Night of Dancing with the Stars to Benefit VSU Scholarships

April 4, 2012

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Night of Dancing with the Stars to Benefit VSU Scholarships

VALDOSTA --Valdosta State University will host Dancing with the Stars of Valdosta on Saturday, April 14.

Held in the VSU Student Union Grand Ballroom, Dancing with the Stars of Valdosta will feature nine couples, one local “star” paired with one local “expert,” all vying for the Audience Favorite Award while simultaneously raising funds for music, theatre, and dance scholarships.

Competing will be Ashley Thompson and Eric Nielsen doing the Tango, Sue Cox and Tim Olivar doing the West Coast Swing, Emil Girardin and Brooke Butler doing the Jive, Walter Hobgood and Jami McDonell doing the Swing, Dr. Mili Hunt and Willis Lopez doing the Merengue, Sharon Morris and Caleb Spivey doing the Cha-Cha, Carla Penny and Chance Wall doing the Swing, Dr. John Roan and Shelley Paddock doing the Foxtrot, and Dr. Ronald Zaccari and Jeani Synyard doing the Jive.

Jacque Wheeler, professor, and Duke Guthrie, associate professor, both from VSU’s Department of Communication Arts, will serve as emcees.

Competing couples receive votes for each admission ticket they sale. Also, audience members are asked to bring cash to use when “voting” for their favorite couples. All proceeds will benefit music, theatre, and dance scholarships for VSU students.

Tickets for Dancing with the Stars of Valdosta are $75 per person. Tables of eight can be purchased. As of Wednesday, only a few seats remained available. The social hour will begin at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. The competition will begin with a group Waltz choreographed by Nielsen.

A shuttle service will be provided from the Oak Street parking lot to the Student Union. The floor will open later in the evening for audience members to dance, with music provided by the VSU Department of Music’s Jazz Combo.

Dress is black tie optional.

“The couples were allowed to pick their own style of dance, their own costumes, their own theme,” said Nielsen, VSU’s Dance Program coordinator. “I have heard some rumors about costumes, but I have not seen anything.”

Nielsen said the couples have been rehearsing when they can and wherever they can for several weeks.

“This is all in good fun, a way for us to raise some money for scholarships,” he added. “I told all of the couples that they are to have fun with this. We are very excited.”

Dancing with the Stars of Valdosta, Nielsen said, will likely become a regular fundraiser benefitting music, theatre, and dance scholarships.

To reserve seats, please contact Jeani Synyard by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 10, at (229) 244-3036 or