Dancing with the Valley’s celebs benefits Actors Guild

PARKERSBURG – A group of local “celebrities” and “dance pros” will compete as couples in the second annual “A Night of Dancing with the Stars” Saturday at the Parkersburg Art Center at Eighth and Market streets.

The Parkersburg Actors Guild began the competition last year as a fundraiser for its programs.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and dancing starts at 7 p.m. at the art center. There will be open dancing after the competition and light hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Tickets are $25 each or $40 for couples. Tickets are available on the guild website at www.actorsguildonline.org and voting has been open at the website since Feb. 9.

“The Actors Guild of Parkersburg thrives because of the support of our community,” said event organizer Robin White. “‘A Night of Dancing With the Stars’ is an opportunity to utilize the talents of some of our community members to help raise money for the guild. Area ‘celebrities’ from the community have graciously agreed to help us do this while having a little fun in the process. We have paired up our celebrities with some of the area’s best dancers and choreographers – many of whom are already celebrities in their own right – to perform exciting routines that will bring the crowd to their feet,” he said.

The participating couples include:

Shannon Houser (WTAP) and J.T Spivy

Mark Lewis (Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau) and Mollie Lair (WTAP)

Toni Holbrook (Brickhouse Cardio) and Kyle Smart

Abby Hayhurst (Parkersburg Art Center) and Bill Snider

Mayor Bob Newell (Parkersburg Mayor) and Morgan Heflin

Dr. Michelle Lynch-Bowling (Wayne Dunn and Associates) and Bob Heflin

Joe Oliverio (Wood County Schools) and Alyssa Oliverio

The judges for Saturday’s competition are Mark Lanyon, Brian Turrill and last year’s celebrity champion Reinnie Leavitt. White said patrons may donate to their favorite celebrities on the night of the event and the final champions will be crowned through a combined total of their donations and their judge’s scores. A “People’s Choice” award will also be given out which is a “free” vote by those attending the event.

Holbrook and Smart are one of the couples competing in Saturday’s event. This will be their first time in the competition.

Holbrook said she learned about the event through a friend. She has been taking ballroom dance lessons through the Tempo Dance Club and thought it might be interesting to try. She asked Smart to be her partner and they’ve been rehearsing about three times a week for the last month.

Holbrook and Smart will be dancing the Cha Cha and while Holbrook has been learning the dance through her ballroom classes, this is Smart’s first introduction to it. However, he said he has enjoyed the experience.

“It’s been fun – kind of hard, but fun – getting ready for the competition,” he said.

“Putting all of the choreography together ourselves is challenging,” Holbrook said.