Local dancers glad to help Star Center

Mecca Jarmon and Jake Carroll are one of the couples who will be competing in Jackson’s version of Dancing with the Stars Thursday night.

Jackson Fairgrounds will be the site of the annual competition that’s become one of the biggest fundraisers for The Star Center and one of the quickest sellouts each year.

Jarmon is an advertising representative for News Talk of West Tennessee WBGF-FM 96.5, and Carroll is a physician.

Neither of them had much formal dance experience before two months ago when they agreed to be a part of this year’s show and began training with their choreographer, Rew Garner.

Both Jarmon and Garner were raised in Jackson, moved away for educational purposes and were gone for about a decade before each returned home within the last couple years.

“I’ve been doing dance for years and professionally in theater, and this is my first year as a choreographer for this event,” said Garner, who was trained in New York and performed in theater there and in Washington, D.C., before he came back to Jackson.

All three agreed to be a part of the event, but they were randomly assigned to work together by the event’s selection committee.

“Everyone who’s in the show – dancers, choreographers, everybody – all met for a meet and greet back in the summer, and it was awkward at first because no one knew who was paired up with who,” Jarmon said. “So some people were over there talking with people they knew but wound up working together and not realizing it until they’d been announced.”

Carroll and Jarmon were the final pair announced, and Garner was announced to help them figure out their style and purpose for their plans on the dance floor.

Both Carroll and Jarmon are fit, and Carroll has a background in athletics. But it took a lot of training to prepare them for the dance training Garner would put them through.

Neither Jarmon nor Garner would give much detail into their dance, but they said they think the dance, song and costumes would all be memorable for those who watch in person.

“Rew called in a person to train us to do a lift the right way safely,” Jarmon said. “And I remember coming away from some of those sessions with bruises that I still have no idea where they came from.”

Jarmon performed as a singer growing up and has gotten into acting in recent years. So performing in front of other people isn’t anything she’s worried very much about going in.

“This is just another way of expression that I’m trying to learn, and I’ve learned enough already to know it’s a process,” Jarmon said. “But it’s a great one that I’m glad to have been part of because this experience has shown that there’s always something to learn.

“And to help raise money for a cause as great as The Star Center makes me proud to be a part of this and glad to compete.”

Brandon Shields, brandon@jacksonpost.news