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The Ballarat Foundation team were thrilled to put on the very first Dancing With Our Stars at the Civic Hall on June 22nd. And what a night it was! We were so pleased with the way the Ballarat community came together, not only fundraise but to have a fun night of entertainment, dancing and music.

The preparations for the night began many, many weeks ago at The Dance Studio, with a bunch of local identities nervously gathered around and wondering what on earth they had got themselves into. Shelley Ross and her very talented team of dancers soon put any nerves to rest as she partnered the stars with an experienced dancer. We are extremely grateful to Shelly and her team for the hard work they put in over the coming weeks. Shelley managed to transform this motley crew into slick, well-rehearsed dancers on the dance floor.

The night got underway with the brilliant Julia Zass and the hilarious Bryce Ives expertly navigating the 500 strong audience through the event. With judges, Bruce Roberts, Connie Lemkie and Abbey Ross in position with a critical eye, the night got off to a start with Liana Skewes roaring onto stage with her partner performing the Samba. Next Samantha swept around the dancefloor in an elegant pink gown dancing the Viennese Waltz.

George Fong then performed a powerful tango, followed by Amy McDonald blitzing the floor with the Quick Step. Malcolm Roberts wooed the whole crowd with his romantic number, which won over the judges too, as they named him the winner at the end of the night.  

Shaune Moloney was up next and clearly a crowd favourite as he danced the Cha Cha Cha with vivacious arms! Rosemary Aldrich set the dance floor on fire with a Slow Fox Trot to Fever, followed by Robyn Upton dancing the Swing Waltz with plenty of boisterous encouragement from her camp. Mark Nunn was next to take the stage with an American Smooth number and to finish it off, Dylan LeSock blew everyone away with a fun, fast paced jive.

Following the individual dances, the group number took place while votes were counted to name the winner of the People’s Choice Awards. The winner went to Mark Nunn who raised a remarkable $26,804. We really owe a great deal to these stars who put their hands up in order to raise some funds for the Ballarat community. They invested so much of their personal time into dance training and fundraising and we are incredibly grateful. Altogether, the night raised $112,764 which is just amazing!

We must extend our thanks to the sponsors of the dancers – Stockland, Face and Smile, the Canberra Hotel, Ballarat Claredon College, BIRCH, Audi Centre Ballarat, Homley and Clarke Clean. Also, to everyone who helped make the night possible – Pepper Brand Management, Nine Network, The Courier, Regent Cinemas, 3BA, Power FM and the City of Ballarat. Of course, a huge thank you to Gems and Jewels for providing that stunning diamond ‘Grace’ ring valued at over $22,000 that went to one very lucky winner.

And lastly, thank you to everyone who voted. Our combined efforts mean that the Ballarat Foundation will be able to continue connecting those who care, with those in need and causes that matter, in order to make Ballarat a better place to live.