Students prepare for Dance United annual performance fundraiser
Michael Greco and Shelby Harris met in a Central Michigan University education course during their freshman year in fall 2013.
The four-year friends are now ready for a new challenge outside the classroom.
Harris and Greco are participating in CMU’s fifth annual Dance United fundraiser on Thursday, Nov. 10 at McGuirk Arena. Dance United is a collaboration between United Way of Gratiot and Isabella counties and CMU. The event has raised more than $75,000 since 2012 and raised $27,000 last year.
There is a VIP reception from 6 to 7 p.m. Tables of eight cost $400. General admission is a minimum $5 at the door, which opens at 6:45 p.m.
The event features dance performances from CMU students, faculty and staff.
Greco, from Rochester Hills, said he and Harris, from Canton, wanted to get involved to represent Residence Life since coming to CMU. Greco said they were approached by student coordinator Lucie Sertich in April to gauge their interest in participating in the event.
Time commitment and nerves caused Greco to be hesitant at first, but he decided to give it a go.
“Now that I’ve actually gone through the dancing, the practicing and the fundraising, it’s been really exciting to see,” he said. “Even though we’re having fun in the process, we’re going to make a difference in the end, (no matter) how much money we raise.”
Greco and Harris have been practicing at least once a week for more than an hour since the beginning of the fall semester. The duo is coached by Anna Wagner, a former CMU Dance Team member. Greco and Harris selected a remix of Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” as the track they will dance to.
Harris said once she hears the two-minute, 30-second track play, it makes it easier for her to remember the dance moves. Greco said the duo have added sound effects and created a story to enhance the performance. He declined to comment on what the story would be, calling it a “secret.”
“Definitely for anybody who comes and watches, I think they’ll be amazed at some of the fun moves that we’ve learned in the short span of time,” he said.
The dancers have the luxury of Sertich as a student coordinator. The Port Sanilac senior danced in the event last year with her partner CMU alumnus Anthony Cavataio, and is helping the event this year by being a resource and giving updates to the teams.
“It’s cool to have been a dancer and know a lot of what they’re going through,” Sertich said.
Harris is a resident assistant in Wheeler Hall and Greco is stationed in Robinson and Barnes halls. While the two are busy with other commitments as students, Greco said he and Harris are focused on setting aside time for the event and putting as much effort into it as possible.
“We’re the kind of people (that) don’t like to get involved with everything,” he said. “We like getting involved in a few things and really putting our effort into it.”
Each team has a goal to raise $1,000 each for the event. Greco said he and Harris are about halfway to their goal. People can donate to their page on United Way’s website.
Sertich said she has seen how the partnership between CMU and United Way has increased with the event since its inception five years ago.
“It’s not something that you should not stress or worry about,” she said. “You’re raising awareness and money to help our community.”
Harris said she’s going to go out to the dance floor proud of what she’s done and the money her team raised.
“CMU is so lucky to be in such a beautiful place like Mount Pleasant and have the campus here,” she said. “To give back to the community that has given us so much is really important.”