Dancing with the Mountains Stars saves the last waltz for tenth year
Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons is no stranger to life-threatening situations, but much more terrifying for the law enforcement official is stepping outside his wheelhouse and onto the dance floor.
Ask FitzSimons to knock down the door of a suspected drug house, and he won’t blink. Tell him to serve a warrant on a potentially dangerous criminal — he can do that, too. But ask the law enforcement official who once worked the streets in Los Angeles and served as a member of the SWAT team to perform as one of the featured celebrities for Dancing with the Mountain Stars, and that’s an entirely different story.
“Everything in my world, I’m good with,” FitzSimons said of the dangers associated with enforcing the law. “I’ve been highly trained, and none of (those life-threatening situations) scared me. Dancing, though, that scared me, but if there’s anything I’ve learned over the years, it’s to face your demons, go outside of the box and do things you’re not comfortable with.”
The annual fundraiser that’s been a staple of support for the St. Anthony Summit Medical Center Foundation since 2008 is ready to kick up its heels for the 10th and final show this weekend. Organizers are calling it, “The Last Dance.”
Event planner Amanda Popp said retiring Dancing with the Mountain Stars, an event that’s paired local celebrities with professional dancers, has been “bittersweet” for her and for the foundation.
Unlike previous years, this year’s Dancing with the Mountain Stars won’t be about crowning a winner. Instead, it’s designed as a showcase of the talent that’s been featured over the years, with all the celebrity dancers who’ve competed in the first nine shows being invited back for one more performance.
This year, they will perform in group numbers choreographed by Summit County graduate Mandy Moore, well known for her work on the reality TV shows “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dancing with the Stars,” and the Oscar-winning film “La La Land,” starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.
Popp said Moore was kind enough to donate her time and did all of the work for this year’s fundraiser pro bono.
“I just love her,” Popp said. “She’s just the most delightful person.”
Also, the foundation will be revealing a new signature fundraising event at Saturday’s finale to take the place of Dancing with the Mountain Stars. Popp was tight-lipped about what that new event might be, and she refused to give even a hint.
“If I told you, I’d have to kill you,” she joked.
The grand finale of Dancing with the Mountain Stars starts at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Keystone Conference Center. The event is scheduled to last until about midnight. Ticket sales have closed.
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