The fundraiser was held on Saturday, Jan. 20, at the Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center.
A reverend, an orthodontist, a restaurant owner, an attorney, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, a city council woman, a hair salon manager and an engaged community figure came together to do one thing not many could have predicted: competitive dancing.
The Daytona Beach Symphony Society and Guild hosted a Dancing for Dreams fundraiser on Saturday, Jan. 20, at the Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center. The first half of the evening was dedicated to showcasing the dancing talents of eight local contestants. Intermission was followed by professional performances by guests, including the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University AcaFellas.
Sid Pocius, Magdalena Piekarz and Carolyn Timmins served as the judges to choose the Best Female Dancer and Best Male Dancer. But it was up to the packed audience to vote for their favorite contestant by donating $10 per vote to the DBSS’ Youth Experiencing Symphony (YES) program, which focuses on bringing thousands of local youth to classical music concerts, opera and dance performances each season. Tickets to the event were $50, which also will go toward the YES program.
“They do an amazing job of bringing kids to concerts — kids that would never see or experience real, beautiful music,” Event Chair Kathy Tompros said of the YES program.
Rev. Bette-Jo (BJ) Foster wowed the judges with a Cha Cha Merengue routine to be named the Best Female Dancer. Foster is the pastor of Covenant United Methodist Church in Port Orange. The Best Male Dancer was Dr. David Lowe, an orthodontist who runs a practice in Port Orange. Lowe is an actor and singer, but dancing was a step out of his normal routine. The audience voted Anne Peacock-Jacobs as the favorite, ranking her as the Top Fundraiser. Peacock-Jacobs is a member of the Ponce Inlet Museum of Arts and Sciences, the Daytona Beach Symphony Guild, the Ponce Inlet Women's Club and the Lions Club.
The other five contestants who worked for months to prepare for the competition are: Mariela Ishikawa, an information engineer who is one of the owners of BLAU in Ormond Beach; Ivan Lind, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and former Daytona Beach police officer; Thomas Upchurch, an attorney in Volusia County; Billie Wheeler, Volusia City Council District 2 Representative; and Kristofer White-Wood, the manager at The Hair Factory in Daytona Beach.
For their routines, all of the contestants were paired with professional instructors: Tiffany Brackett, Angela Ionita, Viorel Ionita, Joe Mounts, Kristina Yiannopoulos and Caleb Young.
“It was an extraordinary success of an event,” said Daytona Beach Symphony Guild President Gerri Wright-Gibson.
Wright-Gibson said that while the final amount raised will not be released for a few weeks, the event easily succeeded $20,000.