AP NEWS

Soroptimist’s Dancing with the Stars attracts variety of talent

January 27, 2019 GMT

GERING — Dancers provided an evening of entertainment as they twirled around the dance floor, showing off the talent in the valley.

Nine couples put their best foot forward as they took the dance floor Saturday evening at the fourth annual Dancing with the Stars, hosted by Soroptimist International of Scotts Bluff County.

The couples competed for a technical judges choice and a people’s choice while also supporting the Soroptimist fundraiser. This year’s judges were Amy and Clark Wisniewski, Vicki and Phil Schmitt — who won Dancing with the Stars in 2017, and Julie and Mike Schaff. Each judging couple ranked the performances based on showmanship, choreography, stage presence and content.

“We danced the last two years and we enjoyed it very much,” Phil Schmitt said. “I think one of the things that the dancers will realize is once they get started, it is fun. I hope they enjoy the evening.”

After six weeks of practice, the dancers performed their choreography from a variety of genres from Latin, country and contemporary.

“There was a wonderful variety of dancers and a lot of talent,” judge Julie Schaff said. “We were impressed with everyone.”

Phil Schaff said they looked for creativity in the routine and the dancers abilities to maintain control.

“It’s better to do something that you can do well than to do something out of control,” he said.

With the evening’s performances over, the judges turned in their score cards and selected Cynthia and Dennis Miller as the overall winner.

Following the announcement, Cynthia Miller said the young couples were performing well, so they needed to step up their game. Dennis told her not to because they would hurt themselves.

The Millers are from Lewellen and have been married for 46 years. Their routine was a rumba because they like Latin music and they don’t have many opportunities to dance in that genre. However, when the couple took the dance floor, there was an issue with the music.

“When it came time to dance, they played the wrong song and I said to Dennis, ‘This isn’t our song.’ He asked me, ‘Are you up for a challenge?’ We danced a rumba to a cha cha.”

Second place went to Lisa and Mike Moravec and third place was Mariah and Dakota Webb.

The people’s choice is the couple who raised the most money. People in attendance cast a vote for a couple by placing a $1 or more into an envelope at the table. This year’s winners were Audrey and Raul Garcia.

The couple danced to Shakira’s “Chantage,” which was choreographed by Efrain Martinez. As they opened their routine, Raul’s hands were sweaty, so he missed a connection with his wife and she had to recover.

“I’m glad it’s over,” she said. “I’m glad every body part and my shoes stayed on.”

During their routine the Garcia’s were informed they could bring props, so they had their friends launch confetti onto the dance floor.

“We were the last couple of the evening and we weren’t too concerned about making a mess,” Raul said.

The evening raised $4,394 and benefits local nonprofit organizations and women and girls in the community.

As part of the fundraiser, Soroptimist sold 75 mystery boxes for $25 and raised $1,875 from the proceeds. People won prizes including money, free parking tickets to the Old West Balloon Fest and jewelry.

The event was held at the Gering Civic Center and began with a cash bar at 6 p.m. prior to the dinner and program at 7. Following the contest, everyone in attendance was invited to dance at the after-party.