MERRILLVILLE | It may not have been Hollywood, but eight local “stars” took to the Celebrity Ballroom dance floor Thursday at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza.
The four couples performed for charity and trophies during the Dancing with the Local Stars contest, which benefited the Lake Area United Way.
While dancers in town for the annual Indiana Challenge this weekend looked on, a high school teacher and a financial secretary took first and second place in performances that won high praise from the judges.
The first place trophy was won by Dave Pishkur, of Valparaiso, teacher and varsity baseball coach and Andrean High School. With partner Danielle Karczewski, of the Fred Astaire Dance Studio, Pishkur performed an energetic swing dance to the beat of “Get Back” by the Beatles. Andrean baseball team members, as well as Pishkur's wife, family and friends, cheered him across the dance floor.
“It was definitely a different environment,” Pishkur said of the dance competition. "(But) it was really fun. I enjoyed the practices, I enjoyed every moment of it.”
Financial secretary Rosa Maria Rodriquez and her partner Kenneth Kollasch, of Arthur Murray Dance Studio, won second place. Rodriquez pronounced herself nervous prior to the dance, but Kollasch said that was a good thing.
“I’ve always been told that if you aren’t a little nervous, then you aren’t into the excitement (of the moment),” he said.
Melissa Bohacek, communications manager/executive assistant for Northwest Indiana Community Action, and partner Kevin Crowe, of Fred Astaire, won third place for a cha cha.
Matt Sharp, an Indiana University Northwest student and intern at The Times, paired with Hannah Pender, of Fred Astaire, and took fourth place.
Each year the event, organized by Tim and Sue Bourget of Second Street Dance Studio in Schererville, features local amateurs and professionals who perform publicly to raise money for the United Way. All money raised by Thursday night’s ticket sales went to the 2014 United Way Campaign.