Dancing with the Richmond Stars

“Dancing with the Stars” has been such a huge hit over the past several years.  Now, in it’s 24th season, it is still going strong!  When I allow my girls to watch it (which is not very often, as I’m very low tech with the kids), they are glued to the screen.  They love hearing the personal stories of the celebrities, the intense training that the competitors have to go through and of course, the glitzy final production in the end!

After the amazing success of “Dancing with the Stars” (which in fact started as “Strictly Come Dancing” in the UK), there have been numerous events and fundraisers around the world, mimicking the popular format of the show.  Locally here in Greater Vancouver Area, we have the charity event “Dancing with the Richmond Stars”, which has been successfully organized by the Richmond Community Hospice Foundation, and has just completed it’s 6th year!

David & I filling up our plates at the buffet [I’m pretty sure that’s him telling me that the show is going to start soon, and that I shouldn’t eat too much!]

Personally, I’ve been involved with “Dancing with the Richmond Stars” for the past 3 years.  This year, the event was held on March 4th at the River Rock Casino Resort.  It was a fantastic event, including live music, a scrumptious buffet (which I can attest to, having eaten too much before the show), of course the competition itself, a few additional dance showcases and dancing to a live DJ for the rest of the night.

Freddie & Clara showcasing their winning performance from DWTRS 2016.


Last year, I was fortunate enough to be paired with local celebrity Firefighter, Freddie Klomp.  As soon as I saw this young, burly firefighter walk into the studio, I knew we were set!  I decided (against my own better judgement) to do a highly energetic, cardio intensive Swing number to play to Freddie’s strengths.  Unfortunately, I forgot that I am not as young and energetic as I used to be (being a busy mother of two), so I struggled to keep up with my own choreography!  😀

I guess it all paid off in the end, as we came out victorious, won the trophy last year (which I’m sure his firefighting buddies were all over him about) and were invited back this year to do an encore performance.  During the first rehearsal back, as I was huffing and puffing halfway through the routine, I looked over at Freddie (who was also out of breath, I might add) and said to him… “I’m not sure coming back… pant, pant… and doing the show again… pant, pant… is a reward for winning or actually a punishment!”  😀

JC Performance Team doing their rendition of “Singing In the Rain”

Seriously though, it was great fun to be involved with such a worthy cause as the Richmond Community Hospice Foundation, and to spread the love of dance with the two Marasigan brothers in my life: David (my brother-in-law and partner in organizing the Vancouver Challenge Cup), as well as my husband and partner in life, Joel.

Joel teaching a Hustle line dance to the excited DWTRS crowd!

David Marasigan was once again a Professional Dance Instructor who trained his celebrity, Lynn Walters, a retired Registered Nurse and Fitness professional.  Joel, Director of JC Dance Co. Performance Team, led the team to perform two fabulous shows:  Che Tango Che & Singing in the Rain.  The response to all of the dance showcases was simply amazing!

At the end of the showcase, when the crowd was invited to take to the stage and learn a few steps of their own, I couldn’t believe how many people came up and boogied the night away.  [Even my awesome partner from the 4th Annual DWTRS, Robert Madsen, joined us up on stage!]

Faye Hung with partner Danny Baker, who definitely won for the most fancy updo!

It was great to see so many notable people from the Richmond community mix with enthusiastic dancers of the Ballroom dance community.  Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie gave a warm and welcoming speech, as well as MLA Linda Reid (who was one of the three esteemed judges) to start off the evening events.  Andy & Wendy Wong, who in fact hosted the first ever “Dancing with the Richmond Stars” at the Grand Ballroom back in 2012 was in attendance with some of their very supportive students.  Faye Hung, from the Crystal Ballroom in Richmond, was also there, competing with a amazingly coiffed, fellow Richmond firefighter, Danny Baker;  and our friends from Victory Dance Club (who teach alongside us at the Broadway Ballroom) were also there with a great group of dancers cheering them on.

The full cast of DWTRS 2017!

“Dancing with the Richmond Stars” is definitely a great opportunity for all of us dancers and community members to get together for a good cause.  It was fun to see professionals, amateurs, competitors, social dancers and dancers representing all different studios around the Lower Mainland excited to share their passion for dance.

Thank you to Pat Miller for inviting us to come back each year, to Memories in Motion Photography for all the awesome photos capturing the true essence of the event; and congratulations to double winner, Patty Friesen with her instructor William Wu for doing an awesome Samba routine, as well as for bringing in an overwhelming amount of support to the event.


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