Zionsville resident Dr. Tara Holloran will be one of the celebrity dancers in “Reason to Dance, Reason for Hope,” a dance competition to benefit Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.
Patterned after the television show “Dancing with the Stars,” the ballroom dance competition is set for 6 p.m. March 17 at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis.
The funds raised are donated to two programs — the child life specialists and Riley research programs at Riley Hospital for Children. Child life specialists, whose treatments are not covered by insurance, use many therapeutic interventions to serve children’s social, emotional and educational needs during procedures that might be stressful, according to the hospital.
Holloran, an associate professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Riley specializing in child abuse, said participating in the event has special meaning for her.
“A lot of the kids that I am evaluating, it can be a very stressful time for them,” Holloran said. “That is where having a child life specialist is so important for the kids, and they are so good at helping the child through that process.
“Once I found out the dance was for child life, I was all in.”
The fundraisers’ founders, Damon and Tamra Greeley, said they started the event to combine their passion for ballroom dancing with their desire to help children.
“Both programs are predominately supported through philanthropic giving,” Damon said. “Overall, we have given over $500,000, which has been split equally between these two programs, and we are hoping this year to donate a record amount with the help of community celebrities like Dr. Tara Holloran.”
Since the first “Reason to Dance” competition in 2015, Indiana celebrities have been paired with professional dance instructors from ballroom dance studios to learn and refine a ballroom and freestyle dance routine.
The couples have been practicing twice a week since November of last year.
Each couple will perform two categories of dance styles — the jive and the cha-cha.
Holloran and her dance partner, professional dancer Jonas Kazlauskas, a five-time world dance champion, decided to do their jive number to “We don’t talk about Bruno” from the Disney movie “Encanto.”
“Encanto” tells the tale of a family who lives hidden in a magical house. Holloran will dress up as the main character Mirabel and Kazlauskas will be dressed as Bruno.
“I love that movie,” Holloran said. “Being one of the dancers is so different from anything else in my normal life, and it’s fun to dress up in the wigs and costumes and get into the persona.”
The celebrity dancers will compete at an elegant event to win one of several awards, Grand Champion, Judges’ Choice, Runner Up, and the Riley Children’s Choice Award, voted on by the Riley children. Three judges will score the other awards during the dancers’ performances.
“The cause is clearly important to Tara, and she has embraced the essence of our event,” Tamra said. “She hit the ground running with fundraising and dancing and has not stopped.”
Holloran, a Zionsville Community High School graduate and valedictorian, said being part of the dance competition reminds her of her high school cheerleading days.
“I have never ballroom danced before, but cheer has helped me learn the dance routines,” she said.
Holloran said she might keep taking ballroom dancing lessons after the compeition.
“I’m starting to get sad it’s going to be over soon, and I might keep taking lessons because it has been such an adventure to learn to dance,” she said. “Especially for such a great cause.”
To donate, visit reasontodance.org and click on Dr. Tara Holloran to join her cause.
More on Dr. Tara Holloran
Dr. Tara Holloran is an associate professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Riley Hospital for Children. She also leads educational efforts to teach medical students and resident physicians about child abuse detection and evaluation.
Outside of work, Holloran operates a nonprofit volunteer group that works to save the lives of injured and sick dogs and cats on local animal shelters.
Zionsville Community Foundation established an award in Hollooran’s father’s name, The Lionel Dubay Youth Sports Award, in 2022.
Holloran and her husband, Ed, have two sons, Edward and Colton.