01/25/11 — Let's dance ...

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Let's dance ...

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on January 25, 2011 1:46 PM

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Dee Dee Doherty, left, a participant in the upcoming Dancing with the Wayne County Stars fundraiser, practices her routine, a fox trot, with instructor Allen Grimes.

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Dr. Charles Zwerling, owner of Top Hat Studio and producer of the upcoming Dancing with the Wayne County Stars, goes over instructions Monday night with some of the 26 participants in the March 26 fundraiser.

Dr. Charles Zwerling has a flair for the dramatic and a vision for the upcoming Dancing with the Wayne County Stars.

The producer of the gala told the 26 contestants Monday night that he will do everything possible to make the March 26 event a "memorable evening" for them as well as the audience.

"My goal is to make each individual couple look as good as they possibly can," he said. "I want (the audience) to come back next year."

He spoke of staging and entrances, costumes and limousines, while attempting to ease some of the anxiety that comes with performing before a large audience.

All the advance rehearsals and meetings will help "get the butterflies out," he told the group.

"The more times you do this, the more times you're in front of people, even if it's us, you won't be nervous the night of the show. Well, not as much," he said.

As owner of Top Hat Ballroom Studio, Zwerling has opened his doors for rehearsals and his instructors for lessons. He and wife, Melissa, are coordinating the finer points of the evening, from props and costumes to accompanying music.

"Dr. Zwerling has lots of professional experience, so it will look like a professional product," said Dr. Debbie Grady, coordinator of the fundraiser to support Wayne Education Network.

Dr. Ed Wilson of WEN said the organization does much to supplement educational efforts for public, private and home-schools in the community. Among the programs it targets are Junior Leadership, a middle school career fair and mini-grants for teachers.

"We hope to add to the list because of this fundraiser having scholarship funding," Mrs. Grady said.

Mrs. Grady introduced the idea to WEN several months ago as a viable way to bring in money for local education. She said the concept had been very successful in other communities, as well as being a popular TV show.

There are several ways it will elicit profits, she explained to the group.

"One is ticket sales -- $100 per person for the actual event," she said. "We agree that's high but it is a charity event and our research showed four other communities in North Carolina had been holding this as a fundraiser. All charged $100 to $125."

The gala will be held at Walnut Creek Country Club, she explained, and includes dinner and open dancing after the finale. Since it is a charity event, it is a tax write-off, she added.

"We'll also be selling ads for the program, having sponsorships for couples or individuals, and voting -- people in our community can vote for $10 a vote -- on our website," she said.

A website is being created for this purpose and will include a list of all the contestants plus a photo and bio about them. Voting can be done through PayPal or for those requesting it, a paper ballot can be printed out and mailed in.

Links to the information can be found at wayneeducationnetwork.org and ballroom.org.

Only 400 tickets will be sold to the evening event and videos will be made available later for purchase.

"It's going to be a wonderful evening of great dancing, entertainment, singing," said Mrs. Grady.

"And comedy," said Sue Hood Hill, a teacher at Grantham School who signed on as one of the contestants.

"It's modeled after the TV show and Brunswick County event," Mrs. Grady told the group. "All of you were recruited to this event because you are well-known and you're always contributing to this community."

Organizers are also looking at putting some of the practice sessions online so voters can see the contestants in action.

In addition, the night of the performance there will be additional entertainment, in the form of nationally-ranked dancers also on the program and group numbers featuring the entire cast and others who have expressed an interest in dance.

In the few short weeks since rehearsals began, it is going well, Mrs. Grady said.

"Our instructors have done a wonderful job," she said.

"Some of our dancers are already ahead," added Zwerling. "Dr. (Steve) Taylor already knows his routine and we're getting him ready for costuming. He started in December.

"I think everybody's doing great."

Contestant Dee Dee Doherty, whose husband is the commander of the 4th Fighter Wing on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, admitted to a little trepidation, having only worked with partner Allen Grimes over the past month.

"I never had dance lessons other than disco at age 10," she said with a smile.

The goal for the inaugural event is to inspire fun -- not only among the dancers themselves but among the audience and surrounding community.

"We hope that it will inspire people that we do have many dance opportunities here in Wayne County as well as raising money for education," Mrs. Grady said.

Contestants, their partners and the dance they will perform include:

*Tyler Barwick, president of Mount Olive Chamber of Commerce, will dance the tango/paso with Scott Reinier

*Julie Beck, director of student activities at Mount Olive College, merengue with Kevin Amory

*Christopher Bitzenhofer, parks and recreation director for the Town of Mount Olive, mambo with Nicole Futrell

*Will Bland, attorney with Bland, Heekin, Smith, Strickland and Stanley, cha cha with Anastasiya Trofymchuk

*Julie Daniels, financial advisor with Sterne Agee & Leach Inc, cha cha with Carl Williams

*Dee Dee Doherty, wife of Col. Patrick Doherty of SJAFB, fox trot with Allen Grimes

*Lori Dubose, membership director for Goldsboro Family Y, quickstep with Marty Barbour

*Jimmie Ford, former legislator and county commissioner, bop with Joy Williams

*Jeff Godbey, general manager of Sam's Club, rhumba with Beverly Carroll

*Dr. Anthony Hamm, owner of Hamm Chiropractic, fox trot with Alice Adams

*Shirley Harkey, vice president patient services at Wayne Memorial Hospital, mambo with Norman Hooker

*Joanna Helms, president of Wayne County Economic Development Alliance, waltz with Thomas Price

*Sue Hood Hill, teacher at Grantham School, dancing the swing with Allen Grimes

*Brenda Hollidaynurse at Mount Olive Family Medical Center, dancing the shag with Carl Williams

*Joe Huffman, Goldsboro city manager, swing with Dawn Amory

*Debbie Jones, customer service manager with Mt. Olive Pickle Company, disco with Norman Hooker

*Steve Keen, county commissioner, cha cha with Ella Mae Hooker

*Tommy King, vice president of Crown Screening, rock and roll with Sue Gregg

*Patti Mitchell, regional employment specialist for Vocational Rehabilitation, rhumba with Marty Barbour

*Dr. Gina Pittard, physician at Cherry Hospital, jitterbug with Thomas Price

*John Seegars of Seegars Fence Company, tango with JoAnn Barbour

*Curtis Stackhouse, assistant district attorney, bolero with Ella Mae Hooker

*Lou Stubbs, teacher at O'Berry Neuro-Medical Treatment Center, fox trot with Kevin Amory

*Dr. Steve Taylor, superintendent of Wayne County Public Schools, waltz with Forrest Melvin

*Dr. Michael Willman, eye surgeon with Waynesborough Ophthalmology, rock and roll with Teghan Bland

*Dr. Ed Wilson, retired president of Wayne Community College, waltz with Shirley Hughes.