A former Tahoe Valley Elementary School teacher and student took home the prize at the sixth annual Dancing with the Tahoe Stars event last Saturday at the MontBleu Showroom.
Wowing judges and voting audience members alike with their choreographed foxtrot to Frank Sinatra's "I Won't Dance," Bob Grant and Robyn Lindner were the winners of the Tahoe Arts Project (TAP) fundraising event, which attracted nearly 1,300 attendees and raised $60,000 (not excluding expenses) for the nonprofit.
"Robyn was one of my students when I taught 4th grade. It was really great getting to do a show with her again," said Grant.
"He was the director of a bunch of children's plays that I did when I was younger and also the director of 'Ebenezer Scrooge,' which was an annual play that we held every year at Harrah's for 20 years," added Lindner, who now teaches at South Tahoe High School and owns the dance and fitness studio known as The Bar.
Over the course of six weeks, the dance pair got together twice a week to perfect their routine.
"This year was the first year we had to incorporate whatever the star's profession was into the dance," explained Lindner. "We had a chalkboard, a desk, an apple and report cards."
And just before the conclusion of the dance, the duo climbed on top of the desk to perform a tap dance.
"We definitely put in the work to earn the win," said Lindner. "Bob did fantastic. We did a whole bunch of lifts at the end of the dance, which is challenging in and of itself, but at the end when you're tired — he pulled it off."
"I've done lifts before but not for a really, really long time," laughed Grant. "We just wanted to make it something fun for everyone to watch. But to win, that was great."
For the first time, this year anyone could help determine the winner by donating to their favorite couple. These donations, combined with judges' and audience members' votes, determined the winner.
Though they didn't clinch the win, dance partners Leon Malmed and Alejandra Quirarte raised the most money for TAP.
"All of that money will go towards performing arts in our local schools and the community," said Peggy Blowney, TAP executive director. "It will go right back into hiring performing artists to come into all of the schools here for assembly, education-style programs for over 4,000 kids in Tahoe."
The next performance, singing group Derik Nelson and Family, comes to area schools the week of March 19 – 23 with a public show on the 23rd at Lake Tahoe Community College.
"I want to thank everybody who participated in Dancing with the Tahoe Stars for all of their hard work and thank everybody who attended," said Blowney. "Seeing that showroom full like that is absolutely amazing for us."