“Dancing With the Stars — Columbus Style” will mark its 10th anniversary with fundraising shows Jan. 26 and 27 at The Commons, 300 Washington St. in downtown Columbus.

The event, conceived by local dancer Charlotte Battin, has become among the most popular and best-attended local fundraisers, benefiting nonprofit agencies Family School Partners and Children Inc. Learning Centers.

The new, two-evening-show format is being tried because evening shows the past seven to eight years have greatly outsold matinee performances, said Donnie Ritzline, part of a nine-member organizing committee.

Two separate days of performances gives organizers the options of more easily adding a matinee show since a venue already will be booked for two full dates, he said.

“We may be able to grow,” Ritzline said.

Last year’s event, which had two shows on the same day at the former Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, attracted about 1,000 people and raised $80,000.

Organizers say they can fit 440 people for each show at tables inside The Commons compared to 640 per show at the hotel, which is being razed.

The show’s format, taken from television’s “Dancing With the Stars,” often pairs local notables with a dance instructor or an alumnus of the show for a brief dance number to a recorded song. Audience members then vote for their favorite by making monetary donations.

“Dancing With the Stars — Columbus Style” has raised more than $530,000 over the event’s nine years years for the two United Way agencies, organizers said.

Many couples rehearse for several months in preparing for the shows. This year’s couples are:

Brittany Gray and Matt Nieman

Sarah Frasier & Nathan Frasier (instructed by Ronda Byers)

April Williams and Troy Williams (instructed by Sonya Denney)

Robin Gill & Patrick Gill (instructed by Sonya Denney)

Robin Hilber and Devika Patil

Alejandro Rosales and Diane Clancy

Dr. Nate Otte and Martha Richards

Melissa Wilson and Tim Green

Donnie Ritzline and Katrina Ketcham Hardwick

Kordell Reid and Charli Reid

Last year’s winners were Christine Nesci of Sky Sport Fitness and dancing partner Tim Green of QMIX Radio.

Tickets for “Dancing With the Stars — Columbus Style,” Jan. 26 and 27 at The Commons, go on sale at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. administration building, 1200 Central Ave. in Columbus.

  • 7 p.m. Jan. 26 show: $30 per person and $240 per table of eight
  • 8 p.m. Jan. 27 show: $50 per person and $400 for a table of eight.

Information: 812-376-4387.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.