, NORTHS Group Jono Slingo, Owner, Incinerator Café Felicity Wilson, Liberal Candidate for North Shore by-election Penny Pedersen, Arts Program Presenter, Northside Radio FM99.3 Ken Goth, Chatswood Musical Society
Jono Herrman, Chairman, North Sydney Innovation Network
Matthew Cross, Govt. Relations Manager, The Property Council of Australia
Maggie Minassian, Director, Hartex Engineering
The full cast for 2017 (photo c/o- Cancer Council & Carlos Velasco Photography)
Over the next two months, contestants, many who are stepping far out of their comfort zone, will engage in at least eight dance sessions with their professional mentors, while juggling busy career, community and family commitments.
The feeling in the room was positive and collegiate, with most contestants expressing excitement rather than nerves, aware of the important opportunity to raise vital funds for the Cancer Council. Quite a number have had personal experiences with fighting the disease, or the sadness of family and friends being diagnosed.
Luke Simmons, Norths and Penny Pedersen, Northside Radio (photo c/o- Cancer Council & Carlos Velasco photography)
Everyone knows the Cancer Council but why exactly are the funds raised from this event, so important? Lauren McAllister, Regional Manager for the Cancer Council, explained that the charity supports all aspects of the cancer experience with key goals focussing on cancer prevention in preschool and primary school children, transport and accommodation programmes for patients needing to travel for their cancer treatments, and advocacy to the government, resulting in some recent wins for NSW patients undergoing chemo treatment.
With 46,000 people diagnosed each year with cancer, this is no laughing matter but the aim of Stars of the North is to host an evening of fun and entertainment for the Northern Sydney community, supporting its local personalities in their dance performances and efforts to raise as much money as possible for the charity. The inaugural event in 2016 raised an astounding $100,000 and the bar has been set higher this year with a target of $150,000.
Maggie Minassian, Hartex Engineering and dance partner (photo c/o- Cancer Council & Carlos Velasco Photography)
Tickets for the Gala Fundraising Evening go on sale 5th April and the event is likely to be a sell-out, so log onto the Stars of the North website, or check the Facebook page for updates, and don't miss out. You can support the event by getting a table together and buying seats to the event, sponsoring a contestant, or donating money on the night, in support of your favourite local hero. All will be vying to win the People's Choice, the Judges Choice and the Highest Fundraiser awards. The friendly competition is sure to heat up, making things only more interesting and entertaining for the crowd.
Rachelle Chappell, North Shore Mums, to dance Jazz (photo c/o- Cancer Council & Carlos Velasco Photography)
Like any great community event initiative, sponsors are all important and this year, Stars of the North will be run with the kind assistance of NORTHS Leagues Club, Arthur Murray Dance Studios, The School at AIPA and Studio Petrina Milas (providing makeup and styling).
So, if you've been missing your weekly fix of dancing on the tellie each week, there could be no better way to get your groove back on and support a charity that touches the lives of so many.