April 4, 2014

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Night of Dancing with the Stars Benefits VSU Students, Scholarships

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University will host its third annual Dancing with the Stars of Valdosta on Saturday, April 12, in the Student Union Ballroom. The fun will begin with a social hour at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

Eight couples — one local “star” paired with one local “expert” — will dance for the Audience Favorite Award while simultaneously having fun and raising much-needed funds for music, theatre, and dance scholarships. They were each allowed to choose their own dance style, theme, costumes, music, and have been rehearsing for weeks wherever and whenever they could.

Brooke Butler and Jeff Stewart, Pete Dominicis and Hannah Moore, Jamie McDonell and Bubba Highsmith, Alvaro Leyva and Dacia Charlesworth, Ashley Thompson and Frank Simmons, Ethan Parker and Angela Crance, Josh Barcol and Tammy Eunice, as well as Matty Hogan and Quinn Vallotton, are finally ready to prove that they have all the right moves.    

Eric Nielsen, choreographer, said, “Tickets went extremely fast this year, although we [may] still have some select seats available.”

The inaugural Dancing with the Stars of Valdosta raised about $30,000 total, Nielsen added. After expenses, the Department of Music and the Theatre and Dance Program in the Department of Communication Arts each received about $12,000 for student scholarships. The event raised roughly the same amount during its second year. 

Jacque Wheeler, professor, and Duke Guthrie, associate professor, of the university’s Theatre Area, will serve as emcees.

Dancing with the Stars of Valdosta will kick off with a Parade of Stars from the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Nielsen said that 11 former couples will return, including Walter Hobgood and Jami McDonell, Ashley Thompson and Dr. Charles Hobby, Milli Hunt and Josh Barcol, Carla Penny and Matty Hogan, Donna Farwell and Alvaro Leyva, Hannah Moore and Robert Goddard, Stephanie Blevins and Ethan Parker, Amy Carter and Josh Barcol, Jeani Synard and Ron Zaccari, along with Sarah Arnett and David Dean. John Roan will also return, escorted by his daughter, Jessica Roan, a former professional ballet dancer who studied at Dance Arts in Valdosta.

Dancing with the Stars of Valdosta is a joint effort of VSU’s Music Scholarship Board and Golden Circle Scholarship and Support Fund Board. David Johnson with the VSU Department of Music recruits the “star” dancers, Nielsen provides the “experts,” and Wheeler, Guthrie, and Nielsen help ensure that the evening is unforgettable.

Contact Eric Nielsen at (229) 333-5840 or enielsen@valdosta.edu to learn more.