TUPELO • Dancing With the King will be dancing online this weekend.
The annual dance competition and fundraiser saluting Elvis Presley is opting for a virtual performance due to COVID-19 concerns. This year’s event, which was scheduled for early April, is now a two-day livestream program scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday and 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
“We were within two weeks of having the event when COVID hit,” said Charlise Latour, marketing director for Dancing With The King. “We were really close.”
Latour said anyone interested in watching Dancing With The King must sign up through the event website, dancingwiththeking.com. You’ll receive an email on viewing information and the schedule of events.
Dancing & Singing With The King is an annual event that celebrates the legacy and music of Elvis while raising money for dance and vocal education scholarships. The event is also a special project of the CREATE Foundation.
Singing With The King, the vocal component of the event, went online in May to recognize local youth singers.
Roy Turner of the Tupelo Elvis Fan Club, presenting sponsor of Dancing & Singing With The King, said the club didn’t want to cancel the dance presentation after seven years of growth.
“It’s been a challenge, of course, but we felt we didn’t want to skip a year because we have building momentum every year,” he said. “We didn’t want to lose that.”
Latour said it’s important to continue the program even during the pandemic.
“We need to be giving out funds to those we support,” she said. “We want to make sure we’re doing our part for our sponsors and our dancers who’ve worked really hard.”
Like the in-person Dancing With The King, the virtual DWTK includes amateur ballroom dance competitors of all ages and a competition featuring local celebrities. Elvis tribute artist Jack Curtis will perform and Turner will talk each night about Elvis’ young life in Tupelo.
Four students from Plantersville Middle School’s youth ballroom dance program are dancing as well.
Plantersville principal Lindsay Brett said the Tupelo Elvis Fan Club and Dancing With the King have been supportive of her school’s dance program. Brett also will take a spin on the dance floor with a pro dance partner during the celebrity competition.
“Each student will do his or her own dance with their dance professional. They have a routine just like I do,” she said.
Joining Brett in the celebrity competition will be Lauren McElwain, Bruce Milner, Sarah Barrett, Allie Randle, Allie Martin, Scottie Thompson and Amy Parker.
“I’m a little nervous, but I’m excited to be a part of it,” Brett said.