03/25/12 — Stars come to dance

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Stars come to dance

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on March 25, 2012 1:50 AM

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Joy Williams, left, and Jimmie Edmundson, wearing the mask from the movie "The Mask," dance a merengue Saturday at Dancing Stars of Wayne County.

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Allen Grimes, left, dances the tango with Kim LaFevers Saturday at Dancing Stars of Wayne County.

Kim LaFevers strode onto the dance floor Saturday night, confidently draping a red feather boa around her husband, Dr. Scott LaFevers' neck before summoning partner Allen Grimes to perform a tango to "Whatever Lola Wants."

Their sultry rendition captivated the audience and drew the top scores of the first half of the program, with all 9s for technical routine and performance.

Mrs. LaFevers admitted afterward that her only previous experience had been a few sparse lessons as a young child.

Since December, though, the duo has practiced at a fever pitch in anticipation of the second annual Dancing Stars of Wayne County. Twenty-three participants took part in this year's fundraiser for education projects through the Wayne Education Network.

She went on to capture two awards in the festivities -- female outstanding performance and best technical female performance.

Grand award winner, though, was Dr. Sandra McCullen, associate superintendent for Wayne County Public Schools and a county commissioner. She was also the people's choice winner.

Held at the Family YMCA, the gymnasium was transformed into a ballroom. Five hundred tickets were sold to the event, with winners determined by the judges, the audience and online voting.

"It was probably five times more work just because we changed the venue and we had to do quite a bit of decorating," said Dr. Debbie Grady, event organizer and one of the instructors.

Dr. Charles Zwerling, owner of Top Hat Studio, shared executive producing duties with his wife, Melissa, who was also a judge.

Beyond just a dance, though, each entry was performed like a mini-play.

Board of Education member Arnold Flowers and his partner, Heather Bradshaw, portrayed "I Dream of Jeannie" characters, while Leonard Person, a foreman at Tri-County Electric Membership Corporation, did his impression of "Elvis," accompanied by Jenny Grady.

And then there was Jimmie Edmundson, senior vice president of BB&T, who performed the merengue with Joy Williams while wearing a bright green mask featured in the movie, "Mask."

"We did not show anybody until tonight," Mrs. Williams said. "Nobody knew he was going to wear it. It was a total surprise."

Technical difficulties with the duo's music stalled the event momentarily, but Mrs. Williams said they were determined to finish the routine even if they had to do so without music, since her partner had practiced so hard.

Some even incorporated two dance styles into their routines. John Collins, president and financial consultant of Collins Wealth Management, and partner Debbie Grady, segued from a foxtrot into a swing for "Proud Mary," while attorney Geoff Hulse embodied Fred Astaire in his tap and quick step routine with Lori DuBose. The latter earned all 8s for technical routine and all 9s for performance, the evening's first high marks.

"We had a great time," Hulse said afterward. "Lori's awesome. She was my coach, my fan and mended my broken will a couple times."

Col. Anne Winkler performed a salsa with Manny Chumiso, prompting emcee Craig Doubt to ask if she'd practiced in uniform.

"It's hard to dance in combat boots," she quipped.

Tammy Yates, director of competitive aquatics at the YMCA, was partnered with Bubba Williams for a rumba.

"I was a little nervous at first because it's so different from my everyday but I have really enjoyed the process, learning how to dance and putting the dance together."

Wayne County Dancing Stars winners:

2012 Grand Winner -- Dr. Sandra McCullen

Judges' Choice Award -- Phillip Johnston

Online People's Choice Award -- Alan Lumpkin

Event Night People's Choice Award  -- Dr. Sandra McCullen

Female Outstanding Performance -- Kim LaFevers

Male Outstanding Performance -- Phillip Johnston

Best Technical Male Performance -- Phillip Johnston

Best Technical Female Performance -- Kim LaFevers

Most Inspirational Performance, voted by stars -- Kathy Jones

Most Improved Male Dancer, voted by instructors -- Leonard Person

Most Improved Female Dancer, voted by instructors -- Kathy Jones

Two additional awards were also announced. Heritage Foundation scholarships were given to each of the student participants in the event, Allen Grimes, Jenny Grady, Macenzie Malham, Miss Goldsboro, Blair Mozingo and Miss North Carolina, Hailey Best.

The Norman and Ella Mae Hooker Dance Student of Excellence Award, a $500 dance scholarship in honor of the dance instructors, allowing a participant to take individual and group lessons with the Hookers at Top Hat Studio. This was a tie between husband-and-wife participants Arnold and Gloria Flowers.