You can dance if you want to – but only for one more year.
If you have always wanted to see the spectacular dance moves that are part of the region's premier social event, make sure you attend the seventh annual Movers & Shakers Gala, set for Saturday, May 17, at Lakeland College.
This is the final year that Sheboygan County "celebrities" will show off their best dance moves to raise money for local charities and nonprofit organizations, Lakeland College and The Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra.
The Movers & Shakers Gala will have a new format in 2015, and a sneak preview will be unveiled at this year's event.
"Ever since we introduced the Movers & Shakers Gala in 2008, people have been excited to see the evening we have planned for them each May," said Deborah Wente, a member of the Lakeland Board of Trustees and the chair of the Movers & Shakers organizing committee. "We are ready for a big finish for this format, and we cannot wait to preview to our supporters what we have planned for the future.
"The community support and volunteer interest for Movers & Shakers continues to be strong. These people join our 'celebrities,' local companies and our guests who give financially to make this evening successful."
Guests this year can expect to once again see Lakeland's Todd Wehr Center transformed into a beautiful ballroom with an inviting dance floor, a massive lighting setup and huge video screens to provide a who's who of Sheboygan County a lush stage to showcase their best moves.
In its previous six years, Movers & Shakers has raised more than $2.5 million, including a four-year total of $263,500, for more than 30 nonprofit organizations.
Major sponsors of this year's Gala are the Frank G. and Frieda K. Brotz Family Foundation, Festival Foods and Studio Gear Technology. Additional event sponsors include Blue Moon Studios, Huber Creatives, Salon Sase, Zimmermann Printing and Canopies Events with Distinction.
Movers & Shakers is pleased to welcome nine new dancers, and each dancer has selected a charity which will benefit from their votes sales.
The 2014 lineup:
- Jason Bemis, of Bemis Manufacturing, will dance the Viennese Waltz. Votes for Bemis will also benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sheboygan County. Bemis is sponsored by Bemis Manufacturing Co.
- Rodney Ellison, a Lakeland graduate who works as a physical trainer at the Sports Core, will dance the Mambo. Votes for Ellison will also benefit the Sheboygan County Cancer Care Fund. Ellison is sponsored by Plastics Engineering Company.
- Eric Kriete, a Lakeland graduate who owns The Silver Fern Pub in Sheboygan, will dance a Swing medley. Votes for Kriete will also benefit The Salvation Army-Sheboygan. Kriete is sponsored by The Silver Fern.
- Ashok Rai, the president and chief executive officer of Prevea Health in Green Bay, will dance the Bollywood-style Tango. Votes for Rai will also benefit the Sheboygan County Cancer Care Fund. Rai is sponsored by Prevea Health.
- Tammy Schaefer, whose husband, Larry, founded the popular Legend Larry's, will dance the Viennese Waltz. Votes for Schaefer will also benefit Bookworm Gardens and Rainbow Kids. Schaefer is sponsored by Legend Larry's.
- Johanna Schmidt, a student at the University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan, will dance the West Coast Swing. Votes for Schmidt will also benefit Rotaract. Schmidt is sponsored by Sheboygan County Rotary Clubs and Sartori Cheese.
- Nichola Stayer-Suprick, an active volunteer in the community, will dance the Cha-Cha Two-step. Votes for Stayer-Suprick will also benefit Safe Harbor. Stayer-Suprick is sponsored by Johnsonville Sausage.
- Julie Steinert, a nonprofit professional currently serving as office administrator of her husband's dental practice, will dance the Cha-Cha Hip Hop. Votes for Steinert will also benefit Meals on Wheels of Sheboygan County. Steinert is sponsored by Peter J. Steinert DDS SC and Bank First National.
- Tracy Wusterbarth, a human resources specialist at ACUITY, will dance the Jive. Votes for Wusterbarth will also benefit Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice. Wusterbarth is sponsored by ACUITY.
Complete biographies of each dancer are available on the Movers & Shakers website, http://moversandshakersgala.org.
The celebrities will be paired with a professional dancer, and are in the midst of months of training before they compete to win the support of four judges and what's sure to be another sell-out crowd.
A limited number of tickets are available and can be purchased online at the Movers & Shakers website or by contacting Kym Leibham, Lakeland's alumni & community engagement officer, at or 920-565-1014.
You don't have to attend the event to help support the charities. Anyone can purchase votes, at $20 each, for their favorite dancer prior to the event at the Movers & Shakers website. These charities receive 50 percent of the proceeds raised from the votes for each dancer on their behalf, so vote early and often.
Matt Quasius, who danced in 2011, is returning for his second year as host for the evening. Judges Sandi Vasatka and Jessica Mueller will be joined by guest judges Sheri Murphy, the 2012 Movers & Shakers Gala champion, and Tom Liebl, president and chief operating officer of Sheboygan Paper, Co., who purchased the fourth judge spot at the 2013 event.
A pre-event reception begins at 5:30 p.m., followed at 6:45 by seating in the ballroom for dinner, which features a mouthwatering menu prepared by Lakeland's Dining Services staff.
Several of the professional dancers will perform as part of a new feature this year. The couples include Angela and Frank Gillitzer, Sue Alby and Rod Schulz and Suzana Gossett and Joey Santos.
Following the competition, the dance floor will be open to all guests and Downtown Harrison will provide music for the remainder of the evening.
You can also be part of the pre-event buzz by joining dancers, committee members, guests and volunteers on Facebook at http://moversandshakersgala.org/facebook. "Like" the event page for regular updates.
If you want to get behind the scenes and help make this evening possible, a number of volunteer opportunities are open to the community. More information is available at http://moversandshakersgala.org/volunteer.