Dancing with Vero’s Stars was held Saturday evening, May 9 at Riverside Theatre with the sounds of thunderous applause, boisterous hoorays and raucous laughter inside the sold-out Theatre throughout the almost three hour show.

Ten local “star” dancers, matched with ten local dance instructors, dressed in tinsel and glitter, and danced with joy and pride as they performed Swing, Cha Cha, Tango, Contemporary and more twists and turns than one could have imagined on the Riverside Stage.

Emceed for the 7th year by broadcasting veteran Hamp Elliott, judged by a new panel of performance experts including Peter Pover, Dee Rose-Imbro and Jennifer Patty, and tabulated by newcomer Ross Cotherman of Rehmann, the 650 ticket holders were treated to an evening of unparalleled entertainment presented by local non-profit, Indian River County Healthy Start Coalition. Riverside Theatre flawlessly handled all production aspects of this Broadway-style show where the end result totaled a whopping $322K surpassing the planning committee’s goals and last year’s total of $308K.  Proceeds, for the IRC Healthy Start Coalition, whose mission is to guarantee all Indian River County women access to prenatal care and all infants’ access to services that promote normal growth and development will go to programs and services for the Agency as well as for their community partner, Riverside Theatre.

“We are so grateful and humbled by the contributions of this year’s Dancing with Vero’s Stars dancers and instructors,” commented Kathie Cain, the Executive Director of the Healthy Start Coalition and Dr. Glenn Tremml and Brenda Lloyd, Chairman and Secretary (respectively)of the Board of Directors Secretary and Co-Chairs of this year’s event. “The Healthy Start Coalition believes in value for the dollar. Therefore we will apply the monies raised to deliver the greatest impact for servicing our pregnant women, infants and young children and our county. Our local programs receiving funds are: Healthy Start Care Coordination, Healthy Families, TLC Newborn, Belly Beautiful, Momcare and Neighborhood Outreach Groups for mothers and fathers of our young children.”

The Mirror Ball trophy went to Karen Franke of Treasure & Space Coast Radio and her dancing partner Joe Tessier of the 14th Avenue Dance studio. First runners-up were Jackie Savell and Royal Ballroom’s Oleg Dimitrov; 2nd runners-up were Andy White of Northern Trust and multi- time winner dance instructor Karren Walter.  Highest Fundraiser was Karen Franke with a total of $50,800 and Deb Polackwich (with dance instructor Barry Trammell) was the single highest on-line donation winner .  The Best Dancer category was a four-way tie with each couple getting a perfect score of 30.  Those honors went to Karen Franke and Joe Tessier, Jan Mason Cilento and Robert Scott, Eric Flowers and Beth Shestak and Tom Lowther and Amy Trammell.  The other star dancing couples included Susie O’Toole-Evans, M.D and Joe Wynes, Bobby Sexton and Marianella Tobar, Lee Olsen and Shari Tessier

The selection process for the 2016 Star Dancers and Instructors will begin over the summer. Interested parties should contact Cheri at the IRC Healthy Start Coalition, 772-563-9118 to have their name placed on the prospective list.

Grand Winners

Karen Franke and Joe Tessier


Top Three winners

Grand Winners-Karen Franke and Joe Tessier

First Runners-up-Jackie Savell and Oleg Dimitrov

2nd Runners up-Andy White and Karren Walter


Best Dancers

Tom Lowther and Amy Trammel

Eric Flowers and Beth Shestak

Karen Franke and Joe Tessier

Jan Mason Cilento and Robert Scott