Canton Ballet’s Touchdowns and Tutus fundraiser returns

Kickoff time for Canton Ballet’s Touchdowns and Tutus fundraiser is 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, 2019, at Umstattd Performing Arts Hall on the Pro Football Hall of Fame campus.  The Game Day Performance will feature local high school football talents paired with Canton Ballet dancers before a panel of celebrity judges.

Preceding the Touchdowns and Tutus Game Day Performance will be a VIP Pre Game Reception at 5:00 p.m. which includes cocktails, heavy hors d’oeuvres and a private concert at the Zimmermann Symphony Center on the Hall of Fame campus.

At 7:30 p.m. the Tailgate After Party, a meet-and-greet with the celebrities and performers, music, specialty tailgate foods, drinks, cash bar and a tour of the Pro Football Hall of Fame museum, will take place at the Pro Football HOF Event Center.

Judges are College Football Playoff Insider sportscaster and Heisman voter Rachel Baribeau and six time Emmy-winning creator, producer and host ofESPN Sports Science and NFL Network Soul and Science.

Emcees are Matt Wintz of WKYC TV and Megan McCrea of Q92 Radio. 

The football players were selected at tryouts held last fall at the ballet studios.  Their Canton Ballet company partners were chosen by audition at a later time.  Rehearsals began in early January and will continue to the performance.


The 12 couples who will dance at the Game Day Performance are:

Natalie Schmitt, Lake Center Christian High School, and Terrance Mack, GlenOak High School;

Hannah Dunnerstick, GlenOak, and Andrew Lamp, Massillon Washington;

Marianna Jocas, Canton Country Day School, and Trenton Hill, McKinley;

Emily Kuntz, GlenOak and Luke May, St. Thomas Aquinas;

Taylor Adams, Central Catholic, and Kyshad Mack, Massillon Washington;

Mya Frank, St. Thomas Aquinas Middle School, and Maverick Pugh, Louisville;

Margaret Kingsbury, GlenOak, and Camdon Givens, Minerva;

Isabella Hellmann, Jackson, and Dylan Johnson, Central Catholic;

Matalan Nikishin, Central Catholic, and Nakoa Keefer, Massillon Washington;

Caroline Zollinger, Hoover, and Tyler Miller, Green;

Mia Ignacio, Jackson Middle School, and Garrison Markins, Minerva;

Tamaki Hoshi, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Nicholas Oldfield, Alliance.

Choreographers are Canton Ballet choreographer in residence Angelo Lemmo, Canton Ballet Jazz Company director Megan Seemann, area dance educators Leslie Yoder and alumna Brittani Harris and Canton Ballet alumnae Ana Bettis, Anna Lescallett, Joy Raub and Tori Suba.

Rehearsal coaches are Canton Ballet alumnae Christy Donnelly and Menka Misheff.

Admission for the Game Day Performance is $25 adult, $15 student and $35 for Preferred Gold seating.  The Tailgate After Party admission is $25 adult and $15 student.  The Pre Game Reception admission is $65 per person.  There is a VIP All Access Pass available for $125 which includes admission to all three events.  Tickets are available online at or call 330.455.7220.

Touchdowns and Tutus is the only known fundraiser performance event that pairs football players and dancers in a competition.  Proceeds will benefit the School of Canton Ballet financial aid and educational outreach programs.

Major sponsors to date are ArtsinStark, The Canton Repository, O92 radio, Krugliak Wilkins, Martin Sports Productions, Paragraphics, Acme Fresh Market, Robert J. Events, Paper Twig, Andy Ginella and Sirpilla Soirees.

Canton Ballet alumna Ashley Bettis is Touchdowns and Tutus founder and chair.

Canton Ballet studios and offices are located at the Cultural Center for the Arts in downtown Canton.

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