FLORENCE, S.C. — The School Foundation’s Dancing For Our Future Stars kicked off on Jan. 9 with a pairing party to announce dance couples, and practices are in full swing.

Voting is now open to the public, and people can vote for their favorite couples for $10 per vote. Dancers will compete at 7 p.m. on March 26 at the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology Center on the Florence-Darlington Technical College campus.

One of the 12 “celebrity dancers” is Joshua Smalls, who is a senior human resources manager at Otis Elevator. Smalls’ partner is Kara Tanner. Smalls and Tanner will be dancing a salsa to the song “Blame It on the Boogie” by Jackson 5.

Smalls recently took time to answer questions.

Q: What was your reaction to being asked to participate in Dancing For Our Future Stars?

A: “I was shocked, quite honestly. It is because I am not a dancer. When Debbie asked me, first I told her no. I told her no probably two or three times. Once she came the last time, that’s when I decided to do it.”

Q: Why is it important to support The School Foundation?

A: “They do so much for Florence School District One in providing new equipment for the kids. I think it’s important to invest in education, and so really it was an opportunity to dance and be a part of a fundraiser and help out the children.”

Q: What is the most exciting part of preparing for the competition up to this point?

A: “Dance practices every Monday. I’m not a dancer, but learning the steps is pretty exciting, seeing if I can remember it from week to week and then finding out what I can do as a dancer.”

Q: Do you have a background in dance?

A: “None.”

Q: What are some of your pastimes when you’re not dancing?

A: “I enjoy fishing. I fish a lot and spend time with my family. I work out a lot as well.”

Q: What is your biggest fear with the competition?

A: ”I guess the only fear is falling and tripping up. Other than that, it is fun. There’s going to be a ton of people there. The only thing would be falling. That’s it.”

Q: How have your co-workers responded to your dancing?

A: “Everybody is pretty shocked, because for the most part people know I don’t dance, so everybody was shocked. They kind of tease at me all the time and ask me if I’m prepared. I’d say they’re shocked but very supportive.”

Q. Are you competitive at all?

A: “I am. I am. It’s a part of working out. I do cross fit, so it’s basically a competition every day. I’m very competitive.”

Q: Do you think you’ll keep dancing after this?

A: “No.”

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