Couple preps for Dancing with the Local Stars competition


The chemistry comes easily for Kaley and Fritz Petersen, as it should — the couple celebrated their seventh wedding anniversary Monday.

They want that chemistry to shine in their routine on Saturday, Oct. 21, when the couple competes in Dancing with the Local Stars.

“At least I hope so,” Kaley said with a laugh.

Kaley and Fritz — both employed at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital  — have been practicing their energizing moves and costume changes for the dance-off. They’ll compete against seven other couples for the event, which benefits the Ludington Area School District’s Oriole Foundation. Last year, the competition raised $140,000.

Unlike some of their competitors, the Petersens’ routine has little in the way of dramatic lifts or intense choreography.

“I’m seven months pregnant, so lifts are not a part of the routine,” Kaley said.

Instead, the couple is planning a comical, light-hearted performance.

“It’s a very fun, hip-hop, eclectic mix. It’s very sweet in the beginning, but very interactive. A little bit comical,” Kaley said. “We are doing a mash-up of four different songs, so it’s an eclectic blend.”

The playlist includes Marvin Gay’s “Let’s Get it On,” Fergie’s “My Humps,” Salt ‘n’ Pepper’s “Push it” and “Isn’t She Lovely,” by Stevie Wonder, fine-tuned by instructor Lauren Sawson, of The Letha Fulton School of Dance.

“She stepped in and helped us out a ton. She’s been rolling with us and being creative,” Kaley said. “Lauren did a really good job of creating the mash-up and putting together choreography that, from a technical standpoint, we could do and that the crowd would really enjoy.”

It’s been a lot to learn for Kaley and Fritz, neither of whom have prior dancing experience. 

“I’m excited and very nervous,” Fritz said. “I have good rhythm, but learning the dance moves and the technicalities of the routine are the challenges.”

“We were both athletes — both are athletes — so the dancing is new to us,” Kaley added. “But we’re having fun with it.”

The pregnancy is an unexpected element.

“They asked us if we would be willing and interested in doing it. That was before we were pregnant,” Kaley said with a laugh. “Once we knew we were pregnant, we thought it would be fun if we played a tribute to pregnancy and made that a key part of the routine,” she added. “We picked songs to kind of walk you through the stages of pregnancy, so to speak.”

Practice began in August.

“We got a little bit of a later start, but we’ve been hitting it hard since,” Kaley said. “And obviously, we have the advantage that we live together, so we’ve been getting some practices in the pole barn and in the living room, whenever we can squeeze it in.”

Their favorite part of the routine?

“The end,” Fritz said.

The Petersens are out to win — who isn’t? — but their main goal is to raise as much as they can in the people’s choice division. Each vote costs a $1 donations, and family and friends can vote as many times as they’d like for their favorites.

To vote for your favorite dancers, visit Tickets for the event are $75 and can be purchased via cash or check at the Ludington Area Schools central business office, 809 E. Tinkham Ave.


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