A well-known face has put on her dancing shoes in support of the Ballarat Foundation's mission to break the cycle of disadvantage in the region.
City of Ballarat Mayor Samantha McIntosh is one of ten Ballarat identities who have stepped up to take part in the Ballarat Foundation's biggest fundraising event to date - Dancing With Our Stars.
Cr McIntosh said she immediately jumped at the offer to participate in the event as it was a way for her to help to raise the profile of the foundation.
"I know the Ballarat Foundation and have watched their work contributing to our beautiful city over the years. The foundation chooses so many different charities across our municipality that are really deserving - they have a very strong board, make very wise decisions and I absolutely trust them," she said.
"So to have an organisation like this supporting Ballarat with a fun event like this will hopefully attract a lot of interest and contributors for the great work it does."
Cr McIntosh said it was a fantastic opportunity for all of the dancers and she had particularly enjoyed polishing her dancing skills while partaking in lessons with her professional partner in preparation for the gala event.
"Dancing is certainly embedded in my history," she said.
She recalled attending old time dancing events with a family friend, Mrs Sparrow, who would take her to dances at small country halls when she was a child before she went on to become a ballerina about 35 years ago.
Cr McIntosh's marriage to her husband Greg even has roots in dancing, with one of their first dates at a ballet club disco in Stawell when she was in Year 8. The pair will celebrate their 30th anniversary this year.
Cr McIntosh said though she had not had much time to practise her dancing skills in recent years, she had dabbled in tap dancing and more recently started attending adult classical ballet classes.
Each dancer is required to raise money for the Ballarat Foundation in the lead up to the gala event.
Cr McIntosh said she will host a fundraiser at her home - a house tour - with friends to raise funds for the event.
My goal is to make sure the work of the Ballarat Foundation is heard loud and clear across our municipality.City of Ballarat Mayor Samantha McIntosh
"My goal as the mayor of the City of Ballarat is to support a significant community organisation that filters back into many parts of our community that are deserving and in need."
A major prize on offer for those who vote for their favourite dancer is a specially-made diamond ring, worth $22,000, donated by Ballarat jewellery store Gems and Jewels.
It was designed and created by its owner Suzy Allan and will be awarded at the conclusion of the fundraiser.
Gems and Jewels' marketing manager Elysia Spry said the glamour of jewellery was in keeping with Dancing With Our Stars, so it was a fitting prize.
"We decided if we were going to do it, we had to give something amazing to go with the glitz of the event. It's a special piece," she said.
Cr McIntosh encouraged the community to support each dancer in their fundraising efforts and to vote for their favourite.
The dancer who obtains the most votes will be announced as the winner of the 2019 Dancing With Our Stars event, with the gala to take place at Civic Hall on June 22.
One vote costs $1 and will put the voter in the draw to win the diamond ring. Visit ballaratfoundation.org/dwos/ to vote for your favourite star.
Related coverage: Fundraising star Robyn Upton
Related coverage: Ballarat Foundation launches Dancing With Our Stars