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Annual pro-am contest benefits local charities including ALS Association and children's programs at Lakewood Center for the Arts

COURTESY PHOTOS  - Kristy Higgins, owner of Step It Up Studios, and Lake Oswego Mayor Kent Studebaker will be one of the couples competing in Lakewood Bandstand Aug. 23. The event pits pro-am dancers against each other in a competition to raise money to benefit charities.

Five-six-seven-eight!

While you won't likely won't be able to hear the dancers set their tempo, you will be able to tell they have had several lessons leading up to Lakewood Bandstand, the annual dance competition for charity.

This year's event takes place Aug. 24 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State St. in Lake Oswego. Organized by Fred Baldwin and Kristy Higgins, owner of Step It Up Studios, the event benefits Children's Cancer Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, ALS Association and the children's programs at Lakewood Center for the Arts.

"This is a pro-am event," said Higgins. "So each pair of dancers has one professional dancer and one amateur dancer. The amateurs will have anywhere from 10 to 15 lessons by the time of the competition. Each couple will dance to live music provided by the Left Coast Jazz Band."

The professionals include Higgins and Step It Up Studio instructors Drew Dyson and Mason Mekkers. Each couple will present a dance in a different style including samba, hustle, fox trot, slow waltz, country two-step, mambo, East Coast swing and cha cha.

The amateur dancers include Lake Oswego Mayor Kent Studebaker and City Councilor John LaMotte.

Audience members vote for their favorite dance couple by donating money online; the couple raising the most money is declared the winner of the competition.

The event begins with a garden party and silent auction outdoors, followed by an oral auction, door prizes and the dance competition inside the center.

Tickets are $150 each and include cocktails, wine, beer and heavy hors d'ouevres prepared by local vendors including Riccardo's Ristorante and On a Whim Studio.

The silent auction features magnums of wine from around the world, art and other treasures.

The oral auction includes stays at a villa in Siena, Italy, a house in Big Sky, Montana and a condo in Hawaii, plus much more.

"It's a special celebration," said Baldwin.

The original dance competition was organized as a benefit for ALS Association in honor of Fred Baldwin's son, Rick, who had been diagnosed with ALS. He died June 19, 2017.

Tickets and votes for the dancers can be made online at lakewood-center.org.

Lakewood Center is located at 368 S. State St., in Lake Oswego.

$110 of the ticket prices is tax deductible.

Fred Baldwin and Kristy Higgins are the organizers of Lakewood Bandstand. Get tickets now.


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