Dancers’ enthusiasm coupled with audience approval contributed to the excitement generated at “A Southern Inspiration,” the Fifth Dancing with the Brunswick Stars Aug. 9.
Star Cindy Hewett and professional dancer Juan Gonzalez danced the samba to “Tough” and won top honors.
“You probably had more chemistry than any other couple I saw tonight,” said Jon David, district attorney for Brunswick, Bladen and Columbus counties, a judge in the contest.
“You didn’t have to sell that to me at all. That was great,” judge Jim Desmond, an award-winning professional dancer himself.
Brunswick Community College Foundation organizes the event each year to raise money for scholarships to Brunswick Community College, Bolivia, N.C. The 400 people at the college’s Dinah E. Gore Fitness & Aquatics Center paid $100 a plate to attend the gala.
In her opening remarks, Susanne Adams, president of the college, said, “The community college is the most democratic of any institution because it says, ‘My door is open. Walk in. We’ll take you where you are and we’ll take you as far as you can go.’ ”
Three judges determined winners in the Best Performance and Most Entertaining categories. The People’s Choice award went to the two couples who raised the most money for the fundraiser.
Brunswick Star Lydia Chandler and professional dancer Philip McGee were Best Performance runners-up for their freestyle arrangement to Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.” The judges, along with emcee Jon Evans of WECT-TV in Wilmington, N.C., offered their respect for the couple’s energy and coordination.
“It takes a lot of work to be as in tune with each other as you were,” said Desmond.
Winning the Best Performance award for their smooth steps and movements doing the shag to “You’re the Boss” were Brunswick Star Sue MacCallum and professional dancer Brad White.
“Understated, classy, nuanced. That was brilliant,” said David.
“That was really a fantastic shag,” Desmond added.
MacCallum said she didn’t come to the event determined to win. Her primary concern was raising money for scholarships.
Dancing the jive to “Satisfaction” were pro Sara Misiti Clemmons and Star Arthur Mallory, which earned them the runner-up award for Most Entertaining.
“I just expected to come and have fun and make money for scholarships,” Clemmons said. Mallory echoed her sentiment and said they had been practicing once a week since June.
“It was really well done. You were dancing together and were very entertaining,” said judge Yvonne Richardson Watson, former college professor and dean at Trenton State College in New Jersey.
As Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara, Star Randy Aldridge and pro Jessica Baltos did the quick step to “That Man,” and won the Most Entertaining award.
“That’s a hard dance to do, and you two pulled it off nicely,” Desmond said.
Runners-up in the People’s Choice category were pro Debra Hughes and Brunswick Star Tom Adams for their cha cha to Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville.”
“I danced with Jimmy Buffett on tour for a little while, and he would approve,” Desmond said.
As an addition to the event, the Foundation initiated the Clarice and Ronnie Holden Humanitarian award and showed a video outlining the couple’s worldwide charitable projects. The audience gave the Holden’s two standing ovations in appreciation for all their efforts.
“What I’ve done, I’ve enjoyed so much,” Clarice told the audience. “It’s worth everything we’ve ever done to be a part of this college.”
“This world is a much better place with Ronnie and Clarice Holden in it,” Evans said.
“We had a stupendous show,” said Linda Lynes, who has chaired all five Dancing with the Brunswick Stars events. “The quality of the dancers, their enthusiasm and energy made the program fantastic. They put their hearts and souls into it.”
The event raised $146,000.