SwingShift celebrates newest stars

Newest SwingShift stars gear up for intense rehearsals.

Six local celebrities are lacing up their dancing shoes for Traverse City's version of Dancing With The Stars.

The sixth season of SwingShift and the Stars kicked off Thursday night with the announcement of who will be dancing and the charities they will be dancing for.

The Milliken Auditorium erupted with cheers as the names were called. Some people had signs made up, already rooting for their favorite dancers and causes.

The dancers are in for a pretty intense competition and a lot of training.

â??I'm going to work him really hard. I will push him and push and push until he can't do anything anymore,â?? said Maria West, the dance expert for team Habitat for Humanity.

Westâ??s partner says heâ??s never danced, but that is not going to hold him back. â??I have two left feet that are tangled right now, but I'm excited,â?? said Dan Brady.

The dancers will take on four different dances over the next four months. They have four weeks to master each one, starting with either a waltz or quickstep.

â??You can't really describe it because it's difficult, challenging, and fun, and discouraging and then frustrating. Then rewarding. At the end of each competition it's so rewarding,â?? said West.

The woman behind the idea says she wanted to create a new way for the community to be engaged in fundraising.

â??How do you make people want to be energized and come? These charities are doing awesome things in our community,â?? said creator Judy Harrison.

Here is this yearâ??s lineup:

  • Rick Summers will be dancing for the Father Fred Foundation.

  • Tammy Ensman will be raising money for the Grand Traverse Dyslexia Association.

  • Lars Kelto will be dancing for the Great Lakes Children's Museum.

  • Dan Brady will be dancing for Habitat For Humanity.

  • Jen Klabunde will be raising money for No Unwanted Pets.

  • Juliette Schultz will be dancing for the Peace Ranch.

The charities agree the contest is great for community recognition.

"We're out there. This is what we do. Please help us!â?? said Patti Goudey from No Unwanted Pets.

A total of 25 charities applied. 7&4 News is told the six selected are just as excited as the dancers for this year's competition.

â??I couldn't even begin to guess who's going to be our front-runner. They're pretty psyched,â?? said Harrison.

The four dance-offs will take place on the third Friday of each month, ending in December.

7&4News is told table seats are already sold out, as well as many of the general admission tickets.

To date, SwingShift has raised nearly $700,000. They are hoping to top the one million dollar mark in total donations this season.