First Dancing with the King set for April

lifestyle_entertainmentBy Sheena Barnett

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Elvis Presley’s music and dancing go hand-in-hand, and now Tupelo has a festival that celebrates both of those things.

The first Dancing with the King, presented by the Tupelo Ballroom Dance Club (TBDC), is set for April 25-27 at the Tupelo Civic Center. All of the dancing – whether it’s done by professionals, amateurs or youth – will be performed to Elvis music.

“You can dance any type of dance to an Elvis song,” said TBDC President Destry Heylin. “This being the birthplace of Elvis, it seemed to be the thing to do.”

Dancing With the King will include dance workshops and parties, as well as dance competitions for youth, amateur and professional dancers. Tickets for spectators will be available soon, said Rubye Del Harden, a member of TBDC who’s helping organize the event.

“I think it’ll be a lot of fun to watch the professionals compete,” said Charles Garrett, TBDC president-elect. “The quality of what people will see out of the professionals will be outstanding.”

Cash prizes will be awarded to the professional winners, while the amateur and youth dancers will win scholarships to continue their dance lessons, Harden said.

TBDC still is looking for donors to provide monetary prizes and scholarship money.

TBDC is a part of the city of Tupelo, and Dancing with the King is a special project under the CREATE Foundation. That makes all donations tax deductible, and donors will get table seating at the dance floor at the competition.

“You’re not just making a contribution,” Harden said. “You’re getting tickets, and it’s tax deductible.”

TBDC, the largest ballroom dance club in the state, often hosts workshops and dance weekends with professional dancers, but the club hopes this will become an annual event that will draw both Elvis and dance fans to Tupelo.

“We want people to experience Tupelo,” Harden said.

sheena.barnett@journalinc.com