Dancing with Vero’s Stars was held Saturday evening, May 14 at Riverside Theatre to the sounds of thunderous applause, boisterous hoorays and raucous laughter inside the 655 seat sold-out Theatre throughout the four-hour evening of festivities and entertainment.


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


Presented by local non-profit, Indian River County Healthy Start Coalition, the event was emceed for the 8th year by broadcasting veteran Hamp Elliott and judged by a new panel of performance experts including Judy Cornell, Dee Rose-Imbro and Chris Foster, each accomplished dancers in their own right, along with tabulator/accountant Ross Cotherman of Rehmann. The Red Carpet extravaganza, which set the stage for an evening of unparelled class and utter excitement, was emceed by Radio Talk Show host Geoff Moore. Riverside Theatre flawlessly handled all production aspects of this Broadway-style show where the end resulted in a colorful confetti and streamer display with the announcement of money earned, an impressive total of $297,810.  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, President of the Board of Directors, as well as Co-Chairs of the event Karen Franke and Adam Chrzan. “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, Parents as Teachers, Momcare and Neighborhood Outreach Groups for mothers and fathers of our young children.”


The Mirror Ball trophy went to Nicki Maslin and her dancing partner George Go, a new dance instructor to the competition. Bob Brunjes with instructor Beth Shestak took the Second Runner-up spot while Cindy O’Dare with partner Joe Wynes shined on the dance floor as the First Runner-up as well holding the designation of the Highest On-line Donations winner, receiving a pair of tickets to Riverside Theatres’ 2017 season.  Additionally, O’Dare received the Top Fundraising honor, earning $75,568.00 for the Healthy Start Coalition, surpassing Dr. Alan Durkin’s top fundraising total of $67,000 earned in 2014.  The Best Dancer honor went to Steve Rennick who’s Tango with partner Karren Walter won them a score of 30, the highest of the evening. The other star dancing couples who graced the stage with elegance, striking form, poses and agility were Shelley Adelle with Instructor Laconte Turner; Dana Baker with Instructor Robert Scott; Denise Pieczynski with Instructor Craig Galvin; Jay Ganzi with Instructor Shari Tessier; Marc McCain with Instructor Anya Christina and Paul Tripaldi with Instructor Marianella Tobar.


The selection process for the 2017 Star Dancers and Instructors will take place 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.