FORT MILL — Physical activity is crucial to overall good health, Tammie Welch says and it’s something she hopes to demonstrate as she moves across the dance floor.
Welch, a registered dietitian and supervising manager with the Fort Mill School District, will be participating in the third annual Dancing With the Stars - Fort Mill middle school sports fundraiser Saturday. She grew up in Fort Mill and said she hopes to inspire others to be physically active every day. And dancing, she said, is the perfect vehicle.
“It keeps you moving,” Welch said. “Everyone can dance.”
Welch said middle school athletics is an important motivator to keep kids active. Welch benefited from this as a cheerleader in middle school. She now sees the benefit athletics brings to her children. Caroline, a junior at Nation Ford High School, is on the dance team, and Thomas, an eighth-grader at Banks Trail Middle School, participates in several sports.
“I like to do my part in keeping sports going,” she said. “Middle school sports is important for our community,” she said. “I like to do my part to keep it going. Fort Mill is a special place.”
Welch said she had no dance experience going into the event.
“It’s been way harder than I’ve ever imagined,” she said. “My partner has been very patient with me.”
Welch’s partner is independent instructor Rodger Taylor, a former classmate at Fort Mill High School and Clemson University.
“He’s such a great guy,” she said.
Taylor has more than 10 years of dance experience, teaching himself through preparing for competitions. Taylor spent eight years training and competing in styles such as swing, country and ballroom in Colorado in his mid-20s. After moving back to Fort Mill in 2002, Taylor and his wife Melissa continued traveling the country judging, coaching and teaching dance.
The couple continues to teach occasional group classes while Taylor focuses on his career at GE.
When asked to join Dancing With the Stars, Taylor said he was happy to support middle school athletics.
“It’s a fun way to support that need,” he said.
Taylor said he applauds the celebrity participants.
“It takes a lot of courage for someone to do something like a dance competition, especially without experience,” he said. “Tammie is doing great.”
The team has reached out to their friends in the community to sponsor them. Taylor said while they want to win, enjoying the process is just as important.
“It’s all about having fun doing it and supporting the cause,” he said. “Hopefully the people watching it will have fun, too.”