Tara's Take: Critter Ball Training Begins!

By: Tara Wheeler
By: Tara Wheeler

I've always dreamed of being on "Dancing with the Stars" and now I get to have a taste of that experience. I've been asked to participate in Charlottesville's Version: The Critter Ball, to raise money for the SPCA and I just finished my first lesson with my dance instructor!

I've always dreamed of being a big enough deal to be on "Dancing with the Stars" . Far-fetched fantasy perhaps, but my hopes are perked because now I get to have a taste of that experience! I've been asked to participate in Charlottesville's Version of the competition, The Critter Ball, to raise money for the SPCA!

YES! Someone's going to turn me into a dancer!!!

The theme this year is "Shake Rattle and Roll" 1950's. Only my favorite fashion decade. I can't wait to pick out my outfit! The fabulous Jessica Jaglois is emceeing the event. She's also my roommate (I'll write another blog on that later... hard-hitting lead reporter moves in with spunky entertainment anchor... we should have our own reality show).

Anyhoo, I'm really excited and yesterday I got to meet my talented instructor for our first lesson! His name is Gary Chovan and he's awesome. Here's a bit about him:

Gary is an RN with the Charlottesville City School system and has been a dance instructor for over thirty years.  He teaches ballroom dance through the City Parks and Rec and previously worked as a ballroom dance instructor at studios in Ohio, Arizona and Virginia.  Recognized for his easy and humorous teaching style, Gary has studied under some of the finest professionals in the dance business including several US and World champions.  In 2000, Gary was named dance professional of the year by the Richmond USA Dance Chapter for his service and leadership.  Gary currently serves on the board of the Charlottesville USA Dance Chapter and is married to Donna Arehart. 

His humorous teaching style will come in handy with me! His wife, Donna told me that when she asked him to be an instructor he said "On one condition... I want to work with Tara Wheeler". Yes! So they asked me to take part in the festivities and I couldn't be more excited!

Gary and I will be performing a Rumba routine to the Dean Martin classic "Sway" . Cute, right?! I've learned a few moves but I've got a long way to go. The Critter Ball is on October 29th and I'll need every day! Gary and I are planning on bringing our A-game with a fun and challenging routine and I can't wait for you all to see it!

Our next rehearsal is tomorrow morning and I'll be keeping you all posted on our progress...

For now, let's talk about how you all can help Gary and I win... and help the animals at the SPCA!

Once all of the other celebrity contestants bios are up on the Critter Ball web page, you can make a donation to Gary and I and that counts as a vote. The most votes wins and no matter what, the cute critters benefit!

Gotta go practice my hip sway... until next time!


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