Spending an evening with Oscar | SierraSun.com

Spending an evening with Oscar

Photo by Ryan Salm/Sierra SunDancers from InnerRhythms pose in the studio this week.

There are parties that pass the time and give reason to leave the house. And then there are parties that flabbergast attendees and send them home astounded.

Chris Childers hopes his benefit gala this weekend will fall into the latter category.

Childers, a Truckee resident and former dancer for Madonna and Cirque du Soleil, is hard at work this week putting the finishing touches on his latest undertaking: An Evening with Oscar.

“It’s not black tie, but it’s a great opportunity for ladies to pull out those dresses that sit in the closet for the rest of the year,” said Peggy Thompson, executive director of Tahoe Arts Project.

Childers, who co-owns Choozi Entertainment, an all-encompassing mega-bash-planning operation, with his sister Suzanne Childers, has been eager to step off the Vegas stage and behind the local scenes for a while now.

At the request of the Tahoe Arts Project, a South Shore nonprofit group that benefits arts in the schools, Childers and a flurry of entertainers, choreographers, event planners and the like are putting together an evening straight out of classic Hollywood.

An Evening with Oscar will feature eight young dancers, seven of whom are from Truckee; two Cirque du Soleil performers; celebrity look-alikes such as Frank Sinatra, Yul Brenner, and Gene Harlow, and a slew of paparazzi who will entertain guests during a live showing of the 78th annual Academy Awards.

“This will be one of the biggest, most high-profile performances that we have ever done ” biggest stage, biggest audience,” said Ashley Willingham, a senior at Tahoe Truckee High School who will be dancing as one of the chorus girls and has been practicing with Childers at InnerRhythms Dance Theatre in Truckee.

But an event of this magnitude doesn’t come easy. The group of select dance students from InnerRhythms have been practicing with Childers for weeks. And they’re not just learning dance choreography.

“Part of our performance is schmoozing with the crowd in character, so there is also a large acting element,” said Amie Engerbretson, a senior at Tahoe Truckee High School.

The InnerRhythms troupe will dance as chorus girls, complete with platinum wigs, during the show.

“Chris brings an element of professionalism to our studio that we haven’t had before,” Willingham said. “It has really helped us to step up our game ” there is more passion and flair.”

An Evening with Oscar is the first large-scale event that Choozi has organized in the Tahoe area, and Childers said he is looking forward for what’s to come.

For more information on Chris Childers and Choozi Entertainment, contact Chris at 775-747-4644. For more on An Evening with Oscar, contact the Tahoe Arts Project at 542-3632.

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