Dancing with the Stars is on Season 28, so there has to be something to the glitz, glamour, drama and twirls for the mirror ball trophy. When I was asked to be a part of a local DWTS competition to benefit an organization called NEST Community Learning Center, I said sure! What I’ve learned over the last 8 weeks is that ballroom dancing is indeed hard!
Let me introduce you to my pro first. Alyenendrov Tsorokean is one of the premiere Cabaret and Argentine Tango dancers in the world. He owns and operates Phoenix Rising Latin and Ballroom dance with his wife, Maria.
At our first dance lesson, I got to pick my song (Candy Man by Christina Aguilera) and dance style (Jive) for the competition. Alyenendrov had me walk through some basic jive steps so I could learn the language of the dance and also tested a few lifts.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in this whole process, is the need to try and let someone else lead. In the world of television, I have to make decisions and push forward quickly. But dance does not work like that if you are the female partner. It took me a lot to “let go” and trust where Alyen was leading me. But even a week out from competition, he’ll still tell me, “relax and less bicep,” which is my cue to let go.
I’ve had a few people ask me what are the best and worst parts of the dance process. The best has to be the workout and the general fun of dancing. The hardest part of the process has been exposing a vulnerability. Who wants to be at the complete mercy of a stranger to move your body in ways that aren’t familiar? Or have to eventually jump on said person to get into a lift? I’m the queen of awkward sometimes, and I had to get over that real fast.
Training is a big part of the competition but fundraising is also a leg of the competition. I actually did a unique fundraiser in my neighborhood where I offered up my sewing services in return for a donation. It worked out very well, but I'm still short of my fundraising goal. This is where I'm hoping for your help to get a few more donations before the big dance.
You can go to THIS LINK to make a donation. Just make sure you select "Jennifer Ketchmark" as the star you are supporting to get those funds toward my total. Thank you in advance!
What is NEST Community Learning Center? It’s an RV that has been retrofitted into a mobile learning center. The people behind it take it into low income neighborhoods after school to help with homework and provide a healthy snack. If you’d like to learn more, check out this STORY about NEST on our website.