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Novice couples to cut a rug to aid Piedmont Arts
Couples who will dance together in Dancing For the Arts are (from left) Tommy Hudgins and his partner, Tracy Tate; Jennifer Gravely and Orion Martin; Tiffany Lawrie and Don Grayson; Amanda Witt and Michael Palmer; Rhonda Hopkins and Max Hall; Cameron Cooper and Scott Allred; Judy Hodge and Monty Montgomery; and Terri Younger-Eure and Steve Draper. (Bulletin photo by Holly Kozelsky)
Dr. Terri Younger-Eure said she figures she’ll be able to dance around any potential speeding tickets from now on.
That’s got to be one of the perks of being Sheriff Steve Draper’s dance partner in Dancing For the Arts, she joked.
Dancing For the Arts is a fundraising event for Piedmont Arts. Eight couples will compete for the honor of being the area’s top dancers, an honor that will be determined by votes.
Organizer David Martin announced the event in an applause- and laughter-filled session Monday night at Piedmont Arts in Martinsville. None of the participants knew who their dance partners, their dances or their coaches were until then.
Each couple was assigned a ballroom dance and also will perform a dance of the pair’s choosing. The ballroom dance was assigned by drawing.
The dancers, their dances and their coaches are:
• Scott Allred and Cameron Cooper. Allred is the band director at Fieldale-Collinsville Middle School. Cooper, one of his former students, is a fifth-grade teacher. Allred said he is not a formal dancer, but he danced plenty of hip-hop “back in the ’80s.” Cooper said she loves to dance and had no hesitation accepting the invitation to participate.
They will dance the rumba, a rhythmic dance from Cuba that features swaying of the hips to a Latin beat. Their coaches will be ballroom dancers Wayne and Wanda Wilson of Stuart.
• Draper and Younger-Eure. Draper is the Martinsville sheriff, and Younger-Eure is a medical doctor.
In his profile statement, Draper said his goal is “not to hurt my partner,” Martin read, to the laughter of the assembled crowd. Martin asked Younger-Eure how comfortable would she be dancing with a sheriff, and she replied with a chuckle, “No more tickets — no more speeding tickets.”
They will dance the foxtrot, a smooth progressive dance characterized by long, continuous flowing movements across the dance floor. Their coach will be Jane Leizer, who coached 2012’s winning pair, Clay Campbell and Kathy Rogers.
• Don Grayson and Tiffany Lawrie. Grayson is a Martinsville ophthalmologist, and Lawrie lives in Martinsville and is the mother of two young girls.
In his profile, Grayson wrote, “‘Let us mesh together and kick butt,’” Martin quoted. When Martin asked Lawrie if she had any secret dance moves she would like to share, she replied with a twinkle in her eye, “If it’s a secret, no.”
They will dance the cha-cha, a rhythmic Latin dance from Cuba with a lot of hip sway, and will be coached by Catherine Rodenbough, who works at Hollingsworth Dance Studio.
• Max Hall and Rhonda Hopkins. Hall is the catering and social media director for Chick-Fil-A. Hopkins works for Martinsville Glass.
In his profile, Hall quoted from the movie “Dirty Dancing:” “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” When Martin told him Hopkins runs marathons, he replied, “That’s scary.” Both have acted with TheatreWorks.
They will dance the samba, a rhythmic Latin dance often characterized by a bounce with hip motion, coached by Joyce Hankins.
• Tommy Hudgins and Tracy Tate. Hudgins is the headmaster at Carlisle School. In his profile, he wrote, “Someone has lost his mind” for nominating him. Tate, of Martinsville, wrote that she would say to the competition, “Bring it on!”
They will dance the paso doble, a progressive international Latin dance. Their coaches will be Burt and Flo Jackson, exhibition dancers who compete in ballroom dancing at the national level.
• Orion Martin and Jennifer Gravely. Martin is the head football coach at Martinsville High School, and Gravely is the communication specialist for the Patrick Henry Community College Foundation.
In his profile, Martin wrote that he would use his athletic moves on the dance floor, whereas Gravely wrote that her dancing experience comes from dancing to Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys music.
They will dance the waltz, a dance from 17th-century Europe known for its graceful sway, rise and fall, coached by Leizer.
• Monty Montgomery and Judy Hodge. Montgomery, who is retired, played professional baseball for the Kansas City Royals for seven years and a long time ago “was a shagger for a brief decade,” he said in his profile. Hodge, a retired music teacher, wrote that she once “got school superintendents to do the turkey tango dance.”
They will dance the tango, a staccato and seductive dance originally from Argentina, coached by Sue Ann Ehmann. Ehmann is a dance teacher.
• Michael Palmer and Amanda Witt. Palmer is the information technology manager for New College Institute, and Witt is the executive director of the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce. In his profile, Palmer wrote a warning to the competition: “Watch out — I’s a certified dancing machine!”
The pair said they were tickled to be matched together: He is a 1998 graduate of Fieldale-Collinsville High School, and she is a 1999 graduate of the school. “Cavalier connection,” Palmer added.
Palmer and Witt will dance the quick-step, a fast-paced dance of European origin. Rodenbough will be their coach.
Last week, each of the dancers met during a meet-and-greet session, Martin said. Each male dancer took a turn to pose with each of the female dancers. A committee reviewed the pictures and chose the couples who looked best together.
Dancing For the Arts will be March 22 at Martinsville High School. Votes will cost $1 each, and anyone may vote as many times as she desires. Also, membership fees will be double the number of votes; for example, a $35 membership in Piedmont Arts will mean 70 votes. Piedmont Arts’ first Dancing For the Arts was held in 2012 and earned more than $51,000.
Proceeds support arts events in local schools.