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'A little bit of shock': Contestant 'honored' to participate

'A little bit of shock': Contestant 'honored' to participate


FLORENCE, S.C. – The School Foundation’s Dancing For Our Future Stars couples have been practicing for the past two months, and the competition will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Voting is open to the public, and people can vote for their favorite couples for $10 per vote. Dancers will compete at the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology Center on the Florence-Darlington Technical College campus.

One of the 12 “celebrity dancers” is Veeral Oza, who is a gastroenterologist at McLeod Regional Medical Center. Oza and his partner, Rachel Fenters, will perform a Bhangra and Bollywood fusion dance.

Oza recently took the time to answer some questions.

Q: What was your reaction to being asked to participate in Dancing For Our Future Stars?

A: “A little bit of shock, because I was like, Dancing with the Stars?’ And I looked around and was like, ‘Who’s the star?’ I was speechless and very honored.”

Q: Why is it important to support The School Foundation?

A: “So I have been privileged enough to have my education in four different countries. I feel like as a result of my schooling in multiple different places, it’s helped me get to where I am. I feel like our school system obviously has a lot that can be done – especially when it comes to science and math education. I think The School Foundation and all their efforts will definitely help our community here.”

Q: What has been the most exciting part of preparing up to this point?

A: “This. Hanging out with Rachel and her telling me all of these dance moves that sometimes make me realize I’m getting old. Jokes aside, it’s a fun experience getting to hang out here and learn a little bit. It’s been a learning experience, learning what you can do and you cannot do.”

Q: Do you have a background in dance?

A: “A formal background, no, but I did participate in some talent competitions with my sister: my sister being my partner and my mom being my choreographer.”

Q: What are your pastimes when you’re not dancing?

A: “So I enjoy going to the gym and playing racquet sports. That’s been a hobby of mine. I have done a half-marathon before. I do enjoy running, but I tore my calf muscle almost a year ago, so that’s really taken a toll on how much running I can do.”

Q: What is your biggest fear with the competition?

A: “My entire family is going to be in the audience. My parents are going to be there. They’re coming from Chicago. My sister is coming from Chicago. My cousins and my aunts are coming as well. So dancing in front of them is nerve racking. I don’t have much of a fear per se.”

Q: How have your co-workers responded to your dancing?

A: “They’re all excited. They’ve all been coming and telling me. I feel like they are almost more excited than me.”

Q: Are you competitive?

A: “Usually I do, except in things where I feel winning or losing is irrelevant or it doesn’t really matter that much per se. Just to be here matters to me.”

Q: Do you think that you’re going to keep dancing after the competition?

A: “As time permits, yeah. I wouldn’t say for recreation, but yeah, if I went out, I might do a little salsa or something.”

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