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Dancing With the Stars For a Cause

Co-News Editor

Published: Sunday, December 8, 2013

Updated: Sunday, December 8, 2013 16:12

   The Holy Cross Ballroom Dance Team provided students with a great way to take a break from the mounds of work piling up near final exams by putting on its annual Dancing With the Stars competition on December 2nd. The event took place in the Hogan Ballroom.  Members of the Holy Cross Community gathered into the ballroom to support and cheer on the dancers and contestants.  
   The hosts of the evening were Megan Whitacre, ‘14 and Dan Bullock, ‘14, co-captains of the Ballroom Dance Team.  They announced that all of the donations from attendees, as well as the proceeds from the raffle, would go to the winning team’s charity of choice.  Each team pre-selected a charity or organization to donate money to.  Judges Gary Jacobik, Patricia Connolly, and Kallen Bakas selected the top three couples, and then the winner was determined by whomever the audience cheered loudest for.  
   The event, broken up into three sections, opened with five dances.  Team member Megan Demit chose Christian Brooks to swing and jive, dubbing the term swive.  The judges agreed that Megan gave Christian a difficult routine, but the pair were still excellent and entertaining.  The charity they were dancing for was the Shepherd Center.

   The second pair’s “fancy footwork” blew the judges away.  Star Tim Dunn performed a fun Cha Cha routine with team member Taylor Silva.  The charity this pair danced for was Charlie’s Angels.

   Seniors Andrew Retallick and partner Abby Hynes-Houston stunned both the judges and the crowd with their Foxtrot mash-up.  “That is one of the best routines I have ever seen in my years at Holy Cross,” commented one judge.  The charity of their choice was The Wounded Warrior Project.  
   Team Member Nick Athanasidy choreographed a swing routine to perform with his star, Sandra Van Den Heuvel.  The judges concurred how wonderfully they kept the rhythm, as well as adding in a few lifts.  The two danced for the Dismas Family Farm.  
   The closing dance of the first half left the audience on a sultry note.  Assistant Director of Residence Life and Housing Chuck Stanley rangoed, a mixture of rumba and tango, with Sophia Jin.  The pair brought sexual tension to the room.  “Be careful with the girl with the bat,” stated one of the judges.  The couple’s charity to donate to was UNICEF’s Emergency Response to Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan.

   After a brief intermission, member Stephanie Haddad and partner Connor Dilworth brought the audience into the second half on an energetic and upbeat vibe.  The judges agreed that their cha-cha superbly played with the lyrics of their music.  Stephanie and Connor danced for The American Autoimmune Diseases Association.

   Following this upbeat cha-cha was a lively jive.  Erin Hillis choreographed a 50s styled dance for Byron Udegbe.  The judges were especially pleased with their choice of traditional attire.  They jived for the Elizabeth Glasier Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

   Team member Allie Gitto and star Gary Acquah followed suit wowing the entire ballroom.  They executed a perfect suicide drop move, noticed by both the judges and audience.  “That dance is the definition of a tango,” applauded one judge.  The two supported the Red Cross for the Typhoon in the Philippines.

   Last, but certainly not least, Rob Chevalier and partner Lab Organizer KT Kennedy performed their swing for the Special Olympics Massachusetts, West Section Greater Springfield Area.  Their strong performance and Christmas-inspired theme finished off the competition on a high note.  The judges went in for deliberation afterwards.

   Throughout the breaks, senior partners of the Ballroom Dance Team performed showcases.  Megan Whitacre and Andrew Retallick danced to a Viennese Waltz and a Swing.  Allie Gitto and Dan Bullock choreographed a Tango and Cha Cha.  Raffles and donations were accepted during the breaks, especially while audience members gathered for free hot chocolate.  Finally, the judges brought back their three top choices.

   The audience cheered and cheered for their favorites.  At the end of the night, Alli Gitto and Gary Acquah danced their way to third place.  Stephanie Haddad and Connor Dilworth finished in second.  The first place couple was, as the entire ballroom could tell from the moment they started to dance, Andrew Retallick and Abby Hynes-Houston.  The proceeds from the entire event went to the couple’s charity, The Wounded Warriors.


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