The excitement of the Roaring 20s and the lively dance steps of the Charleston gave Melissa Waite and her partner Louie Mori Jr. top honors at Saturday night’s Dancing with the Stars held at the high school’s Elmo Dericco Gym.
The Churchill County High School’s Fallon Swing Dance Teams presented the eighth annual event that pairs a local celebrity with a student.
From the beginning of their routine when they arrived in a car from that swinging era, Waite and Mori wasted no time in having fun with their selection.
Each time the tandem wooed the full house with their routine, thunderous applause awarded their efforts. When they finished their dance, the audience gave them a standing ovation.
“I felt a lot of energy from the crowd, and the synergy from it (the dance),” Waite said after she and Mori learned of the judges’ decision. “I would rate this as a blast. I would dance with Louie again.”
Waite and Mori choreographed their dance.
“That’s the most fun I’ve ever had in dancing in my life,” said Mori, who also performed in last year’s DWTS. “Last year I had a good time, but the dance wasn’t quite as energetic. It didn’t stand out like this year’s.”
The final result, though, gave Mori a sense of relief.
“I almost cried. I was so happy when I heard it (the decision),” he said.
Another lively dance that thoroughly entertained the audience came from the pair of Rochelle Tisdale and her partner Thomas Robertson. They danced a lively Cha Cha number that earned them second place.
A Lindy Hop Swing performed by Andrea Schell and partner Joseph Sorensen contained lively steps and synchronized movement between tem. They finished the night with a third-place finish.
Schell said dancing is hard, but she applauded the dance members for their work and dedication.
“It was a great workout,” she said, pausing for a breath after the competition.
Although their dance was choreographed for them, Schell said she learned the moves that were instructed to her. She also encouraged others to dance.
“I think everyone should have to do something like this,” she said. “It’s for a good cause.”
Three judges and the audience determined the top three winners. Jeffrey Lynn scored dance technique, while Glen Perazzo, who finished second in DWTS in 2010, scored artist showmanship. Last year’s winner, Daniel Anderson, judged the dancers on their star quality.
In a move to add more technology this year, each dancing pair had a number assigned to them. At the end of the DWTS portion, audience members could text their favorite tandem’s number to a special telephone number set up for the performance.
Other contestants who performed included the pairs:
Businessman Matt Louie and his partner, Mallory Goodrick, began the evening’s competition with a Jitterbug.
Banner Churchill Community Hospital CEO Hoyt Skabelund and Emma Thomas electrified the audience with their version of the Cha Cha.
In a battle between this year’s married couple, music teacher Lucas Koenig, in costume as a crustacean, performed the swing with Alison James. Tina Koenig and Pierson Jarvis had a lively rendition of the Lindy Charleston.
Churchill County Sheriff investigator Paul Loop and Tiffany Marshall presented a nice rendition of the Jitterbug Swing complete with a solid 1950s theme.
Real estate owner Cari Norcutt and Eric Sorensen dazzled the crowd with a well-choreographed Tango.
Navy Cmdr. James Christie and his daughter, Madellyn, effortlessly performed a Fox Trot ballet in the last pair’s competition of the night. For the Christies, the performance will be memorable for a lifetime.
“Early on we quickly fell into the routine of practice and rehearsal,” James Christie said. “I felt the connection … this was a real special memory.”
Madellyn Christie said the dance with her father was the highlight of her senior year, ranking it with the Senior Prom.
“Dad, he’s a good learner,” Madellyn said with a laugh. “He picks up, works a lot, he likes it.”
Madellyn Christie said it was her turn to teach her father a life’s lesson.
“He taught me how to change oil in a car. I taught him how to be a dancer. It’s give and take,” she added.
In addition to the celebrity dancers and their partnered, the Fallon Swing Dance teams also performed.
The CCHS Competition Swing Team: “A Sky Full of Stars.”
The Pee Weez: “Just Can’t Wait to be King.”
Starz Team: Hit the Road Jack.”
CCHS Performance Team: “Espani Cani.”
The CCHS Competition Swing Team: “Harry Potter.
The Fallon City Ballet: “I Lived.”
Juniors Team: “I want toe be Like You.”
The CCHS Competition Swing Team: “Can-Can.”
Because of space limitations, photos of the Fallon Swing Dance teams and their dance numbers will be in Friday’s LVN.