"I didn't give him the chance to say 'no,'" said Kelly LaMotte when discussing how she and Derrick became one of the eight couples to be entered in the 2019 Dancing with Our Steele County Stars competition.
Kelly, a local sales representative for LulaRoe clothing, said Becky Hoffman contacted her. "I said 'yes' without even checking with Derrick first," Kelly says sheepishly but with confidence.
"I was thrown into the mix and that's OK," remarked Derrick, a pipe layer with BCM Construction of Faribault.
The Blooming Prairie couple's latest adventure has also become the adventure of their two children, Jaxon, 9 and Lake, 3.
Kelly and Derrick will be on stage with seven other couples for the Ninth Annual Dancing With Our Steele County Stars competition on Saturday, April 27 at Medford High School.
The contest is sponsored by the Healthy Seniors of Steele County and brought in over $50,000 in funds last year. The Steele County Dancing show is patterned after the popular national television series that has aired for 13 years.
"I don't have a dancing bone in my body," confesses Derrick.
"What? Don't you have this on your bucket list," chides Kelly.
His partner, however, has a diverse background in dancing. She started dancing at age two. The LaMottes' daughter is now three but also began dancing at age two.
"I like being on stage," Kelly revealed. She said she has danced "while growing up," mainly with the Jill Hoggard Academy of Dance in Owatonna. Kelly was also an Owatonna High School cheerleader and performed in Little Theatre plays and plays in high school, too.
Kelly is a 2009 graduate of Owatonna High School and Derrick is an Awesome Blossom, graduating in 2007 from Blooming Prairie High School.
Both Kelly and Derrick agree that agreeing to being in the dance competition is a deep commitment. "It takes a lot of time and effort, more than expected," says Derrick.
"It's worth it," Kelly affirms.
The commitment began on Sunday, Feb. 10 when Kelly and Derrick began their weekly regimen of taking lessons and practicing at Kids Korner in Owatonna.
Kelly and Derrick have been coached by JoAnn and Steve Caron of Faribault. Lynette and Brian Dawley are choreographers for the show.
As contestants, Kelly and Derrick and the other seven couples are assigned the task of raising funds by gaining sponsors and by selling dance tickets.
Sponsors and donors for Kelly and Derrick are: Blooming Prairie Veterinary Clinic, Farmers & Merchants State Bank, Krejci Ford and Hometown Insurance.
"We've learned a lot about each other during this time commitment," volunteers Kelly. "We have also met a lot of good people along the way," she added.
The Blooming Prairie entrants will be doing a Latin dance called the cha-cha-chá, simply cha-cha in the U.S. It's called Perhaps! Perhaps! Perhaps! It is done by the Pussycat Dolls.
According to Wikipedia, it is a dance of Cuban origin and is danced to the music of the same name introduced by Cuban composer and violinist Enrique Jorrin in the early 1950s.
This rhythm was developed from the danzón-mambo. The name of the dance is an onomatopoeia derived from the shuffling sound of the dancers' feet.
For the night, Kelly and Derrick will be dressed colorfully. Kelly will wear a royal blue, sparkling dress from Amazon. She will wear black heels. Derrick will wear a blue button up shirt, black pants with suspenders and black dress shoes.
"I'm really excited about this opportunity," Kelly smiles. "I'm a little nervous," adds Derrick.
It's all about relationships and communication, Kelly said, in explaining the dance routine practices. "We must balance our schedules to fit this commitment into our routines," Derrick explained.
"We're having fun with one another and it's like going out on another date," Kelly comments.
Kelly and Derrick both say there are times when they ask themselves, "why are we doing this?" With the support and encouragement from family and friends, both confirm that the efforts are rewarding.
Practice at home happens when their schedules are balanced and allow time for dancing. "Lake dances with us and Jaxon is our judge, giving up 10 out of 10," Kelly says.
Appreciating the support from their kids, Kelly said she just hopes daughter Lake doesn't decide to go on stage.
"This dance competition is something I never thought I would do," Derrick says. "It's an opportunity we may never have again," Kelly said.
Kelly and Derrick practiced performing in front of a large crowd when they entered a lip sync competition on a recent cruise. They placed second, lip syncing to "I'm a Barbie Girl" and "Summer Night" from Grease.
"I have to keep him on his toes," Kelly said, stating that the lip sync contest gave Derrick the confidence he needs on stage.
Kelly and Derrick are welcoming the challenge of the dance contest and realize that some other Blooming Prairie dancers in the past have "set the bar pretty high."