Onalaska O Club

Onalaska will hold it’s 10th annual Dancing with the O Club Stars at the Onalaska High School Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10.

The wildly popular event and fundraiser has been a sell out for Onalaska High School district eight of the last 10 years.

The performance will pair 21 senior athletes with members of the Onalaska Dance team. Together they will each perform a dance routine for an audience of more than 500 people. In previous years, performers have gone to great lengths to wow audiences. One performer in 2015 rode in on a unicycle.

Health instructor Curt McIlquham said the performance got started after a class about the number of calories burned during different sports practices.

He said a football player and a dance team member got in an argument over which was more rigorous.

After football season was over, McIlquham assigned that football player to attend dance practice for a week. After the week was up the football player admitted that dance was a lot harder than he thought.

“We decided to have the football guys get together and learn a dance routine with the dance team,” he said. “I didn’t think it would get this big.”

From this experiment, McIlquham started Dancing with the O Club Stars to raise money for district projects.

In addition to the 41 students competing in this year’s performance, ever year a mystery dancer is selected to perform. The mystery dancer is often a coach or faculty member who performs alongside a number of other underclassmen.

“It’s normally a school person no one would think of. It’s kind of a surprise,” McIlquham said.

Noah Skifton, an Onalaska senior and football player said he’d always enjoyed watching Dancing with the O-Club Stars and wanted to get involved and help raise money for the school’s football field.

“I am most excited to go outside of my comfort zone,” he said.

Senior Andrew Runde, a member of the show choir and a runner in cross-country and trac, said he always wanted to get involved in the performance before graduation.

“I knew I wanted to do it one of the years and they were low on male dancers,” he said.

To win the competition, Runde said it will take more than a good partner and good routine.

“I think it will take more than a dance, it’ll take some comedy in there or another aspect that supports that,” he said.

Competitors will have two minutes to make that happen, a task that won’t be easy for every participant.

Katelin Gobel, a member of the Onalaska dance, team said two minutes might sound like a lot of time when choreographing, but passes in an instant on stage.

Despite the performance being ten days away, Runde and Gobel are confident in their routines.

“I am pretty confident with my dance, I have my dance down pretty well,” Runde said. “I think we’re pretty ready for the 10th.”

Emceeing this year’s performance is Rachel Lehner and Kevin O’Driscoll.

Tickets are $10 each and can be purchased from any show member, or from the O.H.S. main office the week of the show. Remaining tickets will be available the night of the show. Seats cannot be reserved and are available on a first come first serve basis. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Proceeds will support school improvements. In 2015, the event sold more than 500 tickets and raised more than $2,500 which went to support the installation of synthetic turf on the football field. This year’s event will continue to support that goal.

McIlquham said it will cost close to $1 million to get synthetic turf for the football field.

“We need to raise $500,000 and find a donor to match it,” he said. “It is one of many fundraisers our school is doing.”

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Winona Daily News Crime & Government Reporter

Tobias Mann covers crime and local government for the Winona Daily News. He can be reached at tobias.mann@winonadailynews.com or at 507-271-3271.

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