Six area couple put on their dancing shoes Saturday, Oct. 12, evening to raise about $50,000 for Mental Health America of Boone County.
Each couple participating in Boone County Dancing with the Stars chose their song and took lessons from the Arthur Murray Dance Studio.
Katie and Joel Walters performed a fox trot and swing dance to “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen.
“I got an email that asked us to represent The Black Box Theatre Company,” Katie said. “We tried all the basics of dance styles. I had a background in swing and I got to learn something I didn’t know.”
Joel didn’t have any dancing background and said, “I had no dance experience so I learned a lot.”
Josh and Cari Ann Walker performed a country western triple dance to “Donkey” by Jared Niemann.
“Getting Josh on the dance floor was all I ever wanted,” Cari Ann said. “The dance practices were better than I expected. I come from a country line dance background. They (Arthur Murray Dance Studio) made it a couple’s dance and it matches our personalities.”
James Koontz and Brittany Smith performed a dance style mash up to “Quest for the Castle” while dressed as Mario and Princess Peach.
“We showed the instructor a video and they put it all together,” Koontz said. “We have a forward facing dance. It’s trickier with the dance floor in the middle. We had to do a couple of tries.”
The next couple was familiar with the layout of Dancing with the Stars although they had never been contestants.
“We’ve been around or done work for the ‘Dancing with the Stars’ since the beginning,” Chad Perdue said.
He and Tiffany Perdue performed a West Coast swing and lindy hop dance to “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner.
“We’re not people to dance at weddings,” Tiffany said. “This is out of our comfort zone. It’s a good cause and it benefits the community; you can’t say no.”
Justin and Tricia Wright performed the country cha cha to “This is How We Roll” by Florida Georgia Line.
“Katie Pollock asked us to dance and I said ‘yes,’” Tricia said. “She asked if I needed to ask Justin and I said, ‘he’s in.’ We were looking forward to doing something different. We made time for it. It was our weekly date night. Anything to support Boone County and mental health, we want to be a part of.”
Aaron and Jordan Vaughn also used the dance lessons as their date nights. They performed the hustle dance to “Perm” by Bruno Mars.
“There was a learning curve,” Jordan said when asked about dance rehearsals. “We were able to have bonding time without the kids.”
A special performance by Mike DeSante, franchise owner of Arthur Murray Dance Studio, and Lynette Clark took place after the competition to allow time for the judges to tally the votes.
Winners were determined by combination of judge’s scores, attendee voting, and fundraising. The Wrights took first place, followed by Koontz and Smith in second and the Walkers in third.
As the purpose of the event was to raise funds for Mental Health America of Boone County, all of the dancers were winners.
Pascal Fettig, executive director of MHABC, deemed the evening a success. MHABC said roughly $50,000 was raised for the cause.
“Next year we’ll try to bring back our champions to compete against each other,” Pascal said.