The Appalachian Ballet Company moved what is becoming their signature fundraiser to a different, larger venue for 2011 and hired a professional caterer to do the food, all of which necessitated an increase in ticket price for Dancing With Our Stars.
“We were sweating bullets,” said one member of the company’s Board of Trust.
Turns out the only folks who needed to be sweating were the hard-working dancers who spent hours practicing their routines. Dancing With Our Stars sold out for its second year, filling the Clayton Center for the Arts Grand Foyer on Friday, Feb. 18.
Eight men teamed up with senior dancers in the ballet company to present a short dance routine, each one highlighting a different type of dance. The dancers choreographed the routines and taught the dances to their partners.
Jeff Mitchell and Caroline Anglim took home the highest honors, winning the most points from the four judges -- Rachel Brown, David Dwyer, Fran Leonard and Otto Slater.
“The event itself is definitely one of the best events in Maryville from an entertainment standpoint,” said Mitchell, adding with a laugh, “and I’d say that even if I wasn’t in it. It’s entertaining, and it’s also a spectacular cause. I was most excited about the fact it sold out.”
His partner, said the winner, worked hard. “I know how hard Caroline works,” he said. “Without her, there was no way we would have been the winners. She taught me everything.”
Anglim said she enjoyed the competition. “It was a lot of work but definitely worth it. My personal motivation was my partner, Jeff,” she said. “He was so committed and enthusiastic and kept me on track. It was fun.”
Joe Black of Blount Memorial Total Rehabilitation teamed with Appalachian Ballet Company veteran Kylie Morton to dance the Mambo, and they took second place.
“It was incredible,” he said. “From one end of it to the other, it was as fun as could be.”
Kylie Morton said she was glad she did the event. “I was pleased to help raise money for the company as well as happy to dance with Dr. Joe Black,” she said. “It’s a fabulous way to combine community men with our ballerinas here and a great way to raise money.”
Amy Moore Morton, Appalachian Ballet Company’s artistic director, was happy with the turnout. “It felt full but wasn’t too crowded, and people were still able to move around and enjoy socializing,” she said. “Silver Spoon did an excellent job with catering.”
Added this year was an opening and closing number, which got more people involved in the production. The opening number featured other community men and some of the dancers from last year. The closing number, led by Craig Hurst in 1960s Hippie attire, brought all the competitors back to stage for the judges’ announcements of the winners.
There was also a silent auction, which Morton said had fabulous items and was a success. “We don’t have figures of exactly how much was raised, but I think it was comparable or more than what we raised last year,” she said.
The creative director said the senior ballerinas who worked with the men had a better understanding this year of how the event would work. “This year the girls were a little more in tune with what was going to happen. I felt their dances were well thought out, and they adjusted really well with their partners,” she said. “I felt their music choices were good, and it was rare that all eight couples did different dances, which I felt made for a lot of fun for the audience.”
Moore Morton gave special thanks to all those that donated to the silent auction along with Barbara Everett, Adriel McCord, Blount Today, the Appalachian Ballet Board of Trust and Parent Guild, as well as all the male competitors.