Dancers prepare for competition

Monday, March 30, 2009

Twelve Putnam County Celebrities will take to the dance floor Saturday as part of the inaugural Dancing With the Putnam County Stars, a fundraiser for the Putnam County Youth Development Commission. The event will closely resemble "Dancing With the Stars," the popular ABC television show.

The local stars have been working for weeks with professional dance partners. Here is a closer look at four of the competitors.

Tammy Amor

Amor has been the executive director of the Greater Greencastle Chamber of Commerce for the past eight years. She is engaged to Brad Johnson, who works for Ivy Tech, and has two sons, 18-year-old Nick and 14-year-old Scott.

Amor lists her hobbies as movies, reading, watching her kids' sporting events and walking. She said she has absolutely no dancing experience and doesn't know why she agreed to participate in Putnam County's version of "Dancing With the Stars."

And what does Amor hope to gain from this experience?

"Courage, better dancing skills and lots of money for the Youth Development Commission," she said.

James Ensley

Ensley is a local attorney and public defender. He and his wife, Cathryn Cassells Ensley, have one son, Boyd.

Ensley's hobbies include golf and attending Indiana University football and basketball games with his family. Community activities he is involved in are the Putnam County Community Foundation and the Putnam County Teen Court.

He has no dance experience to speak of.

"The purpose behind this production is one I believe strongly in and it sounded like a lot of fun," he said.

When all is said and done, Ensley hopes to glean "appreciation for how difficult it is to learn and perform a routine, as well as learn how to do a few moves on the dance floor," he said.

Elaine Peck

Putnam County Community Foundation executive director Elaine Peck is married to husband Ray. The couple lives with their three dogs and seven cats.

In her spare time, Peck enjoys working out, gardening, biking and learning things. In the Putnam County community, she is active in pursuits related to historic preservation, the arts, eco-friendly culture and companion animal care.

Peck has never had any formal dance training, but she agreed to be part of "Dancing With the Stars" because she believes in the cause it will benefit.

"The Youth Development Commission is important to our community and this was a fabulous, fun way to support their mission," she said.

Helping the commission was what made Peck want to participate. She said she wants to help with "financial support for the Youth Development Commission" and "Be a part of a community activity where everyone will have a lot of fun together."

Mark Wildman

Wildman, a counselor at South Putnam Junior-Senior High School, is married to wife June and has two daughters, Ashley and Tessa, and a granddaughter, Elia.

His hobbies are canoeing, camping and fishing. He is a member of New Providence Baptist Church and serves on the board of the South Putnam Education Foundation.

Wildman has no dance experience, but thought Dancing With the Stars was "A positive community activity and a good cause ... and I like a challenge."

After the fundraiser is over, Wildman hopes dancing will become "A new hobby my wife and I can participate in together," he said. "The exercise can't hurt me."

Dancing With the Putnam County Stars will take place at Dixie Chopper Business Center from 6 to 9 p.m. The evening will begin with a social hour, buffet dinner, silent auction, 50-50 raffle and cash bar. The dancing competition will begin at 7:30 p.m.

Other competitors for the title will be Stacey Baugh of Cloverdale Community Schools; Jana Brothers of North Putnam Community Schools; Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray; Gail Smith, owner of Greencastle's Almost Home; Rick Alexander of Wal-Mart Distribution; former DePauw University football coach Nick Mourouzis and Mike VanRennselaer of Greencastle Community Schools.

Each contestant has been paired with a local dance professional to perform a simple routine that will last a maximum of two minutes. The dancer who gets the most points -- a combination of money raised before and during the event and the judges' scores -- will be the Dancing with the Putnam County Stars champion.

The event will be judged by actual Putnam County court judges Diana LaViolette, Matt Headley and Denny Bridges. Emcees will be Jinsie Bingham and Eric Bernsee. Jim Hardwick will act as the DJ.

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  • Good Luck Tammy!!

    I'll be rooting for you!!! - Laura

    -- Posted by luv2bmom2001 on Mon, Mar 30, 2009, at 9:30 AM
  • Great idea! With comedians Eric Bernsee and Jim "Figgy" Hardwick on site, it will be a blast! Now, if you could only get State Rep. Nancy Michael and her husband Steve to cut a rug!

    -- Posted by Dick Hardwick on Mon, Mar 30, 2009, at 2:52 PM
  • You ROCK Jim Ensley.....Should be a welcome improvement for dancing in Maine !!!

    Best Luck !!

    We love you and miss you

    The Connecticut Gang

    -- Posted by mgcassells33 on Mon, Mar 30, 2009, at 3:48 PM
  • Good luck, Jana Brothers, we will be cheering for you! :)

    -- Posted by John3:16 on Tue, Mar 31, 2009, at 9:35 AM
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