DWOS is heating up

Published 12:39 am Thursday, July 14, 2011

Despite the melting mid-summer heat, dance teams are working feverishly to prepare for next month’s Dancing With OUR Stars.

This annual fundraiser supports Eagle’s Wings, a nonprofit Washington food pantry that helps feed hundreds of needy people.

The fundraising competition runs Aug. 13 in the Washington High School Performing Arts Center.

The winner of the dance-based competition will be the organization that raises the most money for Eagle’s Wings.

“We’re exactly a month from the show today,” Janet Cox, director/choreographer, said Wednesday.

“A lot of the dances are being finished,” said Cox, who added costumes and routines should be collected and memorized in time for a cast “preview party” on July 29.

“We’ve got such really good groups dancing,” she said.

Three dance teams have had to depart the field because of scheduling conflicts, leaving eight nonprofit teams and eight business teams or other kinds of teams, according to Cox.

One of those teams is The Bee Gee Blues, which is dancing on behalf of Washington’s Paul Funeral Home.

“We’ve had a lot of fun – we’ve laughed a lot and carried on,” said dancer Bobby Hodges.

“The reason we’re doing it is we have so many blessings that we don’t really realize that we’re blessed with and we don’t appreciate,” Hodges continued. “And it’s amazing the number of folks in this county that are lacking basic necessities such as food. I really wish people would get behind it.”

Besides Hodges, the team members are Ken Berry, Tony Hoell, Norm Koestline, Billy Slade, Jeffray Waters, Chad Hefner, Ann Barrett, Martha Davis, Mary Jo Guthrie, Rennie Johnson and Carrie Davis.

Also taking part in the festivities is the Beaufort County Arts Council.

BCAC board members and one staff member will recreate Georges-Pierre Seurat’s 19th-century painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.”

The idea for posing actors/dancers as characters in the painting was borrowed from Stephen Sondheim’s musical, “Sunday in the Park with George,” explained Joey Toler, executive director of the arts council. Toler conceived the Sondheim/Seurat homage.

“I knew it would be something relatively simple,” he said. “It’s not a lot of dancing as far as kicks and splits and stuff like that, but it is choreographed.”

At least a dozen participants should end up fashioning an onstage version of the painting, he related.

The BCAC dance cast includes Elizabeth Gurganus, Westray Nicholson, Rob Cuthrell, Laura Smithwick, Marilyn Roth, Chynna Bonner, Mary Jean “M.J.” Peters, Eleanor Rollins, Nattalie Castro, John Schermerhorn, Vail Rumley, Toler, John Tate and Sue Nicholson.
“I think it’s going to be a hoot, actually,” Toler said. “It’s going to be different.”