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Charles City couple to compete in ‘Dancing for the Dream’ at Surf Ballroom

Jeff and Katie Kellogg of Charles City will participate in the Dancing for the Dream fundraiser for NIVC on Saturday, March 30. Photo courtesy The PhotographOrr
Jeff and Katie Kellogg of Charles City will participate in the Dancing for the Dream fundraiser for NIVC on Saturday, March 30. Photo courtesy The PhotographOrr
By Kelly Terpstra,

Jeff and Katie Kellogg of Charles City love to swing dance.

Performing the 1920s jazz-inspired, quick-step moves are how the couple first met in Grand Rapids, Michigan, more than 12 years ago.

“We do East Coast swing, some Lindy, a little bit of West Coast. We dabble in ballroom,” said Katie.

Katie has plenty on her plate, as she’s the mother of four (ages 8, 6, 4, and 2) and also home schools the kids.

“That keeps us busy,” said Katie, who also works as a guest service member at Kwik Star.

But that won’t stop her and Jeff from heading over to Clear Lake on Saturday, March 30, to compete in the 11th Annual “Dancing for the Dream.”

There, they’ll step foot on the dance floor for the first time at the iconic and legendary Surf Ballroom.

“It’s the Surf,” said Katie, recognizing its historical significance as the location of the last concert Buddy Holly performed.

The Charles City dance duo will compete against five other couples in the fundraising dance competition for NIVC (North Iowa Vocational Center) Services.

NIVC provides employment opportunities and facilitates independent living for people with special needs or disabilities. This year marks NIVC’s 50th anniversary.

The dance fundraiser, featuring “celebrity dancers,” has generated more than $325,000 for NIVC since its inception in 2009. Last year the dance contest reached its goal of $75,000 and saw more than 500 people take part in a live auction, silent auction and witness the dance contest.

Contestants compete for the Crystal Ball Trophy, which is awarded to the couple that raises the most funds.

If the contest was judged on talent alone, the Kelloggs might have a leg up on the competition.

“They would like you to have dancing skills, but it’s not necessarily required,” Katie said. “For this particular event, they kind of grab a few couples within the community, preferably with good contacts within the area.”

The Kelloggs said they haven’t quite got the ball rolling yet as far as fundraising, which can come from donations and tickets sold to attend the event.

“We have the experience under our belt but we don’t have the connections quite yet,” said Katie. “I think we’ve sold like three tickets and one of them is to my sister. One was to a co-worker and his girlfriend.”

Jeff is an engineering manager-in-training at Cambrex in Charles City and moved to Iowa about five years ago to take the job.

While living in Michigan, Jeff and Katie were a member of GROSS (Grand Rapids Original Swing Society). The swing dancing group has been in the Guinness Book of World Records three times, according to Jeff. The last record was set in 2016, when GROSS re-entered the record book after having almost 1,300 dancers perform a swing dance. Jeff said the other record was for making the largest piece of felt.

Jeff and Katie said they’d like to start their own swing/ballroom dancing group in Charles City, and would like the group to meet 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays.

“You just kind of learn from each other and if you see a move that you like, say, ‘hey, that’s really cool. How did you do that?’” said Katie.

Jeff and Katie have been dance instructors in Michigan, but this will be their first dance competition.

“We’ve got some fun moves in it, though,” Katie said, smiling about their potential ability to wow the crowd.

The Kelloggs wouldn’t describe their planned routine, but look for many floor spins and a flip at the end.

“We switched songs last month essentially and we had to start completely over,” said Katie. “We’re going to end it on a good note.”

While the Kelloggs’ routine may stay a secret until they hit the big stage a week from this Saturday in Clear Lake, they do want to let interested people know there’s still plenty of time to donate in their name.

Text 41444 and enter D4D or call 641-423-3301 to buy tickets or donate in the name of Jeff and Katie.

There’s also another Charles City connection with the fundraiser.

Charles City author Kim Bahnsen, who writes under the pen name Kylie Brant, will be donating one of the event’s live-auction prizes. The Lucky Stiff auction winner will receive the chance to name a character in Bahnsen’s upcoming 2019 suspense novel, ”Down the Darkest Road.”