Cincinnati Arts Association's DANCING FOR THE STARS 2017 Announces Winners

Cincinnati Arts Association's DANCING FOR THE STARS 2017 Announces WinnersRohan Hemani (Procter & Gamble Fabric Care Intrapenuer) and his dance pro Doreen Beatrice (Independent Dance Instructor) were crowned the champions of the Cincinnati Arts Association's (CAA) eleventh annual Dancing for the Stars on Saturday, April 8, 2017 at the Jack Casino Ballroom.

The teams of Hemani/Beatrice and Allison Holzapfel, MD (Plastic Surgeon, Mangat-Holzapfel and Lied Plastic Surgery) and Jeremy Mainous (Arthur Murray Dance Studio - Cincinnati) both received perfect scores of 40 (out of 40). The ultimate winner between the two perfect-scoring dance teams was decided by the audience vote. An unexpected Bollywood dance break by the first-place team of Hemani and Beatrice was one of the highlights of the night, sending the crowd into wild cheers and applause.

First-runner-up Allison Holzapfel also took home the 'Fundraising Champion' Award, as the celebrity who raised the most money for the event through ticket sales and donations. Holzapfel set a Fundraising Champion record of more than $22,000.

Amal Daoud (Community Volunteer) and Josh Tilford (Independent Dance Instructor) placed third in the competition.

The sold-out event welcomed more than 670 guests. As CAA's largest annual fundraiser, it raised more than $125,000 in support of the organization's acclaimed arts education programs, including the Overture Awards - the nation's largest locally-run high school arts scholarship competition. The popular event will return next season to the Music Hall Ballroom, which is currently under extensive renovation and will reopen in early October 2017.

This year, the Dancing for the Stars' silent auction went online two weeks prior to the event to allow fans and supporters to participate whether or not they were at the fundraiser, and bidding at the event was done on laptops and/or mobile phones. This new digital approach resulted in the most successful auction in the event's eleven-year history, raising more than $22,000.

The remaining five dance pairs included:

· Alvin H. Crawford, MD (Honoris Causa, FACS, Professor Emeritus, Orthopaedic & Pediatric Surgery, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine) and Bonita Brockert (Independent Dance Instructor)

· Robin Creighton (Owner/Photographer, Robin McKerrell Photography/Mecca OTR/Cheapside Café) and Alyenendrov (Len) Tsorokean (Phoenix Rising Ballroom)

· Mark Heidrich (Director of National Accounts, Prosource) and Leigh Bradshaw (Cincinnati Ballroom Company)

· Joe Rozzi (Vice President of Sales, Rozzi Famous Fireworks) and Desiree Mainous (Arthur Murray Dance Studio - Cincinnati)

· Amy Tobin (Director, New Riff Distillery and Event Center) and Jozsef Parragh (Independent Dance Instructor)

Inspired by the hit ABC-TV show Dancing with the Stars, Dancing for the Stars 2017 featured eight Cincinnati celebrities paired with some of the area's finest professional dancers in a competition program, at which the audience vote and judges scores propelled the winners to victory. The competitive dance for the evening was the Foxtrot, and each dance pair had 90 seconds to woo the crowd and the judges.

Event emcees were Chris O'Brien and Janeen Coyle ("Married with Microphones," 103.5 WGRR-FM). The four competition judges were Douglas Beal (Independent Dance Instructor), Barbara Hauser (Manager, Ohio Community Relations, Procter & Gamble - Dancing for the Stars 2015 Celebrity participant), Jamie Humes (Vice President-Marketing, Traditions Group - Dancing for the Stars 2016 Fundraising Champion), and John Morris Russell (Conductor, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra).

Currently in its eleventh year, Dancing for the Stars has become one of the most-anticipated (and imitated) fundraising events of the season. Since the event's debut in 2007, more than 80 local notables have 'danced for a cause'. The impressive list of past champions includes: 2007 - Dr. O'dell Owens (former president, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College; former Hamilton County coroner); 2008 - Jenell Walton (reporter, WLWT-TV5; former reporter, The List; former WCPO-TV9 anchor and reporter); 2009 - Phil Schworer (Attorney, Frost Brown Todd; former president, Cincinnati Bar Association); 2010 - Donna Speigel (owner, The Snooty Fox); 2011 - Dr. Tracey Skale, M.D. (chief medical officer, Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services), 2012 - Regina Russo (former chief of communications, Contemporary Arts Center; former director of marketing and communications, Cincinnati Art Museum; former anchor/reporter, WXIX-TV19), 2013 - Chris Seelbach (Cincinnati City Councilman), 2014 - Neal Schulte (founder & president, Schulte Financial Group, LLC), 2015 - Johnny Chu (owner, KungFood Chu's AmerAsia restaurant), and 2016 - Jay Lame (Financial Analyst, Lenox Wealth Management).

In addition, Dancing for the Stars 2017 featured:

· Dinner-by-the-bite provided by Eddie Merlot's, Gold Star Chili, Incredible Delights, Jeff Thomas Catering, Lala's Blissful Bites, Metropolitan Club, Palomino Restaurant & Bar, Prime Cincinnati, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Vonderhaar's Catering, and Whole Foods Market

· Popular DJ and 103.5 WGRR personality Rockin' Ron Schumacher

· Pre-event wine tasting and meet-and-greet with the stars

· Open dancing before and after the competition

Event highlights included:

  • An inspiring video about the Overture Awards featuring interviews with many of the student competitors.
  • Two big screens that featured live video of the competition and engaging video introductions of the stars and pros (interviews and rehearsal footage) before their dances.
  • Humorous, astute, and supportive comments from the Dancing for the Stars panel of judges.
  • Exceptionally responsive, raucous, and energetic audience reactions, which included large cheering sections holding signs with various messages in support of their favorite Stars.
  • After the competition, the dance floor at the Jack Casino Ballroom filled with hundreds of guests who danced the night away to music by DJ Rockin' Ron from 103.5 WGRR.

Dancing for the Stars 2017 Presenting Sponsor: TriHealth

Dancing for the Stars 2017 Silent Auction Sponsor: Lenox Wealth Management

Dancing for the Stars 2017 Event Sponsors: Arthur Murray - Cincinnati, Cincinnati Ballroom Company, Crest Graphics, Pebble Creek Group, Bonita Brockert, Jozsef Parragh, Phoenix Rising Ballroom, Josh Tilford.

Dancing for the Stars 2017 Event Committee: Terry Foster (co-chair, Dancing for the Stars 2010 Celebrity participant), Joe Rigotti (co-chair, Dancing for the Stars 2012 Celebrity participant), Christina Bolden, Sue Gilkey, Jim Howland, Ginger Loftin, Rosemary Schlachter, Phil Schworer, and Dr. Tracey Skale.

CAA's OVERTURE AWARDS AND ARTS EDUCTION PROGRAMS

Cincinnati Arts Association's Education and Community Relations programs promote life-long engagement in the arts, while contributing to individual, organizational, and community success. With a mission to educate, inspire, and engage the Tri-state region, these accessible arts programs ignite the imagination of students of all ages.

The Overture Awards is one of several programs (which also include Artists on Tour, SchoolTime, Emerging Arts Leaders, and more) that have served more than 1.5 million children and adults since the inception of CAA's Education and Community Relations programs nearly two decades ago. CAA is proud of its newest initiative, "Arts in Healing," that will promote wellness through the arts.

The Overture Awards - the largest locally-run, high school arts scholarship competition in the country - recognizes, encourages, and rewards excellence in the arts among Tri-State students in grades 9-12. It also provides students an opportunity to share their talents and interests among their peers in a supportive environment outside of their individual schools.

Each year, more than 450 students are nominated by their schools to compete, and this year's competition awarded $42,000 in scholarships for excellence in Creative Writing, Dance, Instrumental Music, Theater, Visual Art, and Vocal Music. To date, the Overture Awards has awarded more than $665,000 to support artistically-talented students in pursuit of their dreams. Now in its 21st year, the Overture Awards was launched in 1996 by the Cinergy Foundation and Leadership Cincinnati (a Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce program).

For more information about CAA's Education and Community programs, visit www.cincinnatiarts.org/education-community.

CINCINNATI ARTS ASSOCIATION

Founded in 1992, the Cincinnati Arts Association (CAA) is a not-for-profit organization that oversees the programming and management of the Tri-state's finest performing arts venues - the Aronoff Center for the Arts and Music Hall - and is dedicated to supporting performing and visual arts. Each year, CAA presents a diverse schedule of events; serves upwards of 700,000 people in its venues; features the work of talented local, regional, and national artists in the Weston Art Gallery (located in the Aronoff Center); and supports the work of more than one dozen resident companies.

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