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DANCING THE NIGHT AWAY: Dancing with Our Stars benefit in Little Rock funds NF research

by Helaine Williams | September 17, 2023 at 2:11 a.m.
Benard cq and Sadie Mitchell, Lillian Carter, Dr. Michelle and Jerode cq Dickerson, and Noah Carter at the Children's Tumor Foundation's 16th at Dancing With Our Stars, held Sept. 7 in the Wally Allen Ballroom, Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Helaine R. Williams)

Burt Hicks took home the Mirror Ball Trophy as champion of the 16th Annual Dancing with Our Stars, benefiting the Children's Tumor Foundation. Held Sept. 7, the contest took place in the Statehouse Convention Center's Wally Allen Ballroom in Little Rock. The Children's Tumor foundation is dedicated to research and a cure for the genetic disorder neurofibromatosis (NF).

Luke O'Gary of Keet O'Gary Construction won the Best Performance trophy, dancing with instructor Savannah Halter in an energetic performance whose soundtrack was a medley of songs.

Alisha Curtis, Daniel Robinson, Anne Preston and Julie Mullenix were program emcees; Mullenix and her husband, Ted Mullenix, also co-chaired the event. Judges for the evening were Dawn Jones, Rush Harding and Amber Manney, along with a sextet of young NF Ambassadors.

Dancing with instructor Maddie Arancibia to "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," Hicks -- president and chief strategy and growth officer for Encore Bank -- welcomed his young daughter onstage to dance during his performance finale. The upbeat event featured a couple of wardrobe and mood changes among the performances of its star dancers, who also consisted of Nathan Kirby, owner of Rock City MMA, dancing with instructor Allison Stodola Wilson; entrepreneur Gina Radke with instructor Alex Hall; Tanya James, a senior vice president at Arvest Bank, with instructor Edgar Hall (father of Alex); and philanthropist Cat Sims with instructor Keri Fishburn.

The evening was enhanced by a video tribute to past Stars (who also received nods via table-decor photographs); a video featuring remarks from those living with NF; and a surprise tribute to Lesley Oslica, Children's Tumor Foundation Arkansas leader.

Dancing With Our Stars raised "over $322,000 and counting," according to a post-event email from the foundation.

-- Story and photos by Helaine R. Williams

Print Headline: On the dance floor


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