After weeks of preparation, rehearsals and anxiety, Wrentham's Dancing Stars finally unveiled their best moves before a packed and enthusiastic crowd at Lake Pearl Luciano's. The dance competition and fundraiser, held Friday night, was a rousing success raising well over $50,000 for six local charities and providing a night of music, dance and laughs for those in attendance.
In addition to the fundraising element to the night, the event was designed to identify the best dancer. That distinction was earned by Manny Barros and his professional partner Meaghan McHale, the owner of Dance and Beyond in Wrentham. Their Michael Jackson inspired freestyle performance earned the highest votes from the three judges; State Senator Richard Ross, Tavern at Wrentham owner Doug Smith, and Loral Sims, owner of Loral Sims School of Dance in Plainville.
The other brave stars enthusiastically hit the dance floor and delivered as well. They included; Judi Miller, who did her best Olivia Newton John for the William A. Rice Recreation Complex; Marci Odams gracefully gliding for Friends of Wrentham, a charity benefitting the residents of the Wrentham Developmental Center; Leanne Smith brought the heat of Miami to support the Holly Club; Barros's winning performance was for Random Smile Project; JR McDonald showed his wild side for Wrentham Lions; and Jeff Marsden twisted the night away for Wrentham Elementary School Trust (WEST).
McDonald won the People's Choice award for raising the most money for his charity. All the dancers and their partners received flowers and wine. Between performances, videos were shown informing the crowd of the different charities and providing a little more information about each dancer. The three judges provided positive feedback on the performances while 98.5 Sports Hub talk show host Scott Zolak kept the night moving as the emcee.
The Stars -- instructed by professionals from Dance & Beyond, Savaria Dance Studio, and Showcase Dance Productions -- only had 10 rehearsals to perfect their routines. The instructors included McHale, Petr Dubovsky, Ashlee Bourque, Jillian Wojnowski, Jan Ondrias, and Lewis Inman. The event was broadcast live on Cable 8.
All the dancers should be commended for their tremendous effort and, while Barros and McDonald walked away victorious, one clear cut winner did emerge last night --The Town of Wrentham. With the addition of Wrentham Community Events -- the masterminds behind the Dancing with the Wrentham Stars -- the community as a whole is the biggest winner having a new vehicle to help local charities raise much needed money. Moreover, Dancing with the Wrentham Stars provided a night to come together, share laughs, help one another, and remind ourselves Wrentham is a special place to call home.
More pictures from the night are available in Dancing with the Wrentham Stars 2013 photo album.