Gunnedah residents prepare for Cancer Council NSW's Stars of Gunnedah Dance for Cancer

STRIKE A MOVE: Katie Johnson, Jodi Dolbel, Stacey Cooke and Ben Hennessy are getting dance-ready for a good case. Photo: Vanessa Höhnke
STRIKE A MOVE: Katie Johnson, Jodi Dolbel, Stacey Cooke and Ben Hennessy are getting dance-ready for a good case. Photo: Vanessa Höhnke

As December approaches, 14 Gunnedah residents are pouring time and energy into dance routines.

The locals are contestants in the upcoming Stars of Gunnedah Dance for Cancer event, which will raise funds for Cancer Council NSW.

Among the participants are Ben Hennessy, Katie Johnson, Stacey Cooke and Jodi Dolbel who are each learning a different dance style for their performances on December 2.

NVI catches up with Jodi Dolbel, Katie Johnson, Stacey Cooke and Ben Hennessy about their growing dance skills.

Mr Hennessy will be performing a routine of Chicago theatrical jazz with dance partner Rayna Russo from Muswellbrook.

The realtor said he watched a few online videos of 1960s videos to get in the spirit, and has undertaken two lessons with Ms Russo.

“We’ve made some good progress,” he said.

Katie Johnson will be performing the tango with Jack Jaeger. Her routine has been choreographed by local dance teacher Angela Denman of Totally Dance Studios.

“It is fast and my dancer partner is my cousin, and when you’re trying to do the national dance of love, it’s very awkward,” Ms Johnson said.

The young woman said they have had a few collisions and often stepped on one another’s toes in practices.

“Remembering the dance moves has been my big challenge [but] I think it will all come together in the end,” she said.

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Stacey Cooke is learning a showgirl routine, complete with four mini back-up dancers. 

“I have to do a lot of turns and I get dizzy [but] we’ve got the routine nailed. Now it’s just perfecting it,” Mrs Cooke said.

The business woman said Angela Denman choreographed the routine and was organising her music and costume as well.

Jodi Dolbel is being trained-up by Totally Dance Studios student, Casey Eagan, in the style of hip-hop.

Mrs Dolbel said she was having trouble with her sense of direction, which was problematic because the opening move in her routine is a kick.

"It’s going to be hilarious,” she said.

“I cannot get my left and my right, right

“I put the video [of the dance steps] on and I practice all week in front of the mirror but when I get to the studio, I kick the wrong way.”

Despite her directional difficulties, Mrs Dolbel said she had the rest of the steps down-pat.

“I love it,” she said.

“It’s really good fun.”

All of the dance contestants are striving to raise $3000 each for the Cancer Council and Mrs Dolbel said she was impressed with the community’s response.

“The community support has been amazing,” she said.

“Considering there have been so many charity events lately, people are still putting their hands in their pockets.

“We live in such a wonderful, generous community. We should count ourselves lucky.”