DTWS women bring unique experiences to the floor | NevadaAppeal.com

DTWS women bring unique experiences to the floor

Steve Ranson
Tina Koenig
Forever Keeps Photography |

Five women and five men will put on their best moves for Fallon in a week when they take to the floor in the eighth annual Dancing with the Stars.

Presented by the Churchill County High School’s Fallon Swing Dance Team, DWTS pairs community figures who will try to outshine and outdance each other.

The dancing begins March 21 at 7 p.m. in the CCHS gym. Patrons may purchase nonrefundable tickets at the high school office, Robertson & Koenig Optometry or Jeff’s Copy Express.

This year’s contestants include a Navy commander, a sheriff’s deputy, local business leaders and educators.

The contestants include the following:

Navy Cmdr. James Christie, Cari Norcutt, Paul Loop, Andrea Schell, Matt Louie, Rochelle Tisdale, Hoyt Skabelund, Melissa Waite, Lucas Koenig and Tina Koenig.

For today’s dancing aficionados, the LVN places the spotlight on the female dancers based on information they provided in a questionnaire.

Koenig came to Fallon from Tahoe City, Calif., in 2001 to teach music at the junior high school.

According to Koenig, she may have the moves.

“I think the last new dance move I learned was the ‘Roger Rabbit’ in 1990,” she recollected. “I have zero dancing experience, but I am counting on some internal rhythm from being a musician. I’m having fun though and the experience has definitely inspired Lucas Koenig and I to learn to dance together.”

Koenig, though, doesn’t consider herself that competitive.

“I am not feeling very competitive, but keeping up with my dance partner without falling behind the beat has been a challenge,” she said. “However, I am interested in seeing my husband’s dance moves. The last time we danced together may have been at our wedding 12 years ago. DWTS has definitely inspired us to dance together more.”

Norcutt, a real estate broker and owner of Berney Realty, LTD, has lived in Fallon periodically for 30 years. Although her dance experience is minimal, she appreciates the invitation to dance in DWTS.

She said a part of her is excited for DWTS, but she is also “a little scared.”

“I have no dancing experience and have two left feet,” she explained. “However, it has been a pleasure working with Jef Horne from The Studio. He is an amazing dance teacher, and I am grateful for the opportunity.”

Norcutt said this year’s lineup of contestants is a great mix of competitors.

“I cannot wait to spend time with all of them backstage,” she said. “It will be fun getting to know everyone better. I wish them all lots of fun, lots of luck and to remember that once they hit the dance floor their nerves will go away.”

Schell, owner of Kaia FIT in Fallon and Fernley, left Fallon after high-school graduation but returned five years ago. She claims — tongue-in-cheek — her only dancing experience was being a backup for Justin Timberlake.

Since she has seen the local performances, Schell has many dreams of being on DWTS, but her schedule has been hectic.

“I have been too busy to dance lately, but I used to be a backup dancer for Justin Timberlake,” she said. “I forgot how much time and effort goes into this stuff. It’s a lot of work, and a great workout.”

Schell said she hopes her competitors are also having as much fun and working as hard.

“I can’t wait to see them dance,” she said. “I would tell them to just have fun out there and forget that the whole town is watching you and judging you.”

Being in DWTS may have changed her life.

“Sometimes, I just wish the paparazzi would leave me alone,” Schell lamented. “It’s the reason I left Hollywood and came back to Fallon in the first place.”

Tisdale, an administrator at Oasis Academy, has lived in Fallon since 2006. She was born in Minnesota, escaped the cold after gradating from college and headed west where she taught for 10 years in California.

“I visited Nevada often and fell in love with the little town of Fallon,” she said, adding that she moved to Lyon County in 2006 and eventually worked her way to the Oasis of Nevada.

Other than jamming in the house with her children, Tisdale has been an ardent fan of the local DWTS since it began its shows in 2008.

“If dancing in the house with the kids counts, I have a ton of hours,” she said. “Otherwise, I have absolutely no dance background (but when you see my mad skills, you won’t know it). This is unchartered territory for me, but it has been super fun. I have been blessed with the best partner on the team! He is a great teacher and an amazing young man.

Tisdale likes her chances for winning with her partner, Thomas Robertson.

“We are definitely in it to win,” she proclaimed. “But I feel empathy for the other performers. It is quite the balancing act with work, sports, homework, etc. … I have also learned that the older one gets, the less likely your body is to do the things you think it should.”

Waite is a full-time instructional assistant in the high school’s ESL program. She also teaches Zumba classes five days a week.

Waite hails from Idaho and is a Boise State University fan.

The Idaho native said she doesn’t have any formal dance experience, but she likes to show her steps in the kitchen.

“Though I have danced around in kitchens, parking lots and on stage, I have never had any formal dance instruction,” she pointed out. “I just kind of let my feet move to the beat. I am super excited to be dancing with Louie Mori, and I will do my best not to embarrass him or my family name.”

Waite, though, may have the moves to outdo the competition.

“My body just starts moving when it hears good music, kind of like Happy Feet,” she said.

And her words to her competitors is direct but caring: “Be scared, be very, very scared; not because of me though and good luck!”

Forever Keeps Photography provided the contestants’ photographs.