Robin McMillin says as a dance enthusiast, she's maybe 3.5 points on a scale of one to five.
Gemineye says he took a couple dance lessons before his wedding, and that's pretty much his entire dance background.
"She's awesome," Gemineye says of his dance partner. "But she thinks I'm just gonna pick up these things."
What: Dancing with the
Rogue Valley Stars
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14
Where: North Medford High School Auditorium, 1900 N. Keene Way Drive, Medford
Tickets: $15 at the door
McMillin, a teacher in Central Point, and Gemineye, a disc jockey on 107.5 FM, make up one of 10 dancing couples that will compete in Dancing With the Rogue Valley Stars, a benefit patterned after the popular television show.
The event will take place Saturday, Nov. 14, at North Medford High School. It's a benefit for the Sparrow Club of Southern Oregon, and to lesser extent USA Dance, a nonprofit organization that promotes ballroom dancing.
The event pairs local "stars" such as actress Jennifer Murphy — whose credits include spots on television shows such as "The Apprentice," "20/20" and "CSI" and a role in the film "Killer Movie," bowler Marshall Holman and Dr. Robin Miller with experienced dancers. Each star has already raised $250 from a local business sponsor to cover the expenses of putting on the show. That permits organizers to use 100 percent of the ticket proceeds to benefit the non-profits, McMillin says.
After the dance couples do their routines, audience members will vote for their favorites. Each ticket will have one vote, and voters can also buy votes for $1 each. The evening will also include dance exhibitions by several dance groups from around the valley.
McMillin says the voting rules represent a rare instance of vote-buying being a good thing. She says she started out as just one of the dancers in the program but was impressed by its goals and decided to get involved.
"I got sucked into volunteering," she says.
She says that's because she's been impressed by the work the Sparrow Club does in area schools. The event was organized by the Southern Oregon Sparrow Club and the nonprofit USA Dance, with the Sparrow Club getting two-thirds of the ticket money.
"A lot of organizations help a medically needy child," McMillin says. "But Sparrow Club helps the whole school. Not only do they raise money to help the child, they involve the whole school in doing community service to help the family. Every kid in the school is affected."
Sparrow Club's Matt Sampson says Rush Behnke, of Medford, who heads USA Dance, had the idea for the show some time ago, and he thought it was a good fit for Sparrow Club, which took its name from a Bible verse about God caring for sparrows.
Dancers taking part in the contest received five private lessons and committed to a least five additional hours of practice over the last 10 weeks.
"It became obvious right away we needed to do more than that," McMillin says. "On the TV show, they do 40 to 60 hours."
She and Gemineye worked on their number, a slow Lindy hop, at least a couple hours a week.
"We've gotten through the routine," she says. "But I wouldn't call it polished."
Gemineye laughs. He says he doesn't like to try new things.
"This pushed me into a whole new territory," he says. "Maybe, just possibly, I was caught in some (famously baggy) M.C. Hammer pants back in the day."
He admits to being a closet fan of the TV show, adding that he's followed it every season.
He says the routine he and McMillin put together has evolved until it's a lot different from the way it started.
"I thought it was gonna be just something I could just walk into and get it done," he says. "It's a matter of dealing with the changes Robin throws in."
McMillin says it's been a blast.
"We had a lot of laughs."
Sampson says he's hoping for a full house.
"I'd love to see it raise $10,000," he says. "They say the first time with an event is the time you learn the most."
Gemineye says he's ready for whatever happens.
"I'm used to making a fool of myself in front of folks," he says. "If I mess up, I mess up."
Reach reporter Bill Varble at firstname.lastname@example.org or 776-4478