Stylish moves, grooves make for successful DWTS event

Andria Grady/Journal Review Photos

The Montgomery County Youth Service Bureau once again hosted a hugely successful annual Dancing With The Stars fundraising soiree, entertaining a sold-out crowd. Nine couples with unique flair delighted the audience with stylish moves and hip-bumping grooves on the big stage during the 10th annual event.

The evening began with Jim Amidon and Dianne Magstadt introducing this year’s judges, including the Honorable Daniel Petrie, Scott Voliva and Stacy Sommer. Two judges’ seats were auctioned off to the audience. Jim and Christina Deer, who shared the responsibility with their children, Aliviana and Zion Deer, won those seats.

An outstanding opening number choreographed by Glenda Frees started the show. Alumni dancers kicked off the night with “I Feel Like Dancing” to warm up the crowd. The troupe, which included dancing stars Paul Barajas, Alex Ehrlich, Jeff Ehrlich, Heidi Gambrel, Dianne Magstadt, Nick Sommer and Leslie Warren, showed they still had the moves from their previous dancing days.

Mark Elizondo and Ashley Clute officially started the competition stage with their high-energy moves to “Jumpin.” Their twists, turns, and over-the-back flips earned the couple the Most Energetic Dancers Award for the evening.

Chef Jeff McCandless and his partner Kashawndra Cooper cooked up a 1950s-inspired routine, complete with a poodle skirt, to “Shake, Rattle, & Roll.” Their award for the night was the Most Uplifting Dance Performance, as the audience toe-taped and shook in their seats to the tune.

Wearing brightly colored tie-dyed pants, Laurie Vellner and Kaylynn Keedy Ranspach grooved to a mix of “Happy” and “All the Pretty Girls Walk Like This.” They easily took the prize for Most Fun Routine.

The graceful and elegant couple Darren Forman and Katie Wallace took the stage in a white tuxedo and beautiful ball gown. Their updated waltz style showcased chorus line kicks to “New York, New York.” They received the Most Captivating Couple Award, as those in the crowd could not take their eyes off the performance.

A “Weird Science” tune caused the stage to be transformed into a laboratory filled with test tubes and strange chemical fluids. Skylar Stevenson dressed as an Einstein-type character while his lab-created partner, Stephanie Deaton, came to life. The duo was even joined by Deaton’s past DWTS partners, who formed the You Suck Club. By the end of the number, everyone wanted to join the You Suck Club and geek out. The experimental number was awarded the Most Creative Award.

Mashed potatoes were not only served as part of the dinner on this night. The team of Darla Goodrich and Steve Frees bopped to “Do You Love Me?” Not only did they do the mashed potato and the twist, but they even added cartwheels to their routine! The Most Original Routine was awarded for their fantastic performance.

Mark Ward-Bopp and Jessyca South lit up the stage with their grooving dance performance to the song “September.” Straight from the film Staying Alive, the two proved that disco never dies. They earned the honor of Most Expressive for their moves.

Not one person sat still in their seat as North Montgomery teachers Mike Melvin and Ashley Kight stunned the audience with their incredible, high-energy routine. They made everyone get “Footloose” as people jumped to their feet to clap and shout with the fabulous duo. Their awards included Most Energetic Number and the coveted People’s Choice Award.

“Jump, Jive and Wail” by Jill Pettit and Matt Allen kept the party vibe alive. Performing the jitterbug and sensational moves resulted in an award for Most Exuberant Dancers. They also won the honor of runner-up to the People’s Choice award, as the crowd loved their style.

The finale announced the top fundraising teams and their event honors. Stevenson and Deaton broke the existing record by earning $38,792 for the Youth Service Bureau. Additional awards were bestowed to teams Pettit-Allen and Elizondo-Clute for their outstanding fundraising skills, which added $13,742 and $11,605, respectively, to the total.

The evening ended with many thanks to the dancers and the audience for their participation in the fun-filled night. The money raised supports programs run by the YSB, including CASA, Teen Court, Inspire, Reindear program, Nourish, Jump Juvenile Mentoring Program, Child Abuse Prevention Council, Drug Free Montgomery County and the Montgomery County Alternative School.