In five years, it’s become one of the hottest tickets in town. Let’s Dance Louisville, our city’s own, fun-filled version of Dancing with the Stars, raises the roof at the downtown Marriott while raising much-needed funds for our hungry and homeless.
It’s the perfect mid-summer night out: watching local personalities and business leaders show off their moves on a glitzed-up dance floor in the ballroom of our recently renovated Louisville Marriott Downtown. “I’ve been dancing all my life-- free style,” says Rocco Cadolini, owner of ROC, the chic Italian eatery on Bardstown Road. “I don’t think I have competition for charisma. I am going for the win!”
While not every one of the 11 contestants have Rocco’s swagger, they all share his enthusiasm and commitment to doing good. The dancers have all been fundraising for months, competing to raise the most money for The Sandefur Dining Room at the Cathedral of the Assumption, which has been feeding our local hungry and homeless for over eighty years. Every one-dollar vote they get online—and they get thousands—at letsdancelouisville.org goes to this worthy organization. (You can go online and vote for your favorite or favorites.)
At the same time, they’ve also been preparing to compete underneath a glistening disco ball. They do this by training with local dance instructors from Derby City Ballroom, Continental Dance Studio and Bourbon Tangostudios. Once they hit that dance floor this month, each dancer will receive both a technical score from returning judges Leslie Smart, Jonathan Burton and Louisville Ballet’s Artistic and Executive Director, Robert Curran and a people’s choice from their on-line voting tallies.
"The Feed My Neighbor program was created to raise awareness and much needed funds for the Sandefur Dining Room.”
Kevin Harned, chief meteorologist for WAVE3 will keep the evening moving as master of ceremonies, while Kelly K and Sarah Jordan from 99.7 WDJX will co-emcee the dance portion of the evening, adding to the already amped-up energy of the event. “We are so lucky to have them all on board,” says David Grantz, president of Buzz Advertising and a Cathedral parishioner who helps to promote the event. “The production of the show has really evolved over the years.”
The popularity and success of this event has translated into successful fundraising for Sandefur. “In the past four years, we have raised 1.2 million dollars,” says Grantz. “One hundred percent of our proceeds go directly to the Sandefur Dining Room. They are open 365 days a year; they never close.”
The mission of the Dining Room has evolved over the decades. While it began serving mostly male veterans, it now feeds many families. “This program benefits thousands of our community’s downtown neighbors and friends who are in need of a hot meal and friendly encouragement,” says Grantz. “The Sandefur Dining Room serves 45,000 meals each year. Our guests are either homeless or working poor. It feeds many families—from babies in strollers to elementary students to young teens.” It’s a cause for which these dozen locals gladly get up and dance.
IF YOU GO
The fifth annual Let’s Dance Louisville charity event will be hosted by the Feed My Neighbor program of the Sandefur Dining Room at the Louisville Marriott Downtown on Saturday June 23, at 6 p.m. Reservations are $125 per person. Cocktail attire is preferred.
For more information, visit letsdancelouisville.org or call 502-657-5222.