A dynamic local duo has teamed up to raise money for the Alzheimer's Association—one dance step at a time.
Renee Wooding, 51, of Timonium and Juan Alzamora, 43, of Forest Hill are honing their moves for the Alzheimer's Association's Memory Ball which will take place April 14.
The "Dancing Stars" theme of the ball brings together local celebrities from Baltimore and the surrounding area to raise money for the association.
Wooding, former president of the Alzheimer's Association board, decided participating in the event would be a good way to support the association and signed up.
Alzamora is a project coordinator at Aberdeen Proving Ground by profession, but in his spare time he teaches Zumba classes at The Fitness Rave.
"I've danced with many partners, but never at this level," Alzamora said.
He said he has done salsa dancing, which made learning the routine easier.
"The closer we get to the event, you get nervous," Alzamora said.
Wooding said Alzamora has been patient as she learned the routine.
"It's been a lot more work than you think it's going to be because they make it look so easy," Wooding said.
Wooding explained she now knows how much work goes into making a dance look like second nature.
"It's like another language," Wooding said.
Through the experience, Wooding has grown to love dancing and plans to continue taking classes once the competition is over.
"I know what dancing with the stars feels like now," Alzamora said, laughing.
Another part of the Memory Ball is fundraising. The couple that earns the most "votes" in the form of donations wins the competition.
To help with raising money, Wooding and Alzamora hosted a Zumbathon on the Fitness Rave parking lot last weekend. That event brought in $1,500.
The pair set a goal to raise $7,500 before the competition. They passed that financial mark Wednesday.
"I have to tell you when we first started this I didn't think we were going to make it," Wooding said.
Wooding said the cause is one she believes is worth the effort and based on her time with the board, she knows first-hand how much the Alzheimer's Association helps those dealing with the disease.
"I think everyone has some family member or friend affected by Alzheimer's and we want to see it go away," Wooding said.
Alzamora said he was exposed to the disease at a young age when his parents ran a rest home in Peru.
"I saw a lot of patients," Alzamora said. "Of course back then I didn't understand."
Alzamora said he is glad to be a part of raising money for any charitable cause, but those childhood memories help him connect to what loved ones of Alzheimer's patients go through.
"This is my way to help the community," he said.
You can visit Wooding and Alzamora's website here to make a donation and "vote" for them.