This year’s Dancing For A Brand New Me couples pose as their Famous Duo characters for one of the categories of dance. Photo by Stephanie Blakeman Photography

Dancers gear up for Dancing For A Brand New Me

Video by Jennifer Petersen


They’ve been practicing for months, and it’s getting closer to having the six couples show off their moves for the fifth annual Dancing For A Brand New Me event.

Alex McElrath and Shantel Thompson practice for the upcoming Dancing For a Brand New Me event at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19 and Saturday, Oct. 20 at the Veterans Memorial Hall. Photo by Makenzie Davis

Set for 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19 and Saturday Oct. 20 at the Veterans Memorial Hall, Lassen Family Services’ Dancing For A Brand New Me is helping fundraise and raise awareness about local domestic violence.

This year’s theme is Voyage Across the Seas.

Each team is comprised of a professional dancer and a star from the community. This year, Alex McElrath and Shantel Thompson, Seanne McElrath and Shannon Cook, Celeste Wiser and Larry McCracken, Doria Dalu and Pastor Rick Conrad, Luke Peterson and Kristie Jimenez and Terra Avilla and David Teeter, are taking to the stage.

Leading up to the event, the six pairs have been practicing their routines. This year there are three categories: Disney, Famous Duos and Dancer’s Choice.

“I always enjoy when this rolls around,” said dancer Alex McElrath. He is one of the dancers who has participated in the fundraiser and community awareness event since the beginning. “It’s just a fun entertaining show, but it does do a good job (raising awareness about domestic violence),” he added.

He began dancing during high school, where he then started participating in Best of Broadway. There, he began taking lessons from Jennifer House at House of Dance, eventually becoming an instructor at House of Dance.

This year, Alex McElrath is partnered with Thompson. Thompson was born and raised in Susanville, but left in 1999. She returned four years ago and is now branch manager at US Bank.

Thompson was encouraged to participate with the annual event because of what it stands for and how exciting it seemed.

“Not only is it for a great cause, I thought it would be fun,” she added.

Now it’s crunch time, and Alex McElrath and Thompson have upped their practices to twice a week. They’ve been working on their dances, all choreographed by him, since the beginning of August.

Seanne McElrath and Cook are also giving the competition their all this year.

Confident they are going into the event to win, Seanne McElrath is also humbled by the opportunity to partake in Lassen Family Services’ event.

“I’m just humbled and honored to be a part of it,” he said.

Although he says he’s just a dancer, he is happy this is one way he can give back to the community and help raise awareness about domestic violence.

For the biographies of all the participating couples, check out the Lassen Family Services website,

Moreover, you can also vote for your favorite couple for the People’s Choice Award. Supporters can vote either by visiting the Lassen Family Services office, located at 1306 Riverside Drive, calling 257-5459 or by visiting the 2018 Dancing For A Brand New Me People’s Choice Award fundraising page on Facebook. One dollar is one vote for a couple.

The winning People’s Choice couple will be announced during the Friday performance.

All proceeds go to Lassen Family Services to help serve local victims of abuse.

Tickets for the event are available at the Lassen Family Services Office and at Margie’s Book Nook.