04/21/13 — Dancing Stars raise money for schools

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Dancing Stars raise money for schools

By John Joyce
Published in News on April 21, 2013 1:50 AM

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Howard Whitfield donned his top hat and tuxedo to perform a number to "Putting on the Ritz". He was backed by the Goldsboro School of Ballet's Amelia Marriner, Danielle Sellers and Meagan Sutton.

The red carpet was rolled out onto Center Street Friday night.

It was overcast, but the stars were out at the Paramount Theatre, doing their best soft shoe, cancan and cabaret to raise money for education.

The Dancing Stars of Wayne County Battle of the Studios charity event was a smash hit for the third year in a row. Assistant District Attorney Terry Light stole the show earning enough votes to edge out Charles B. Aycock principal Dr. Earl Moore, the long-time front-runner.

Geoff Hulse was master of ceremonies for the affair, which was organized by the Wayne Education Network and the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce. Proceeds from the event -- and money raised by the dancers -- will be used for a grant program for Wayne County teachers for special programs for their classrooms.

Commentators and judges District Attorney Branny Vickory and Bill Johnston, of Curtis Media, were like cantakerous critics Statler and Waldorf from "The Muppet Show," but were perched opposite one-another high in the balconies above the stage. They still traded barbs and shared snide remarks, but were paired with more gentile commentators and fellow judges Kate Daniels and Holly Harper.

The performances were complete with costumes and set designs that looked as though they belonged in an off-Broadway show. Each of the stars danced to their own tune with a supporting cast of students from their respective dance studios.

Highlights of the night included Dr. Earl Moore's rendition of Michael Jackson's "Thriller," for which he won the Judges Choice Award.

Matilda Faircloth, of Re/Max Realty Corp. took the Judges Choice for Best Technical Performance for her well-executed and lively "Bollywood" number that energized the packed house.

"I feel magnificent," she said. "This is such a wonderful thing to be a part of."

The final number, which was awarded the Judges Choice for Best Presentation, belonged to kindergarten teacher Donna Underwood. Her troupe from Step of Class dance studio performed to "Go."

And the News-Argus' own education reporter Phyllis Moore, who came in fifth in the voting, was purrrrfect in her performance of "Macavity," a number from the Broadway musical "Cats."

Beverly Carroll, interim president of the Chamber of Commerce, helped orchestrate the evening with chamber marketing and events director Lara Landers.

"I'm so excited. This is beyond anything," Ms. Carroll said.

She said although the other years' events were good, this one was special, especially with the addition of the student dancers.

Ms. Landers echoed Ms. Carroll's sentiments.

"It was great to have the kids on stage," she said. "It is, after all, about them, and they did a positively great job."

Artistic Dance won the Battle of the Studios, but the most applause came with the announcement of the overall winner, Terry Light.

"I've come away with so many new friends," Ms. Light said. "And this is why we're here. It highlights that Goldsboro is an excellent community."