While Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler may be best known around campus for her emails to the student body, she has another talent up her sleeve: She can dance.
Ambler will be one of the contestants in the fourth annual Dancing with the Williamsburg Stars competition, a collaborative fundraiser benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters and Literacy for Life to be held at Phi Beta Kappa Hall on March 2 from 7 to 10 p.m.
“The event organizers identify people from throughout the community who are willing to pair up with a dance professional and train to perform in a ballroom dance competition a la ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ although not nearly as intense,” Ambler explained.
A first-time participant, Ambler has been practicing with Rick Zilonka, a master ballroom dance instructor at Amy’s Dance Studio in Newport News where the pair has been rehearsing since early January.
In a statement on the Dancing with the Williamsburg Stars website, Ambler describes her first encounter with her dance partner, who has also worked with the College’s ballroom dance club.
“In November when I first met with my dance pro, the incomparable Rick Zilonka, he wanted me to detail all my prior dance experience. It was a very short conversation! After admitting to only one year of beginning ballet during elementary school (taught by my great aunt), I was relieved that he seemed undaunted. ‘Well, then,’ he replied with a smile, ‘we have no bad habits to break!’”
Despite her lack of experience, Ambler has learned a lot from her training.
“Things happen; your heel gets caught in your skirt, and you trip over yourself. I’m sure he has bruises on his feet from my heels landing in the wrong spot. But it has been a very good-humored process. Even though I thought it would be stressful, it has turned out to be a delightful and creative learning experience,” she said.
In addition to ticket sales and outright donations, Dancing with the Williamsburg Stars will also encourage philanthropy through a competition to select the “fan favorite” contestant.
“Each of the stars commits to raising funds to go to the charities in advance of the performance evening,” she explained.
“Those of us who are ‘stars’ each have a fan page. There is voting for a fan favorite before anyone ever sees you dance, which I suppose is a real plus for some of us! Votes are a dollar each and all those fan favorite votes obviously go to benefit the two charities.”
Ambler has set a goal of raising $2,500 before the competition, and has currently raised just shy of $2,000. To bridge the gap and break into the top three, she is looking to the College community for support.
“I’m the only William & Mary person who’s competing this year, so I’m looking for Tribe support—one Tribe, one family! I would love to be William & Mary’s fan favorite for 2013,” she said.
While Ambler is the only participant from the College this year, Colleen Kennedy from the English department has participated in a past competition.
Tickets to the March 2 event are available online and start at $35, with a limited $115 VIP package available as well. All proceeds will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters and Literacy for Life.
“It’s a wonderful cause, and it’s going to be a fun evening,” Ambler said.