At 13, Thane Bryenton vowed he’d never dance again, but Saturday night, he’ll be showing his disco moves on stage at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts.
“I went to a friend’s bar mitzvah, and I went to dance with this gal I thought was cute,” said Bryenton of Olympia. “I had the wrong arm up. I had my right arm up. It crushed me. Everybody was so cruel.”
Bryenton of Olympia and five other locals will compete in “Dancing with South Sound’s Stars,” a takeoff on the popular ABC show “Dancing with the Stars.”
The contestants have been working all week with professional dancers from the Utah Ballroom Dance Co.
Saturday night, each will be paired with a professional to perform a 90-second dance routine.
“We did not look at prior dance experience at all,” said Anne Larsen, the center’s marketing director. “It was based on their roles in the community and that they are well known.
“We wanted people who were going to get up there and have a good time.”
The audience will vote on the winning number and then watch the professional ballroom dancers perform while the votes are counted. At the end of the show, the winning dancer will get a mirror ball trophy, and then audience members will have an opportunity to join the dancing during a post-show lesson onstage.
The show has been performed all over the country for the past five years, said Utah Ballroom Dance Co. executive director Mark Lowes.
The company’s dancers arrive ahead of time to work with the local contestants. Each contestant will dance a routine in a different style.
“Each day, they spend an hour rehearsing to perfect the routine,” Lowest said. “At the end of the five days, we costume them. We add in video bites from the week showing their triumphs and their downfalls and do a little interview with them, just like on the TV show.”
Bryenton will be doing a disco number to Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff,” and he couldn’t be more excited. His Facebook profile picture currently shows his head atop a body dressed in a “Saturday Night Fever” style suit.
It was disco that brought him back to dance after his traumatic teen experience. He went to a club in his 20s and was fascinated.
“It was amazing to see the sights and the sounds and the music and the clothing,” he said. “It was overpowering.”
So he picked up some moves watching “Soul Train” and joined the scene.
He still has some of the wardrobe from his dancing days. “I have an original Nik Nik shirt, an Italian nylon shirt from 1975, that I’m going to wear Saturday night — 50 pounds heavier — and platforms,” he said, adding that the clothes are much older than his dance partner.