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10 celebs ready to go 'Dancing for the Arts'

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Local celebrity dancers who will take part in the eighth annual version of Dancing for the Arts had their first get-together Sunday night and got a look at their competitors.

Now, it’s time to perfect their dance routines, get some votes and raise some cash.

That’s the idea behind the annual friendly dance competition, which raises funds for the Greater Rochester Arts and Cultural Trust, as well as for local youth arts groups. This year’s event is April 13 at Mayo Civic Center.

The 2018 event raised $127,000, with $32,500 of that total awarded to organizations offering art programs to young people.

This year’s celebrity dancers:


• Lori Carrell, chancellor of the University of Minnesota Rochester

• Don Charlson, financial advisor, Edward Jones

• Chris Fierst, owner of the Half Barrel Bar and Bar Buffalo

• Mike Jensen, president, Gauthier Industries

• Jay Jewson, broker/owner, Weichert Realtors-Jewson Properties of Rochester and Wabasha

• Erik Kerska, Rochester fire chief

• Nick McLaughlin, entrepeneur, founder of Stationary Astronaut

• Nicole Nfonoyim-Hara, host and associate producer of R-Town


• Mark Pagnano, M.D., surgeon and chair of the Department of Orthopedics, Mayo Clinic

• Stacey Rizza, M.D., Division of Infectious Diseases, Mayo Clinic, and president-elect, Mayo Clinic staff

They will be paired with professional dancers Gary Dahl, April Dahl, Mike Anderson, Daniel Robb, Joanie Mix-Lande, April Robb, Summer Laqua, Hannah Krystosek, Nicole Anaya and Cassandra Narr.

Celebrity judges are Lisa Clarke, from Destination Medical Center; Kevin Torgerson, Olmsted County sheriff; and Sharon Gentling, award-winning competitive ballroom dancer.

Voting is available online before the event, as well as at the event. OneCause is used for electronic voting, or paper ballots can be downloaded from the website. The votes add up to dollars for the Arts and Cultural Trust.

Tickets, including a plated dinner, are $125. Dessert-only tickets are $50. Tickets are available starting March 1 at, or in person at the Arts and Cultural Trust office in Suite 200 of Mayo Civic Center.

Following the competition, attendees are invited to stay and dance.


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