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TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) — It’s a major fundraiser for one of North Mississippi’s youth outreach organizations. Part entertainment, part celebrity showcase, the annual “Dance Like The Stars” event puts the spotlight on Northeast Mississippi Boys and Girls Clubs. But for those who volunteer, it’s also part of a personal journey. Our Alyssa Martin is one of the dancers in Saturday night’s show. She brings us a first-person, behind-the-scenes look at not only the how but also the why.

I’m not really a dancer … anyone who knows me will tell you that. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to be a part of “Dance Like The Star” — to help a great cause and step out of my box.

For the last four months, 12 people — from lawyers to ministers and others from the Tupelo, Oxford, New Albany and Ripley area have been practicing — or in my case — learning to dance.

25 hours of lessons paired with a professional instructor from The Dance Studio for a 2-minute performance. It’s worth every minute.

The work that the Boys and Girls club does on a everyday basis is certainly changing lives. If you take the time to visit a club you can see that, its very obvious. Their motto is “Great Futures Start Here” and that’s certainly true.

After weeks of beginning with the basics of dancing, my partner and I chose our song … something fun and fast.

“Kind of clubb-ish. If you like some of those club moves, it has some of those in it. It has a really upbeat rhythm, fast-paced, really good crowd pleaser dance, that’s a popular song,” said professional dancer, Matt Embler.

I suspect the other dancers feel the same way … but my instructor is what makes the show.

“You guys come and we have to give you a foundation of a dance and then do a performance routine in front of over 1000 people for that dance. And that’s something that really sets these stars apart, is normal students before they perform, we get them very comfortable with dancing just socially but you guys have to learn the foundation real quick and you have to get the performance styling, smiling, arms legs, everything ready to go in just a few months,” said Embler.

Saturday night, we not only perform in front of a large crowd but also will be scored by four judges.

“Last year they were pretty tough but they’ll be honest with you and I think everybody’s going to come away with pretty strong grades,” said Embler.

This journey has been a once in a lifetime experience and a great chance to give back to the community. I don’t know about everyone else, but it’s also been something else.
Throughout this whole experience its given me a change to explore myself. Learn something new about myself and beyond just learning how to dance, picking up a new skill, its about helping others and thats the bottom line. No matter win or lose this weekend, and no matter the success, its just about helping others out.

General admission tickets are still available for $20. Call 662-841-6504 to purchase yours.

Fundraising will also be taking place until the night of the performace. If you would like to donate, call the office at 662-841-6504 or visit the website at www.bgcnms.org.

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