Eric Marsh and Tracy Tedesco win Fan Favorite; Brent Godnick and Sam Ho win Judges’ Choice
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RUTLAND — Every seat at the Paramount Theatre was taken Saturday night, Oct. 11, as seven couples performed entertaining dance routines to raise money for Kids on the Move pediatric programs of the Rutland Area Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice (RAVNAH). Ticket sales, combined with sponsorships over the past four years since the fundraiser began have raised about $100,000, Carrie Allen, fundraising committee chair for Kids On The Move, told the audience Saturday.
The event is modeled closely after the national television program “Dancing with the Stars”: An introduction video with interviews and bloopers from each couple’s practices over the past four months of rehearsal was shown before each routine, judges critiqued how well the “stars” executed the dance moves, and mirror ball trophies were awarded to the Fan Favorite (determined by text voting) and the Judges’ Choice.
Every couple that emerged from behind the curtain after their routine wore big smiles, satisfied with their performance and glad the hard work had paid off. Comments and critiques from the “celebrity” judges ranged from technical to off-the-wall commentating. This year, Bruce Bouchard executive director of the Paramount Theatre, Mary Powell, CEO of Green Mountain Power, and Rob McClellan an attorney with McClellan & Associates, judged each dance. Additionally, couples answered questions from the Masters of Ceremony, which included , Eric Mallette, of the Paramount Theatre, Terry Jaye, of WJJR, and Michael Valentine, of PEGTV.
Each dance routine was unique in style, up-beat and fun, garnering many loud cheers from the audience.
First to perform were Chris Kiernan (dance professional, a lifelong dancer) and Shana Louiselle (Communications Coordinator External Affairs at Velco). Their routine featured swing dancing moves with complicated lifts to the song “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody.”
Kristen Chapman (dance professional at Just Dance) and Rob Bliss (Assistant Superintendent of Rutland City Public Schools) followed with a tap dance routine. One of the most memorable elements was when Bliss, dressed up as a rocker from AC/DC, showed off his footwork by doing quick touches on top of a soccer ball before kicking it into the crowd.
Third on deck was William Kelley (dance professional from Pyramid Wellness) and Polly Lynn (editor and co-publisher of The Mountain Times). They danced to a ’90s-inspired compilation of 13 songs, featuring many humorous moments as the two vied for stage presence. It was incredibly fast-paced, the judges noted, but “you didn’t miss a beat,” said judge Powell after their performance.
“You moved faster than a frog in a blender,” added Bouchard.
Tracy Tedesco (dance professional from Fitness Made Fun) and Eric Marsh, M.D. (Orthopaedic Surgeon at Vermont Orthopaedic Clinic) followed with their own medley, which featured spins, lifts (including one where Marsh flipped over Tedesco!) and even a split.
Fifth on stage was Jill Corey (dance professional from Miss Lorraine’s School of Dance) who danced with Rutland Sheriff Stephen P. Benard. Their performance, entitled “Danger Zone”, played off popular scenes from the movie “Top Gun”.
Next Sam Ho (dance professional from Cobra Gymnastics) and Brent Godnick (owner of Godnicks Grand Furniture) entertained the crowd with a “sexy dance.” In the video interview prior to their performance, Ho explained “one of the hardest parts in the beginning was for him to understand that my boyfriend was not here to beat him up.” The dance featured many sensual moves with their bodies intertwined.
The seventh to perform, the final couple of the night, was Ana Araguas (dance professional from Just Dance) and Elias Hajj (owner of Hannoush Jewelers). They did a well choreographed dance to “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.” Their smiles on stage were contagious.
After all the dance performances were complete, Carrie Allen dismissed the judges to deliberate on their decision and the audience was treated to a short movie about the Kids on the Move program. It showed kids with threatening or rare conditions in the Rutland area receiving the care they require in their homes by qualified health care professionals.
In addition to the large sum of money raised during this even for the continuation of such programs, it also raises awareness for the need of such programs, Allen explained.
The award ceremony followed with two couples receiving Mirror Ball trophies. The first award went to the Fan Favorite. The winning couple was Eric Marsh and Tracy Tedesco. The Judges’ Choice Award followed and was awarded to Brent Godnick and Sam Ho.
Cast, crew and committee members all congratulated them on the well-deserved honors and then joined family and friends to celebrate the success of the event at an after-party at Roots.
By Polly Lynn