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Dancing for the arts
Competition raises $48,000
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Tommy Hudgins and Tracy Tate won the Dancing for the Arts event Saturday night. At right, they perform their assigned dance, Paso Doble, to “Paso Royale” by Giants of Latin. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
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Sunday, March 23, 2014

By HOLLY KOZELSKY - Bulletin Staff Writer

After their two dances took the extremes of serious and comic, Tracy Tate and Tommy Hudgins won in Piedmont Arts’ 2014 Dancing For the Arts.

The fundraising dance competition was held Saturday at Martinsville High School. The event raised $48,380 for Piedmont Arts programs in the schools.

Eight couples performed two dances each, one an assigned dance and one of their choice.

Tate and Hudgins won for having the highest score. Half of each team’s score was from marks awarded by the judges, and half came from votes by the audience and community. Each vote cost $1.

The couple’s first dance was the stern and precise paso doble to “Paso Royale.” They dressed in flamboyant red and black costumes. In their second dance, to “Lady Marmalade,” Tate dressed as a man in a black suit and hat and Hudgins, the headmaster at Carlisle School, wore a navy evening gown and blond wig.

Michael Palmer and Amanda Witt were the only team to earn all 10s, the highest score, from each judge for both dances. The first was for an energetic quickstep to “Bandstand Boogie” by Barry Manilow. They flew across the stage in rapid dance steps, smiles never leaving their faces. Judge Pedro Szalay said afterward their dance had “wonderful, bubbly energy.”

Szalay is the artistic director of Southwest Virginia Ballet. The other judges were Kim Adkins, Martinsville mayor; the Rev. Thurman Echols, pastor of Moral Hill Missionary Baptist Church; Dr. Angeline Godwin, president of Patrick Henry Community College; and Bill Young, former judge of the Miss America Pageant.

After each dance, each judge gave two or three remarks, often with lively banter between the show’s emcee, David Martin. Then each held up a paddle with the score.

Palmer and Witt’s next dance was, as Godwin said later, “Saturday Night Fever Martinsville-Style” disco to “You Should Be Dancing.”

Steve Draper and Terri Younger-Eure also earned all perfect marks for their fox trot to Frank Sinatra’s “Love and Marriage.” During the second half of the show, their free dance was to “Jailhouse Rock.” Draper, Martinsville’s sheriff, was dressed as a convict, and Younger-Eure portrayed a warden. Their acrobatic dance had several tricky moves which got comments and gasps from the audience, including one when he bent down and she rolled across his back.

Orion Martin and Jennifer Gravely also earned all 10s for their disco dance. It was full of him turning her and classic disco finger-pointing and arm rolls. “You guys really did disco a great service,” Adkins said afterward.

The disco was a departure from their first dance, an elegant waltz. They swayed both together and apart, flitting along to gentle music.

Scott Allred and Cameron Cooper took in all 10s for their dance to “Mony Mony.” Allred hammed it up several times as Cooper twisted around him. In the audience, a couple of dozen of the fifth-grade students Cooper teaches held up a sign and cheered her on. Their first dance was a sultry rumba to “Breathe” by Jordan Sparks.

Don Grayson and Tiffany Lawrie evoked other time periods in both dances. Their cha-cha to “Hush Hush” by the Pussycat Dolls was full of rhythm and smooth hip swaying. Godwin said it has “perfect infusion between the song and dance moves. It was supercharged.” Next they danced a lighthearted old Hollywood style number to “Choreography.”

Max Hall and Rhonda Hopkins evoked a scene from a World War II dance hall as they tap danced to the brass band sound of Benny Goodman’s “Sing Sing Sing.” Her red dress had polka dots. His Army uniform had patches his grandfather wore during World War II in Germany. They also twisted in samba to “La Isla Bonita.”

Monty Montgomery and Judy Hodge-Harris donned black, white and brilliant pink for a fun and lively smorgasborg of 1960s dances in their freestyle to a Wilson Puckett song, a contrast to their earlier dramatic black and red for the sultry tango to “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps.”

At the conclusion, eight dancers from Dancing for the Arts 2012 did a line dance to “What Does the Fox Say” — then the song repeated, and the audience rose to perform the song.

The final dance was by the 2012 Dancing for the Arts winners, Clay Campbell and Kathy Rogers, to “I Will Always Love You.”

The show opened with a ballet from “Swan Lake” by five Martinsville High School football players, Larry Green, Rodric Palmer, Rodney Palmer, Antonio Frazier and Dajshon Pettie.

Laughter exploded in the auditorium when the husky football players pranced out in pink tutus, but as soon as they linked hands and began the steps, the chuckles changes to rousing applause.

Their prize was a matching pair of mirror ball trophies made by Studio 107 artist Terry Mitchell.


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