Fancy footwork and fundraising at A Glimpse of Dance

VERO BEACH — Gearing up for the Third Dancing With Vero’s Stars fundraiser to benefit the Indian River Healthy Start Coalition, contestants were introduced to their adoring public at A Glimpse of Dance, held Thursday evening at the Heritage Center.  During the cocktail hour, guests enjoyed a substantial hors d’oeuvres buffet, while mixing and mingling with the latest crop of local celebrity dancers and instructors.

While there is unquestionably plenty of hard work and training involved on the part of the volunteer star and professional dancers, this is decidedly not your typical dance contest.  In fact, many contestant votes are accumulated before the dancers even compete.

In addition to their sweat equity, each competitor is also charged with gathering votes, with each dollar raised equaling one vote.   Competition is fierce on and off the dance floor, with winners determined based 50% by the money they raise and 50% on their dancing skills at the main event, Saturday, March 12 at the Waxlax Theatre at Saint Edward’s School.

“We added a silent auction this year to both Glimpse and the main event,” said event co-chair Rebecca Emmons, last year’s Dancing With Vero’s Stars mirror-ball trophy winner.

Continually inventing new ways to obtain votes, the money raised from each silent auction item was credited towards the dancer who contributed it, and the percentage donated to Healthy Start Coalition from the 50/50 raffle, was credited to the winner’s choice.

“Last year we were missing an older gentleman,” said Emmons of the committee’s goal to represent a broad demographic of dancers.  “I was really happy to get David Croom this year; he’ll add an extra level of sophistication.”

As on TV’s Dancing with the Stars competition, practicing has taken quite a toll on the dancers.  But, the show must go on; at least for most.  Melissa Shine dropped out of competition after becoming pregnant and was replaced by Dr. Juli Goldstein.

“I wanted to continue, but we were doing the Lindy with flips, so it was definitely not going to work out,” said Shine.

Jarrod Owen hurt his knee practicing the salsa. 

“I had a partially torn ACL,” said Owen.  “But my partner Stefanie [Conrado] said “I don’t care; you’re dancing no matter what.”  She’s like the Simon Cowell of dancing.”

Pointing to Shine, he added with a laugh.  “I should have gotten pregnant.”

Wearing a surgical boot after suffering a torn tendon in his foot, David Croom is also still soldiering on.

“Look at him; trying to soak up the sympathy votes,” laughed Brenda Lloyd, one of last year’s contestants.

“I’ve been practicing with this on, but I’m still going to be dancing in the show; hopefully without the boot,” said Croom.

Welcoming guests and thanking sponsors, Healthy Start Coalition Board President Claudia Jimenez gave a brief overview of the organization, which oversees the funding and services for programs such as MomCare, Healthy Start Care Coordination, TLC Newborn, Healthy Families – IRC, and Partners in Pregnancy & Parenting.

Co-chairs Joe Robinson and Rebecca Emmons introduced the pairs of contestants, with Emmons thanking all the dancers, saying, “I know firsthand how much effort and time they put into the event.”

Presenting the dedicated dancers to the crowd, they also noted the type of dance they are working hard to perfect:  Susan Clay and Joe Wynes, Foxtrot; David Croom and Patti Rooney, Foxtrot; Dr. Juli Goldstein  and James Martin; Lindy Hop; Bobby Guttridge and Karren Walter, Foxtrot; Jarrod Owen and Stefanie Conrado, Salsa; Raquel Tilton and Bob Scott, American Tango;  Patrick Toole and Shari Tessier, Argentine Tango; Judy Van Saun and Joe Tessier, a combo Salsa, Paso Doble and Flamenca; and Kenny Holmes, who was unable to attend, will dance the Jitter Bug and Lindy Hop with Beth Shestak.

Guests were treated to a demonstration of what to expect at the main event, as a number of professional contestants and instructors showed off some extra fancy footwork.

Tickets for Dancing With Vero’s Stars are available for $100 per person and $150 for reserved VIP seating and can be purchased through star dancers, instructors, the Healthy Start Coalition or online at {igallery 340}

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