Two women took home the trophies at the 15th annual Dancing With Our Stars, held Sept. 8 in a sold-out Robinson Center Ballroom as a fundraiser for the Children's Tumor Foundation.
Dawn Jones was named champion, and Penny Burkhalter was named Best Performance winner, standing out among a field of contestants that also consisted of Nick Bradley-Hole, consultant and former director of rooms for the Capital Hotel; Stephanie Keet, president of marketing for JTJ Restaurants LLC, dancing with instructor Mike Nelson; lawyer and Bark Bar co-owner Dan Roda, dancing with instructor Savannah Boyce; and Datamax Inc. President Barry Simon, dancing with instructor Maddie Arancibia.
As usual, the evening, which included a cocktail reception, gourmet dinner and frequent cheers from supporting audience members, featured a diverse selection of music and dance styles. Jones, who cut an elegant rug with instructor Edgar Hall, models jewelry for Sissy's Log Cabin; Burkhalter, who performed with instructor Matt Boyce and wowed the crowd with her tap-dancing skills, is a spokeswoman for Gwatney Buick GMC in North Little Rock.
A special highlight was Bradley-Hole's performance with his instructor, Allison Stodola Wilson ... the two were both done up as glitzy, all-white-clad 1920s flappers.
Past winners Alisha Curtis, Anne Preston and Daniel Robinson served as masters of ceremonies. Judges Rachel Parker Harding, Bill Vickery and Dr. Anne Trussell Brooks kept up the fine tradition of humorous commentary after each performance.
The event raised nearly $300,000 for people living with neurofibromatosis (NF), a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body.
-- Story and photos by Helaine R. Williams