Dancing for the Arts returns after Covid break | Local News
The couple who beat out the competition in this year’s Dancing for the Arts competition on Saturday were Joyce Staples and Josh Bires-Grodensky. The winning duo’s beautiful performance of their assigned and featured dance blew the audience away and earned them the top score.
Since the start of the pandemic in 2019, the tradition of this dance competition has been put on hold. The couples have resumed preparations for the fifth annual pageant in the fall of 2021.
“These volunteer dancers are community leaders,” said Heidi Pinkston, Executive Director of Piedmont Arts.
The pageant featured eight competing couples who put in long hours of practice to help raise funds to support Piedmont arts programming in Martinsville and Henry County.
The judges for this year’s event were Aji Dixon, Pedro Szalay and Samantha Mahoney.
Jennifer Bowles and Justin Chandler danced the swing dance, a fast dance filled with lots of swings and bounces, as their assigned dance and featured dance was a multi-song compilation.
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Bowles wore a black flapper dress with gold accents and Chandler wore a white shirt with suspenders and black pants.
The audience roared cheers at a bold yet loud dance move as they finished their dance.
One judge said it “felt like being in a 1920s speakeasy” and they received a nine from three judges.
The duo was formed for the competition by Stacey Davis.
Rebecca Crabtree and Gerald Kidd performed the Paso Doble, a full-step Spanish dance, as their assigned dance and for their featured dance they chose the song “Thriller” by Michael Jackson.
Crabtree wore a long black and red shirt with a black long-sleeved top, and Kidd wore what looked like a traditional bullfighting costume.
The audience cheered throughout the performance and got even louder as they finished their dance.
One judge said their “foot accuracy was on point” and all three judges gave them a 10.
Their dance coach was Jane Leizer.
Kathy Deacon and Jim Wilson were given the Waltz, an elegant ballroom dance, as their first dance, then chose to dance to Lionel Richie’s “Dancing on the Ceiling” for their featured dance. Deacon wore a black coat over a shimmering green dress which was revealed midway through the performance with her coat removed. Wilson wore a black suit with a matching bright green waistcoat.
The audience applauded when they finished their dance and the three judges gave them a score of eight.
They were coached by Stacey Davis.
Brooke Holyfield-Quirk and Brian Williams performed Tango, a sensual dance originating in Argentina, as their assigned dance and chose Travis Tritt’s “Honky Tonk” as the song for their featured dance.
Holyfield-Quirk wore a red flower in her hair and a short flowing black dress. Williams was dressed in a bright red button-up shirt with black suspenders and pants.
The audience gasped as Williams dunked his partner spectacularly. The judges said they liked that the dance “was spicy” and all three gave them a score of nine.
They practiced for their dances with Catherine Rodenbough.
Marlana Lackey and Ian Hogg completed the Cha Cha, a fast and seductive dance, as their assigned dance and chose Kaskade’s song “Cold As Stone” for their featured dance.
Lackey was dressed in a multicolored flowing dress and Hogg, a black shirt and pants with bright rainbow suspenders, a hat and a bow tie.
The audience gasped as Hogg dramatically dropped his hat from the stage and the judges commented that they had “nice chemistry” and gave the couple an eight down the line.
Stacey Davis was in charge of their dance coaching.
Demi Chapman and Hasan Davis danced the Quick Step, an elegant and glamorous dance, as their assigned dance, then chose to dance to Bruno Mars’ song “Finesse” for their featured dance.
Chapman wore a swirling green dress and Davis, a gray shirt and black pants.
The audience almost never stopped clapping and clapping throughout the performance and many stood to applaud at the end. The judges commented that their dancing was just “awesome, awesome, awesome” and each of them gave the dancers a 10.
Their dance coaching was supervised by Catherine Rodenbough.
Joyce Staples and Josh Bires-Grodensky performed salsa, a Latin dance full of flips and turns, as their assigned dance and selected Nelly and Florida Georgia Line’s “Lil Bit” for their featured dance.
Staples was dressed in a sparkling red dress and Bires-Grodensky, a sheer black shirt covered in sparkles and black pants. The audience cheered to the rhythm of the song and clapped frequently.
“I believe the Spanish word is ‘caliente,'” said one of the judges and gave the pair and eight from each judge.
Their dance training was provided by Shannon Hornsby.
Sandy Strayer and Taylor Shank were assigned the foxtrot, a smooth, flowing dance, as their first dance and they chose to dance to “All That Jazz” from the musical “Chicago” for their featured dance.
Strayer wore a long blue dress decorated with sparkles and Shank, a black suit with a matching blue vest. The audience erupted in applause three times during the dance as they performed daring moves where Strayer was flipped and the judges scored the duo a nine down the line.
Their dance coach was Jane Leizer.
All teams finished their featured dances after intermission, when voting was already closed, but their dances were full of character. One even required zombie makeup and outfits and another required cowboy hats and boots.
The winning couple, Staples and Bires-Grodensky, who achieved the highest score through a combination of public votes, as well as online votes and scores from the judges, took home the grand prize of a premiere trophy. square.