Dance show grooves for the Estacada community
Many of Elaine Leatham's dancers have been working with her for decades.
"(Elaine) has known me since I was an embryo," said Cassi Wunische, who has been performing in Leatham's A Touch of Class Experience off and on since she was 3 years old. "I was destined to dance for Elaine. My mom did it. It was in my blood. I've always loved it."
A Touch of Class Experience will host a performance fundraiser for the Estacada Community Center's Meals on Wheels program at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, at the center at 200 S.W. Club House Drive. Admission is $10, which includes dinner. Those interested in attending should RSVP to 503-630-7454.
Keeping up with the family tradition, Wunische's young children Harlie, 7, Abby, 6, and Wesley, 1, will also dance in the show.
"It's pure joy that I get to share with my kids now," Wunische said. "I imagine the joy my mom had when I danced with Elaine, and I get to feel that with my kids."
This weekend's show also includes Peggy Hartwig, Kathy Erikson, Nikki DeFillipe, Avery Davis, Cgristine Richart, Ron Hamilton, Cameron Adams, Jerry Erickson, Janet Morse, Macy Johnson, Jack Davis, Tabitha Souders and Kathleen Souders.
"I enjoy performing, I love my performers and I like showing them off," said Leatham, a lifelong dancer and longtime Estacada resident. "I have my own style and my own way of doing things."
Many Estacada community members have joined in the Touch of Class Experience over the years, including former mayor Bob Austin, former city manager Randy Ealy and former Estacada News publisher Bill James.
Kathy and Jerry Erickson began dancing with Leatham in the 1980s.
"She came up to me, and she said, 'you're in my show,'" Kathy Erikson recalled, noting that she appreciates that the performances are focused on the community. "(Elaine's) purpose is to give back to the community with her talent."
She enjoys participating in A Touch of Class Experience
"I always wanted to be a dancer," she added.
Leatham noted that her assistant Peggy Hartwig has been with her for "100 years." The two met at the Estacada Community School in 1979, and today, Hartwig helps with costumes, props and a variety of other elements, along with dancing herself.
Hartwig appreciates the way in which Leatham teaches anyone who is willing to learn to dance.
"There was a gentleman who (has since) died in the (Iraq) war, and he had never danced before. Elaine worked with him, and he became a good dancer.
I liked seeing him grow to where he ended up at," Hartwig said.
Those involved with the show encouraged anyone interested to attend, particularly if they haven't seen A Touch of Class before.
"It's just fun," Wunische said. "We dance around with everyone. Everyone sings and participates. It's all fun, and joyful."
If you go
What: A Touch of Class Experience fundraiser for the Estacada Community Center's Meals on Wheels program
When: 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24
Where: Estacada Community Center, 200 S.W. Club House Drive
Cost: Tickets are $10 each and include dinner
RSVP: Call 503-630-7454
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