Mississippi Professor Excited to ‘Dance Like the Stars’ | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Mississippi Professor Excited to ‘Dance Like the Stars’

Photo courtesy University of Mississippi

Photo courtesy University of Mississippi

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Nancy Maria Balach will be dancing like the stars in August, and the University of Mississippi professor and Chair of the Music Department is “over the moon” about the opportunity.

Balach is one of the celebrity dancers for the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Mississippi’s Dance Like the Stars 2021. The annual competition raises money for the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Mississippi and this year’s goal is set at $210,000.

Funds are raised through donations given in support of a chosen celebrity dancer.

Balach was introduced to Dance Like the Stars in 2019 through her support of former Ole Miss baseball pitcher and past celebrity dancer Brady Bramlett.

“I’m a big fan of Brady and we worked a lot together,” Balach said. “I went to the event and it was the most spectacular thing ever. Inside my head I said ‘Oh my god, I would love to do this.’

“I don’t know if it was Brady who put my name forward or how it came to be, but (the organizers) asked me if I wanted to be involved and I was over the moon. I love to dance, I obviously love music and the cause is just phenomenal.”

Balach has already participated in seven dance rehearsals as of Wednesday with her partner and professional ballroom dancer Andrew Davis.

Balach said dancing is not as easy as it looks when you’re watching the “Dancing with the Stars” television show in the comfort of your own home, but it’s easier compared to other things.

“Dancing is the easy part,” Balach said. “The hard part is the fundraising.”

Last year at the 15th annual Dance Like the Stars, Oxford University United Methodist Church pastor Eddie Rester and his partner raised $46,438 and the contestants managed to raise a total of $259,569.

In 2019, Bramlett and his partner won first place by raising a total of $18,261 and participants raised $224,740 altogether.

Balach plans to put together tables full of tennis moms from Ole Miss, family and friends. She said each full table equals $1000, which covers an entire year in the Boys & Girls Club program for one child.

Balach said she is excited to give to the community as much as Oxford and the state of Mississippi gave to her when she permanently moved here 22 years ago to start her career and when she started a family.

“I like to say I was planted in Mississippi and this place has nurtured me and helped me blossom,” Balach said. “The Boys & Girls Club is one of those organizations that does the same for the children. It gives them opportunities and skills so that no matter where they end up, they will get to bloom where they’re planted.”

Dance Like the Stars 2021 will be held at the BancorpSouth Arena on Saturday, August 21, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are priced at $50.

“I invite anyone and everyone who is involved to reach out,” Balach said. “This is an investment and the best way to invest is in our children.”

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