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Front Page - Friday, November 4, 2022

Shaw shares lessons of Dare to Dance triumph

Realtor Brittany Shaw won the All-Star Grand Champion trophy at The Kidney Foundation of Greater Chattanooga’s 2022 Dare to Dance competition and fundraiser. - Photographs provided

When the lights dimmed at the Chattanooga Convention Center after the conclusion of the Kidney Foundation of Greater Chattanooga’s 2022 edition of its annual Dare to Dance competition and fundraiser Oct. 22, Realtor Brittany Shaw was clutching the All-Star Grand Champion trophy. Shaw, who serves as the new homes matchmaker at Pratt Home Builders, also topped the fundraising efforts of the all-star members of the dance cast with $28,000. Here, she looks back on her second Dare to Dance appearance and its impact on her and the community.

It’s hard to believe it’s already been two weeks since the 15-year anniversary Dare to Dance event for The Kidney Foundation of Greater Chattanooga. With a ballroom packed with close to 1,000 people, it was a night the other “celebrity dancers” and I will never forget.

We hear things like “Be the change” and “It takes a village,” but this event shows how impactful we can be when we work as a community. I’m incredibly proud of our classic and all-star casts, which together raised over $471,000 for The Kidney Foundation!

My socially distanced 2020 pandemic Dare to Dance experience was limited to about 200 attendees. But when I walked into dress rehearsal the day before the competition, the tables extended nearly to the doors and both walls! A disco ball hung from the chandelier and the mirror ball trophies were already in place.

You could feel the excitement coming from everyone who had the opportunity to be part of such a special event, and it was bittersweet knowing after months of work, our dances would pass by in a matter of minutes and the whole thing would be a memory in less than 24 hours.

At dress rehearsal, the fearless leaders of The Kidney Foundation – Heather Melton, Kirbee Hutchins and Genna Parker – navigated us with confidence, poise and humor as they explained how the following night would transpire. When I found out I would lead the evening with the first dance of the night, I smiled and thought, “No pressure.”

I expected to be anxious, but the nerves never hit. This time, I felt only excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to be part of this event again, especially following my dad’s passing in 2021 after he was a warrior as he battled prostate cancer and kidney disease related to Type 2 diabetes.

I also loved seeing tables full of my amazing co-workers, friends, family and community supporters. A couple of my dad’s sisters were able to attend, which was incredibly special.

I had chosen a fast rock and roll song by Queen called “Don’t Stop Me Now” and landed on a superhero theme as a tribute to my dad, who always did things with speed, precision and humor – and loved Marvel.

I danced a fast jive, a favorite of my dad’s mom, who danced until her 90s. My partner, Joel Thomas, helped incorporate some of my wish list dance moves for a routine that was fun and challenging.

The marketing team at Pratt helped me to find table decorations and each of my sponsors were able to choose their favorite superhero for their table, which was a lot of fun. After all, in my mind, this event is all about community superheroes.

As much as this is a competition, it’s also an incredible bonding experience with the other cast mates. As a “twice in a lifetime” experience, this particular event was really special. I knew everyone on the all-star cast going in, but especially appreciated the opportunity to reconnect with Stephanie Killingsworth, who was on student council with me at Rhea County High School, and to deepen my friendships with Claudia Wamack and Arnold Ruelas.

Once our part was over, we sat back to enjoy the show and encourage our fellow dancers. The entire cast blew us away with the biggest variety of dance styles and songs I’ve seen in attending several years of Dare to Dance.

With disco costume changes, flashing suspenders, tearaway skirts and bedazzling galore, what really shined was the cast’s energy and enthusiasm to do something important for the community we all call home.

Backstage, we continually reminded each other of our mantra: It’s about the patients.

When you leave the floor after Dare to Dance, you’re not the same. We might think of a classic hero story as something from days gone by, but the Dare to Dance cast and the business leaders and individuals who support them are modern day superheroes for real people here at home.