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Local

Morris EMT, dance instructor spice up the stage and wow judges

MORRIS – Five teams competed for the grand champion title in Dancing with the Local Stars to benefit PromFest 2018.

Morris boys soccer coach David Valdivia and Donna Mueller’s School of Dance teacher Stephanie Gallagher won last year’s competition for their salsa dance.

A Mueller’s School of Dance teacher came out as a winner again this year as teacher Karys Olsen took to the gym floor in a fiery performance with Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District EMT David Kelly.

Olsen, 21, has spent the past three years teaching, but started dancing at the studio at the age of 2.

Even with all that experience behind her, she only has danced with a male partner twice before the competition, which she choreographed and taught to Kelly.

“I’ve never done anything where I teach someone and then perform it with them,” Olsen said. “It was a cool experience.”

She said that despite the fun she had with the event, she’s going back into retirement as a dancer and looks forward to coming back next year as one of the judges.

Last year’s champions, Valdivia and Gallagher, sat on this year’s judges panel with former 2016 contestant and MCHS secretary Tyla Ledvina.

The fourth judge’s spot typically is auctioned off to the highest bidder before the competition begins, allowing anyone in the audience to help decide the fate of one of the five teams – for the right price in the silent bid process. This year’s fourth judge was Chatten Dryfhout, who paid $140 for the honor.

Despite the presence of judges, scores had nothing to do with the outcome of the night. The winners typically are chosen by the audience. Each vote comes with the price tag of one dollar. The dancers with the most money win the mirror ball trophy.

This wasn’t the first trophy Olsen has won. She has won many throughout her dance career. When she was younger, some trophies were as tall as she was.

However, Olsen said, this particular trophy meant much more than the others because it was so far from her normal dancing. She said she was nervous because she didn’t know Kelly before the competition.

“Getting to know him made it a lot easier,” she said.

“The event went very well, and I had a lot of fun,” Kelly said. “Karys was great to dance with. She killed the dance – I was just along for the ride.”

The duo scored three perfect scores of 10 in addition to one score of 9.

“Overall, it was a goal that I feel good about and can cross off my bucket list. That’s what makes it my favorite trophy,” Olsen said.

Olsen and Kelly both have plans to return in 2018 to judge another competition fundraiser for PromFest.

PromFest received $4,300 from the event this year, which surpassed last year’s total. All proceeds go to Morris Community High School PromFest.

PromFest is an activity that prom-
goers have the option of attending after prom to provide them with fun activities without the dangers of alcohol or drugs.

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