Gunnedah locals to fundraise for Cancer Council in Stars of Gunnedah Dance for Cancer | Video

IN STEP: Ben Hennessy, Stacey Cooke, Katie Johnson and Jodi Dolbel are lending their feet to Stars of Gunnedah Dance for Cancer.
IN STEP: Ben Hennessy, Stacey Cooke, Katie Johnson and Jodi Dolbel are lending their feet to Stars of Gunnedah Dance for Cancer.

Twelve Gunnedah residents will put their feet to good use in Stars of Gunnedah Dance for Cancer.

Local participants include Jodi Dolbel (Riley’s Furniture and Carpets), Ben Hennessy (Hennessy’s Real Estate), Stacey Cooke (Walker Beer Solicitors), Katie Johnson (First National Real Estate), councillor Colleen Fuller, Kate Oram (MyGunnedah/Marogallery), Linda Gallagher (Li’l Achievers), Ray Darcey and Christine Day (Gunnedah Bowling and Services Club), Jack Jaeger (Gunnedah Discount Drug Store), police officer Damian Wood, and Will Dowe (Gunnedah Public School).

The participants will call on their inner dancer to raise funds for the Cancer Council on December 2 at the Gunnedah Bowling and Services Club.

Ben, Jodi, Katie and Stacey tell NVI about their new challenge.

The ‘stars’ will showcase a variety of dance styles to entertain their audience, from rock ‘n’ roll to jazz, disco, cabaret, hip-hop and ballroom. They will be tutored over a number of months by Angela Denman from Totally Dance Studio.

The Namoi Valley Independent asked Jodi Dolbel, Ben Hennessy, Stacey Cooke and Katie Johnson how they became involved in the fundraiser, with mixed responses including being ‘dobbed in’ by friends, and being approached by Kate Dubois from the Cancer Council.

But one thing they all had in common was the loss of loved ones to cancer. It was the recent passing of Katie Johnson’s grandmother from cancer that actually brought her to live in Gunnedah.

By way of ‘experience’, Ben admitted that his dancing was mostly limited to social occasions, while Jodi has fond memories of rounding up the neighbourhood children for performances. Both Katie and Stacey recall a number of ‘embarrassing’ experiences from childhood dance classes.

Katie said her last dance experience was captured on video and played by her brother every Christmas.  

“There was this big [dance] finale and I actually got up and walked off,” she said.

“You could hear the teacher screaming at me in the background.”

Stacey said she did both ballet and jazz when she was younger and it was during a group performance to Pat Benatar’s All Fired Up that she did her dash.

“I was so embarrassed because we had this great big finale at the end and they all faced one way and I faced the other way,” she said.

Jodi lamented a more recent experience from her first year in Gunnedah.

“I signed up for adult tap dancing and I realised I had no talent even after I spent a fortune on tap shoes,” she said.

“They’re buried in the bottom of the wardrobe still.”

All of Gunnedah’s ‘stars’ are competing for the highest fundraising amount and supporters can assist them by donating online or attending their fundraising activities in the lead-up to the event. 

Tickets for Stars of Gunnedah Dance for Cancer will go on sale in October.

Gunnedah participants are invited to contact Vanessa Höhnke at NVI if they would like to share their story. Email or phone 6742 0455.


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