The inaugural “Dancing with the Fredericksburg Stars,” held at the University of Mary Washington on August 17, raised more than $65,000 to endow a UMW Performing Arts in the Community Scholarship for regional students who excel in music, theatre or dance.
An audience of more than 500 watched as nine leaders in the Fredericksburg community performed ballroom dances with professional dancers from Strictly Ballroom Dance Studio of Fredericksburg. A panel of judges provided comments and presented the top awards.
Ellen Killough, chief executive officer with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, earned “Best-in-Show” for her Mambo, performed with Michael Scott, co-owner of Strictly Ballroom. She also received recognition for the “Most Amazing Move.”
Mary Katherine Greenlaw, mayor of the City of Fredericksburg, who danced a QuickStep with Michael Scott, received the People’s Choice Award, given at a Champagne reception following the performances. Greenlaw also received honors for “Fanciest Footwork.”
Despite their long, hard work in preparation for the event, the evening’s celebrities were unanimous in their praise of the event.
“Dancing with the Fredericksburg Stars will certainly go down as one of my best personal experiences ever,” said William B. Young, chief executive officer for Virginia Partners Bank, who received a “Best Costume” award for his performance of the Hustle.
UMW President Richard V. Hurley, who received the “Best Posture” award for his Rumba routine, said the fundraising event will be an annual one. “Everyone thought it was one of the best events Fredericksburg has ever seen,” he said.
Other winners announced by the judges were:
- Melanie Kay-Wyatt, principal of Walker-Grant Middle School, “Most Spirited” for the Salsa
- J. Martin Bass, retired attorney and judge, “Most Entertaining” for the Cha Cha
- Fred M. Rankin III, president and chief executive officer of Mary Washington Healthcare, “Most Rhythmical” for the Swing
- Susan G. Spears, president of the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, “Most Flair” for the Samba
- Richmond McDaniel, senior vice president for C.B. Richard Ellis, “Most Dramatic” for the Tango.
Kevin Bartram, director of the UMW Philharmonic Orchestra, and Penny Wack, a disc jockey at country music radio station Thunder 104.5, hosted the evening. Judges were Dori Eglevsky, community volunteer; Patrick A’Hearn, artistic director of the Riverside Center; and Corey Von Ginkel, member of the National Dance Council of America. Caressa Cameron-Jackson, Miss America 2010, was unable to participate due to deaths in the family.
Lias Biever, director of Donor Services with The Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region, who attended the event, described the evening as “wildly entertaining.”
“I am so impressed by the courage and sheer personality of the local leaders involved,” she said. “The reception was a great party. It was a super event all around.”