Dancing with the Reading Stars

Audience Favorite – in-person: JR and Emilee Koch
Audience Favorite – virtual: Guy and Ryan Griffin-Silveri
Comeback Kid Award: Helene Reeser and Erich Cawalla
Grand Champion 3rd : MaCherie Dunbar and Bethany Bower
Grand Champion 2nd: Helene Reeser and Erich Cawalla
Grand Champion 1st: JR and Emilee Koch

The dance pairs were able to raise over $92,000 to further Yocum’s mission to provide arts education throughout the county. The Henry Family is generously matching all donations, dollar-for-dollar plus an additional $38,000 to bring our grand total to $222,000!

2021 Dancing with the Reading Stars Photo Gallery, Photography by Lindsey Hart Photography
Rewatch the Live Stream

2020 was more than a challenging year to say the least especially for the arts. Cancelling DWTRS 2020 was a difficult decision, as there was a large loss of revenue from this highly popular event. That being said, clouds sometimes have a silver lining and to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the event, the Henry Family has come forward to match every dollar raised. That means your gift will be doubled. Words can’t express how much this will help the Yocum Institute maintain services that are so vitally needed especially for our youth, not increase tuition at this difficult time for families and continue our outreach in the community. We appreciate your consideration and ask that you be as generous as possible.  

BACKGROUND: The purpose of Dancing with the Reading Stars Event is to raise the money necessary to support on-going operations, scholarships, productions, and our many outreach and offsite programs – 50% of which are provided at little or no cost to the community. In addition to its onsite classes and preschool, Yocum Institute outreach and offsite programs impact 30,000 people each year. 80% are under the age of 18 and 50% of those the Institute serves are considered at risk population. Although many do not realize it, the Yocum Institute for Arts Education is much more than the bricks and mortar of the building located at 3000 Penn Avenue. Yocum Institute is the leader in community arts education in Berks County.

Our programs are delivered through our partnerships including the Reading School District, PAL/Olivet Boys & Girls Clubs, Berks County Public Libraries, Wilson Area School District, and John Paul II Center for Special Learning. Nationally, Yocum Institute partnered with the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis in 2008 as one of 13 host sites for their critical literacy program, Neighborhood Bridges. This program has been effectively used in over 150 classrooms in the Reading School District.

Yocum Institute has been in the business of arts education for both arts and non-arts outcomes for 87 years. Our vision is to ensure that the long-term benefits and impact of the arts on education are available to children regardless of where they live or their family income.

ABOUT THE EVENT: Dancing with the Reading Stars (DWTRS) involves a dozen dance pairs from throughout the county representing our diverse community.  In addition to creating a 90 second dance routine that is performed via live stream on Saturday, May 22, each pair solicits sponsorships and votes. The public is encouraged to raise funds by placing votes of $10 for the pair(s) of your choice. Votes can be done online, sent through the mail or by calling the Yocum Institute. Voting closes with the live streamed performances the night of the event.

Dancers choose their own music and either create their own routine, or work with a Yocum Institute choreographer to assist them in developing a routine. This is not just about dancing; it’s about fun and fundraising! In our first year in 2011, the event sold out with 450 attendees and netting over $45,000 for community programs. By 2019, the audience grew to over 500 and raised $120,000. In 2017, we moved our event to the DoubleTree Hotel to provide more seating for a growing audience for this fun event. For 2021, the 10th anniversary event will be held outside in a tented, socially distanced venue at Yocum Institute’s new home.

The 2021 10th Anniversary Ticket Prices are $100 per ticket (a ticket includes a sit down dinner with cash bar and the live show). Tables of 8, 6 and 4 are available for $800, $600, and $400. Cocktail tables for 2 will also be provided throughout the space. Each dance pair has the option to purchase 1 table. All tables are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and tables MUST be reserved and paid for by April 1. After this date, all remaining tables will be released for purchase by the general public. A list of who will be seated at each table must be submitted no later than May 3. Prior to April 1, please reserve tables by contacting Wendy Kershner at or call 610-376-1576. After April 1, remaining tables and individual tickets may be purchased online at

Thank You To Our Sponsors:

Platinum Sponsors:

Berkshire Charitable Foundation

Gold Sponsors:

Putting on the Ritz Sponsors:

Angela & Dick Ehst

Ruby Slippers Sponsors:

Charles, Tracie & Emilee Koch

Twinkle Toes:

Sherry & Bill Flippin


Jazz Sponsors:

Dena & Vic Hammel

Salsa Sponsor:

Heather Alexander

Archie Perrin & Ralia Vardaxis

Phyllis & Chris Luppold

Hip Hop Sponsors:

Cha-Cha Sponsors:

Ballet Sponsors: