From samba to rumba, dancers set to have fun

February 1, 2012

By ERIC STEINKOPFF - Bulletin Staff Writer

Sixteen area residents were excited and a little anxious Tuesday, each bringing his or her own strengths and outlook to Piedmont Arts Association’s Dancing for the Arts ballroom dance competition fundraiser.

The dancers and their partners for the April 21 event were announced Tuesday at Piedmont Arts.

Clay Campbell, 52, of Martinsville, president of Martinsville Speedway, said in his written profile, “Watch this, I’m in it to win it.”

“It’s for a good cause,” Campbell said. “The couples are going to have fun.”

Campbell is paired with Kathy Rogers, 52, of Collinsville, executive director of Piedmont Arts Association, who said in her written profile, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

“It’ll be fun,” Rogers said. “It’s kind of funny how competitive people will be.”

Their assigned dance is the rumba, a rhythmic dance from Cuba that features swaying of the hips to a Latin beat.

John Collins, 56, of Martinsville, formerly of a fiber container company, now volunteers for Grace Network and the Habitat for Humanity. He wrote in his profile, “Keep focused on the prize. Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

“The most important thing is all the rehearsals and getting our number down correctly,” Collins said. He may have an edge because he is working with a fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade cotillion program on etiquette and dancing.

“It’s a great idea to raise money for this community,” he said.

Collins is paired with Ann Nichols of Martinsville, a freelance court reporter who wrote in her profile, “I tend to lead.”

Their assigned dance is the quick-step, a fast-paced dance of European origin.

“We’re just going to have fun,” Nichols said. “I love to dance, but I’m not a professional.”

Joe DeVault, a retired educator and member of the Henry County School Board, said his demographic is “younger than 6 years old and over 80 years old,” which was met with laughter. He added that he has several secret dance moves he’s saving for the competition.

DeVault is paired with Joanie Davis, program director with United Way of Henry County and Martinsville.

“We’re going to have so much fun,” Davis said.

Their assigned dance is the cha-cha, a rhythmic Latin dance from Cuba with a lot of hip sway.

Tom Fitzgibbons, 48, of Martinsville, former principal of Bassett and Martinsville high schools, is a health care administrator. He stated in his profile that he once was a lifeguard, which taught him that “practice makes perfect.”

“We’re really excited to be together,” Fitzgibbons said.

Fitzgibbons is paired with Susan Shively, 55, an administrative assistant with Patrick Henry Community College. She stated in her profile, “I’ll try not to embarrass you.”

They knew each other from when Fitzgibbons was a principal at Bassett High School and Shively’s daughters, Lindsay and Brittney, went to school there.

Their assigned dance is the waltz, a dance from 17th-century Europe known for its graceful sway, rise and fall.

Greg Hackenberg, a fourth-grade teacher, said in his profile he’s “been flatfooting since in my mother’s womb.”

He is paired with Katrina Perry, a middle school teacher who said in her profile that she’s been “dancing since my mother could fit me in a tutu.”

Their assigned dance is the fox trot.

Trey Harris, 41, the Bassett High School band director, told the group he would not talk about his plans for the competition because “you don’t ever tell your secrets.”

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Harris said.

Harris is paired with Ama Waller, 29, a Patrick Henry Elementary School fifth-grade teacher in Martinsville, who asked for forgiveness if her feet miss the steps because there is dancing in her heart.

Both have in-depth musical experience and already are working together as a team, with one beginning an idea and the other finishing it.

“We both are very musical and understand the beat,” Harris began.

“We’re both also teachers, so we’re used to being in front of a crowd,” Waller finished.

Their assigned dance is the tango, a staccato and seductive dance originally from Argentina.

Devin Pendleton, 23, associate director with Dance Troupe Inc. in Martinsville, told the group, “I was nervous,” but not now.

He is paired with Crystal Bowles, 23, a Zumba instructor at Patrick Henry Community College and the YMCA, who said in her profile that she hopes her partner will “be very helpful, but strict.”

“I dance all the time,” she added.

Their assigned dance is paso doble, a progressive international Latin dance.

Paso doble “Is a very angry dance — matador like,” Pendleton said.

Ed Reynolds, 50, of Martinsville, was an NFL inside linebacker for nine years for the New England Patriots and for two years with the New York Giants. He now is a community organizer and fundraiser.

“It’s going to be a great event,” Reynolds said. “We’re going to shock the world.”

He is paired with Debbie Lewis, 56, of Martinsville, a community volunteer and fundraising consultant who said in their profile, “Please be patient, but push our team to win.”

“I’m feeling very optimistic about this,” Lewis said.

Their assigned dance is the samba, a rhythmic Latin dance often characterized by a bounce with hip motion.


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