participant in Dancing With Our Stars takes on a new dance challenge | The mail

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A Ballarat radiologist who first learned ballroom last year for a charity event is preparing to dance at a national competition this week. Alicia Wang Sheludko is taking part in the Australian Dancesport Championships on Friday in Bendigo for what will be her first dance competition. She said she caught the ‘ballroom dancing bug’ after taking part in the Ballarat Foundation’s fundraising event, Dancing With Our Stars, in March 2021. Ms Sheludko performed the Viennese Waltz with her partner Mark Vanderkley for the event which raised over $100,000. “I loved it. It was so much fun,” she said. “I really love dancing. I had done other types of dance as a kid. I wanted to rekindle that passion and ballroom was something I had never done before.” Ms. Sheludko continued her ballroom dancing lessons with Dance Studio teacher Shelley Ross, who devotes more than 1,000 hours of her time teaching attendees at the fundraising event. She teaches 10 dancing couples for at least two hours a week before the Dancing With Our Stars gala. “It’s great to be a Ballaratian and give back to the community. And it’s a lot of fun,” Ms. Ross said. Ms Ross said Ms Sheludko was ‘so talented’ and understood dance, taking steps quickly. Ms Sheludko is one of six couples taking part in the national dance competition this weekend from Ms Ross’ dance studio. She will dance rumba, waltz, quickstep, cha cha and jive. “It’s been difficult for the past two years and things have changed in the world,” Ms Sheludko said. “The news has been depressing recently. It’s something that has lifted people’s spirits to be able to do something outside of work again, enjoy and find a new hobby, but also something to look forward to.” Ms Ross said she was unsure what the competition would be like with almost all dance competitions canceled throughout the coronavirus pandemic. “One couple did one competition and another did two competitions in two years, when normally there is a competition at least once a month,” she said. “I have no idea what it will be. It’s the big one everyone wants to do well in.” RELATED COVERAGE: Dancing With Our Stars 2021: A big night as the event raises $100,000 for the Ballarat Foundation Ms Ross is preparing for the next iteration of Ballarat’s Dancing With Our Stars to be held in June this year. The Ballarat Foundation team is finalizing the new entrants, Ms. Ross is confirming her dancers to partner with the stars and she has chosen the music, themes and routines. This year’s stars will begin their Dancing With Our Stars journeys in April and will have 10 weeks of classes. “It’s exciting to think of all the new people coming to Dancing With Our Stars and their new dance awakenings,” Ms Ross said. Ms Shelukdo said she was touched by the community support on her Dancing With Our Stars journey, raising more than $14,600 to help the Ballarat Foundation break cycles of disadvantage. “Knowing that we’ve made a difference in people’s lives has been an incredible experience,” she said. “It shows what an amazing city Ballarat is. ‘I encourage everyone to support the upcoming Dancing With Our Stars for such a worthy cause.’ Ms Sheludko is not the only participant in the event from the last year to have continued dance lessons with Ms Ross. Many more have continued their dance journey which began with intensive lessons leading up to the charity event. Ballarat Foundation staff say this is a testament to her as a teacher that first-time dancers continue to learn after the big charity event is over. Chief Executive Andrew Eales said the Dancing With Our Stars event has been a fantastic way for the community to support a cause, but also for participants to have fun and learn something new.” I think it can be underestimated in today’s environment how important it is to engage in positive outcomes for the communal you,” he said. “Dancing With Our Stars is a great way for people to be influential and get something back while they give.” Visit dancesportlivestream.com.au/ to register and watch the live stream of the competition. Have you subscribed to The Courier’s variety of informational emails? You can sign up below and make sure you’re up to date with everything happening in Ballarat.

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