Mountain Stars: A glimpse of the dancers | SummitDaily.com

Mountain Stars: A glimpse of the dancers

KIMBERLY NICOLETTI
summit daily news

Tracy Van Anderson never had taken a dance lesson before training for Dancing with the Mountain Stars, but she shakes her booty every week teaching Zumba, a Latin dance fitness party, at the Breckenridge Recreation Center.

“Recently, Zumba has taught me some basic Latin dance moves, but when I started learning the real deal dance moves (for the Mountain Stars), I’ve found it very difficult,” she said. “I have no dance experience, so I don’t know what to do with my arms, hands, head, hips, etc. And spins are just not for me, or I should say, they are not good for my head.”

A native of Boulder, Van Anderson was a cheerleader in junior high and a pom in high school. She began teaching aerobics classes in Aspen in 1985. She met her husband there, and they now live in Breckenridge, where she teaches a variety of fitness classes. While she describes herself as “pretty mellow,” she said when she pumps up the music in her classes, “I take it seriously and come right out of my shell.”

She got involved in Dancing with the Mountain Stars after her friend participated last year. As the idea grew on her, she thought, “How many times does a person get an opportunity to dance with a young professional and work with a world-class choreographer like Mandy Moore?”

“It’s a challenge but I think well worth the trouble of practices and preparation,” she said, adding that she’s looking forward to making new friends and dancing for a great cause.

“I am excited and nervous about partner dancing,” she said. “I love to watch dancers, and I have a huge appreciation of the physical strength, flexibility, commitment and creativity that goes into dancing performances.”

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She works on her routine two to three hours a week with her dance instructor and another two to three a week on her own.

“Of course, my (biggest) fear is about not doing the dance well,” she said. “I would love to put on a great show for all the guests.”

Steve Corneillier doesn’t have any formal dance training, “(but) I did attend my high school prom,” he said, jokingly.

And, since that was more than 45 years ago, he’s practicing his Dancing with the Mountain Stars routine 24/7 –¬†at least mentally.

“(I want to) make sure I take the training wheels off for the Saturday night performance … and don’t look like Shrek when it’s showtime,” he said.

So far, his biggest challenge has been connecting his head to his feet, “and not running over my dance partner, or throwing her off the stage,” he said.

But for him, it’s all worth it. It’s not just about gaining more confidence¬†-that he can dance “on a stage that I’ve never performed on before, nor with the skill sets that I had never developed” – it’s also about helping the community.

Corneillier moved to Summit County several months after the United States Air Force in North Carolina discharged him in 1974. He and his wife, Kathy (whom he’s been married to for 41 years), spent half a year exploring the Western United States, looking for the best place to work, live and raise a family. Summit County was “the final answer,” and Corneillier has worked, nonstop, at Keystone Resort since 1975. He’s moved around from mountain and lodging operations to marketing and sales, but now he has “the best job at Keystone,” at least in his opinion: general manager of golf and recreation.

Because of his love for the county, he has been very involved with fundraising and charitable activities; his favorite organizations are Cerebral Palsy of Colorado, Cystic Fibrosis, National Repertory Orchestra, Lake Dillon Theatre and the Dillon Soap Box Derby. He also loves helping nonprofit organizations raise money through Keystone golf events.

Through dancing, Corneillier aims to extend his volunteer efforts to yet another cause, by helping the Summit Medical Center Health Foundation achieve its goals.

“(The best part is) the energy and excitement that all of the Mountain Star dancers, coaches and instructors exhibit, and being part of a caring and sharing community that has common objectives for a better Summit County,” he said.

Though he jokes that he’s “64 and aging by the end of this experience,” he also adds:

“I’m an animated character when I let my hair hang down!”