photo by Jamie Lucarelli of Old South Weddings
On March 11, 450 people attended the seventh annual Dancing With The ARK’s Stars, raising $80,000 for The ARK, Alzheimer’s Family Support Services, in Summerville. Proceeds from the event support The ARK’s work providing essential services for families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. Serving five counties, The ARK offers respite care, support groups, caregiver consultation, education, resource referrals, community learning programs and rural services development.
Eight local celebrities were paired with professional dancers from Elite Dance International Studio in Mount Pleasant. Couples performed at the event for a chance to win one of two titles: the Judge’s Award or the People’s Choice Award voted on by the audience.
Dr. Roland Fulcher from Lowcountry Orthodontics won the 2017 People’s Choice Mirror Ball Trophy and raised $15,000 for The ARK. This year, two dancers took home the Judges’ Choice Award. Suzanne Morgan from TowneBank Mortgage won for her Tango performance with professional dancer Artur Malakyan. Also wowing the judges was Fulcher for his Foxtrot performance with professional dancer Melody LoDuca.
“It was amazing to see the support of the community for such a great cause,” said Megan Severn, special events coordinator for The ARK. “All our celebrity and professional dancers did fantastic. The celebrity dancers did a great job fundraising and creating awareness about The ARK leading up to the event.”
Key community partners and sponsors have allowed this event to flourish, Severn added. For the seventh year, Pinewood Preparatory School has allowed The ARK to transform its gymnasium into a ballroom. Plus Elite Dance International Studio provides professional dancers, training and rehearsal space for weeks leading up to the event.
The other celebrity dancers were Katie Arrington, vice president of operations at Dispersive Technologies; Rebecca Holtzclaw, cosmetologist/owner of Signori Mani Salon & Day Spa; Skipper Kress, beverage director at Red's Ice House; Billy Penn, captain of the Summerville Fire & Rescue Department; Thomas Taylor, chiropractor at Alignment Specific Chiropractic Clinic and Hannah Wimberly, state trooper with the South Carolina Highway Patrol.
This year’s judges were Matthew Orosz, 2016 celebrity dancer; Nancy Deitch, winner of the 2016 People’s Choice Award; and professional performers Brad and Jennifer Moranz of Moranz Entertainment.