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Casinos: ‘Dancing’ professional gets audiences moving

Chelsie Hightower brings her show to Cache Creek.
Chelsie Hightower brings her show to Cache Creek. JPI Studios

Chelsie Hightower has danced with a wide variety of partners – a rodeo cowboy, a skateboarder, a singer, a rapper and an Indy driver, among others. Every season she was a coach and partner on “Dancing With the Stars” brought a new challenge, somebody to turn into somebody who looked like he knew what to do on a dance floor.

“I can see myself going back to it sometime in the future,” Hightower says by phone as she returned from an Arizona vacation to her home in Utah. She is on a brief hiatus from the tour of “Ballroom With a Twist,” which arrives Saturday at Cache Creek Casino Resort.

“Those times on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ were some of the best times of my life, but they were also incredibly stressful times and extremely time-consuming.”

Hightower is, of course, reluctant to talk about which partners she liked best, but she is pretty quick to identify which ones she enjoyed dancing with most.

“My first and last,” she says. “Ty Murray because he was a cowboy, and I never thought he would do so well, and Helio Castroneves, the Indy star, who was absolutely incredible.”

“Ballroom With a Twist” is another ballgame. She stars with Tristan MacManus, another “DWTS” alum, and a cast of dancers of varied styles.

“That’s why it’s ‘with a twist.’ It’s predominantly ballroom, but there are other styles, some hip-hop, even one break dancer. It’s very energetic, very fast-paced, and very entertaining. We all dance together, and we have some numbers of our own. I do a waltz, a rumba, a tango and a bit of a mash-up, a free-style mix of fox trot, swing, and whatever.”

As she takes a break from television dance shows (she was a competitor in Season 4 of “So You Think You Can Dance”), Hightower is in the early stages of launching a line of dancewear.

One of the twists of her current show involves the audience.

“We definitely get the audience up on its feet and moving, and every now and then we get some up on stage for a lesson. We tell them they are getting a dance lesson from a professional and therefore saving a lot of money. But whether or not we do that depends entirely on the stage and theater. It’s all in whether the venue allows it.” (8 p.m.; $55, $65, $75; cachecreek.com)

Also this week

The Third Annual Lake Tahoe Reggae Festival has an entirely new venue, outdoors at the new Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The all-day festival takes place Saturday with a long list of participants: Iration, Matisyahu, Don Carlos, The Expendables, and Fortunate Youth, among them. An all-day pass is $45. (hardrockcasinolaketahoe.com)

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