Attorney Rebecca Emmons Vero’s Top Dancing Star

VERO BEACH — Rebecca Emmons and her partner Joseph Wynes earned the coveted mirrored trophy ball as the Grand Prize Winners of Dancing With Vero’s Stars.  With sequins, sparkle and fancy footwork, celebrity dancers and their professional dance partners wowed the 500 guests who had come to cheer on their favorites and support a great cause.

The event is a fundraiser for the Indian River County Healthy Start Coalition, which provides programs that guarantee all pregnant women have access to prenatal and infant services.  Dancers were judged in equal parts by the money they raised for the non-profit organization as well as the scores given by the judges. Every dollar donated equaled one vote and was later combined with the judges’ scores to determine First and Second Runners-up and the Grand Prize Winner. Last year’s inaugural event, held at the Elks Lodge in Vero Beach, proved so popular that the venue was changed to the considerably larger Waxlax Center for the Performing Arts at Saint Edward’s School.

Leslie Spurlock, Healthy Start Coalition Executive Director was pleased with the new venue and remarked on how wonderful it was to have the professional lighting, stage help and box office.  Spurlock, who was going to be running things backstage, said with a smile, “I’m like the stage mother back there.”

Dancers mingled with the guests during the cocktail hour, getting some last minute encouragement from their supporters, along with additional donations to give a boost to their overall scores.  I ran into Carole Casey who was with a large contingent of Annamarie LaBella fans from Grand Harbor where LaBella works.  “What a doll.  She’s so cute and so wonderful to all of us at Grand Harbor.”

As guests took their seats inside the auditorium, there were definite cheering sections for each of the dancers; some complete with noise-makers.

Professional dancers from the Royal Ballroom Dance Team gave a taste of what was to come with an entertaining showcase demonstration.  Emcee Hamp Elliott introduced Healthy Start Coalition Board Member Georgia Irish and Board President Joe Coakley, who once again co-chaired the event, and returning judges Lance Sexton of Melbourne Ballroom, Andrew Currie of Dance Space and Gretchen Rose of Island Home Interiors, and then it was on to the competition.

Videos of the couples practicing and talking about the whole experience lent a nice introductory touch and preceded each dance performance.

The lineup was decided by a random drawing and Kerry Bartlett, Executive Director of the Indian River Community Foundation and her partner Oleg Dimitrov from Royal Ballroom drew the difficult first spot, leading the competition off with a fiery Paso Doble.  Admitting that the dance was a bit outside her comfort level, Bartlett said that she wanted to show her nieces that with a lot of hard work you can do anything you set your mind to.

At only five feet tall, a petite Annamarie LaBella, Event Director at Grand Harbor, packed a big punch in a high-energy Fast Lindy with her partner James Martin from the 14th Avenue Dance Studio.  The lively routine was filled with flips and lifts, proving, as judge Rose commented, “Good things come in small packages.”

David Busch from Southern Eagle Distributing and his partner Shari Tessier from 14th Avenue Dance Studio were next to take the stage, dancing the Lindy Hop.  After saying in his video piece that he was going to “bring it,” he did just that; lifting his partner with ease and looking like he was enjoying himself.

A confident looking Awilda Rivera, General Manager of Costa d’Este Beach Resort showed off her Latin moves with dance partner Joe Tessier of the 14th Avenue Dance Studio.  The great hip action and fluid movements of their Salsa charmed the audience and the judges, earning her the first 10 of the evening.

Cheryl Gerstner, Broker/Owner of Palm Pointe Realty showed grace and poise, dancing the Night Club Two-Step with her partner Bob Kane of Dance on Space Coast.  The elegant performance beautifully showcased her previous ballerina training as the couple glided across the floor.

Dan Crisafulli, Managing Director of Rock City Gardens did a terrific job with some impressive lifts, dancing both the Rumba and the Paso Doble with his partner Asya Dimitrov of Royal Ballroom.  Crisafulli told the audience that the learning experience had opened up a whole world that he hadn’t known existed.

Wearing a glittery sequined costume, Attorney Rebecca Emmons, with Stewart, Evans, Stewart and Emmons, P.A., danced the Cha Cha with her partner Joseph Wynes of Desire to Dance.  Wynes had said in the video that Emmons was a quick learner and the lessons evidently paid off as she entertained us with an energetic and sassy number.

The second playful Cha Cha of the evening was performed by Paralegal Brenda Lloyd of Robin Lloyd and Associates, P.A., dancing with Harry Sark of Royal Ballroom.  Wearing a fringed costume that swayed with her hips and a smile that lit up the stage, the audience could tell she was having a great time.

A dashing tuxedo-clad Tony Della Porta, President of Della Porta Construction was the last of the nine dancers to compete.  Della Porta and his partner Patti Rooney, an experienced dancer and contestant in last year’s competition, showed class and style dancing a smooth and graceful waltz.

A brief intermission gave the audience a chance to stretch their legs, nibble on some delectable desserts and add a few more votes for their favorite dancers, who all seemed relieved that the hard part was over.  A few of the guests mentioned that they’d love to be considered for next year’s competition, including Marcia Loewinger who said with a laugh and a shimmy, “It’s got to be something with a lot of hip action.  You have to let loose and have fun.”

Guests returned back inside and, as votes were tallied, Awilda Rivera showcased another of her talents, with a wonderful rendition of the song, “I Don’t Want to Lose You Now” while Joe and Shari Tessier of 14th Avenue Dance Studio danced a Rumba.  A sexy, sultry Argentine Tango was performed by Asya and Oleg Dimitrov of Royal Ballroom and the Swingsation Team from 14th Avenue Dance Studio entertained with a jumping Jive.

And then the moment everyone was waiting for arrived.  The trophy for Second Runner-up was awarded to Annamarie LaBella and her partner James Martin.  The First Runner-up trophy went to David Busch and partner Shari Tessier and the Grand Prize Winners were Rebecca Emmons and her partner Joseph Wynes. {igallery 165}

Related Articles

Leave a Comment