Coweta's Dancing Stars
$81,000 raised for Welcome House
by Bradley Hartsell
Coweta’s Dancing Stars yielded its biggest night in its seven-year history, with a packed house in attendance Tuesday.
With the event raising more than $81,000, the audience at the Centre of Performing and Visual Arts was abuzz with excitement as 11 couples competed for the right to be voted People’s Choice and Judges’ Choice award winners. Each duo paired an everyday community member with a professional dance instructor, similar to ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” which pairs celebrities with professional dancers.
At the end of the two-and-half hour program, Jeff Chandler of SouthCrest Church and Hannah Yekel of Southern Crescent Academy of Dance were crowned People’s Choice winners by virtue of audience votes.
Chandler and Yekel performed a salsa to “Let’s Get Loud” by Jennifer Lopez. The duo added to their performance with a Vegas-theme, where Chandler and Yekel stopped dancing to perform a Carrot Top-inspired comedy routine. They resumed dancing only to stop again to do a magic trick where Chandler made the Statue of Liberty float in honor of magician David Copperfield. The two finished the routine with the last bit of the salsa.
Judge Mike Hutcheson noted after the performance, “It was cool how you transitioned into the comedic routine from the dance.”
Fellow judge Lana Mobley called the performance “very entertaining,” while Sondra Chan anointed Chandler “the king of salsa.”
First runner-up honors went to Lori Lovett of Piedmont Newnan Fitness and Chad Wood of Star Dance Studio, who performed the paso doble.
Second runner-up was Kim Melhouse-Guerra of Comcast Spotlight and Billy Cranford of Star Dance Studio, who performed a rhumba/polka flare to Cha-Cha.
Third runner-up was JP Watson of The Heritage School and Christy Stout of Star Dance Studio. They performed the swing to “Dance with Me Tonight.”
The judges selected their own winners, based on technique, style, costumes and various other factors. The Judges’ Choice winner was Scott Walker of Cancer Treatment Centers of America and Abigail Howard of Sharpsburg Dance Academy. They performed a musical montage, from old Vegas to new Vegas.
“You get credit for doing three dances in one performance,” said Chan, calling Walker “a trooper.”
“I thought it was cool. You guys didn’t miss a beat,” Hutcheson added. “The best part was seeing the [Chief Financial Officer of CTCA] dance around.”
First runner-up was Chandler and Yekel.
Second runner-up was Nathan Nipper of Piedmont Newnan Hospital and Peggy Bern of Star Dance Studio, performing a rhumba to “Sway” by Dean Martin.
Third runner-up was Watson and Stout.
Judi Alvey of Community Welcome House opened the evening with introductions and promised the 2014 Coweta’s Dancing Stars would be the biggest and best event to date. The program made good on Alvey’s promise, as $81,000 was raised for Community Welcome House.
The Welcome House provides shelter to women and children who have been victims of domestic abuse. Since 1991, the Community Welcome House in Newnan has been the only haven for victims of domestic abuse in need of shelter.
“This year's show, 'Vegas 777,' was the most successful event in its seven year run. With dance styles from Bollywood to Musical Montages, our stars really pulled out all the stops this year,” said Community Welcome House’s Samantha Brazie. “We are so grateful for every participant – star, studio and volunteer – for their help in making this show the best one ever.”