Amanda Goodman competing to help Catholic Charities
By Jill Kruse
Witness Editorial Assistant
CEDAR FALLS — She’s known across eastern Iowa for her work behind the news desk, but it’s her moves on the dance floor that are helping KWWL anchor Amanda Goodman raise money for her favorite area charity.
Goodman is one of 10 local celebrities participating in “Dancing with the Stars – Dubuque Style,” a fundraising event sponsored by the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce. It’s a takeoff on the popular television show “Dancing with the Stars” (DWTS) which pairs some of America’s most famous men and women with professional dancers for a season-long dance competition.
Each participant in Dubuque’s “Dancing with the Stars” is dancing for the benefit of a local non-profit of their choice, with Goodman choosing Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque. Every “vote” cast for Goodman will mean a $1 donation to Catholic Charities. One hundred percent of the money Goodman raises will go to the social service agency.
“Working with the news, we do stories, and anytime there is a tragedy, they are always there,” Goodman said, explaining why Catholic Charities stood out when she was deciding which charity, among so many good ones, she wanted to support. “They never close their door. It’s such a great organization, and many people don’t realize they help everyone – all walks of life, every religion – it just doesn’t matter. So I wanted to do what I could for them.”
Goodman, who is Catholic herself, said, “my faith is something that is very important to me.” She and her husband, Hector, are members of St. Patrick Parish in Cedar Falls. Their two school-age children attend St. Patrick School; daughter Giana is in second grade and son Nico is in preschool. The couple also has an infant daughter, Luciana.
Goodman and her family made the Cedar Valley their home three years ago after she accepted a job as the co-anchor of the evening news on KWWL, the NBC-affiliated television station out of Waterloo. Goodman, a native of Pennsylvania, worked for stations in Texas and North Carolina prior to moving to Iowa.
“In this business, you go where the job is,” she said. “It’s kind of one of those things, you open up a map, close your eyes, and wherever your finger lands, that’s where you end up.”
She said she’s glad the map brought her to Iowa. “I love it here,” Goodman reflected. “The people here are so authentic and genuine, and they really care about their communities.”
It’s Goodman’s own community-mindedness that made her decide to participate in the local “Dancing with the Stars” competition. When speaking at a Young Professionals meeting earlier this year she was approached by the president of the Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce, who asked her to consider doing DWTS.
“When you know it’s for charity, and you get to pick the charity that you want, and all that money stays in our community, you just can’t say ‘no’ to something like that,” Goodman said.
Since agreeing to participate, she has been busy preparing for her performance. Goodman has been traveling from her home in Cedar Falls to Dubuque a couple of times per week for training with dance instructor Adam Kieffer, owner of Adam’s Dance Connection, LLC, who will be her dance partner for the competition.
“We’re doing the Samba. It’s a very fast-paced Latin dance. It’s a lot of shaking, a lot of hips. We’ll see how it goes,” Goodman said of the dance she and Kieffer are learning for their performance, and then added with a laugh, “I’m just hoping I don’t fall off stage and break anything.”
Each Samba practice lasts about two or three hours. Sessions are challenging. “You don’t realize all these muscles you have until you do something like this,” Goodman said. “My knee hurts. My legs hurt. … It’s an intense workout. I wear a Fitbit. I happened to look down after one practice and it said 8,000 steps, so almost a day’s worth of steps in two hours. And it can sometimes get frustrating, because you’re trying to train your body and your mind to do these steps. It’s hard.”
Despite the challenges, and the occasional need for Advil after it’s over, Goodman said she enjoys practice. “Once you get into it, it’s this incredible release. Who else gets to just dance for two hours a day? It’s like being a kid again,” she said of the studio sessions. “On my way to practice, I sometimes am worrying that I’m going to screw up, but then I get in there, and you just kind of let it all go, and it’s so much fun.”
Goodman said she has gotten a great deal of encouragement as she has prepared for her appearance on DWTS. “The viewers have been fantastic. They’re the ones who post on my Facebook page, ‘You can do it. We’re so proud of you. We’re behind you,’” she said. “And my colleagues (at KWWL) and I are a family. And they like to tease me that I might mess up. But despite joking around, they’ve just been really, really supportive.”
She also has received encouragement from the people of Catholic Charities, who Goodman said were excited and very gracious when she told them she would be dancing for them. “I don’t want to let them down,” Goodman said. “I just want to raise a lot of money and raise a lot of awareness for them.”
“Dancing with the Stars – Dubuque Style” will be held on April 30 at the Five Flags Center in Dubuque. A reception will begin at 6 p.m. and the show will be at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Five Flags Box Office at 563-589-4254 or visiting their website at www.fiveflagscenter.com.
One need not attend the event to participate, though. Donations in support of Goodman’s dance for Catholic Charities can be made by visiting Goodman’s GoFundMe page.
Photo: Amanda Goodman practices her dance routine with her dance partner Adam Kieffer. Goodman travels to Dubuque a couple of times each week to practice at Kieffer’s studio, Adam’s Dance Connection, LLC. (Photos courtesy of Amanda Goodman)