Dancing The Night Away

Some of Naperville’s stars recently cut a rug on the dance floor hoping to outshine their contenders. At the 2nd-annual “Dancing with the Celebrities” competition, eight couples heated things up with Salsa, Somba, Rumba, and Cha-Cha…all for a great cause. The event cashed in more than $40,000 for the Community Career Center.

This year’s line-up include: Owner of Raffi’s on 5th, Raffi Demerdjian…Senior Director at McDonald’s Jacquelyn Howard…State Representative Michael Connelly…NCTV17’s former anchor Dolly McCarthy…the city’s Community Relations Manager Nadja Lalvani…General Manager at Sullivan’s Steakhouse Troy Smith…CEO of Edward Hospital Pam Davis…and Assistant City Manager Bob Marshall

“I thought it was awesome, outstanding,” said Smith. “ It’s great to see a great turnout and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

“I had a ball!” added Davis. “I really, really enjoyed going outside my comfort zone.”

The celebrity judges were Mayor Pradel, Ray Kinney, President of Minuteman Press, Tom Miers, President of Naperville Bank and Trust, and Leah Rippe, Publisher of Naperville Magazine and winner of last year’s event.

“I think it was even harder for me than last year because I’m watching all my friends and I know how much time and effort they put into it,” said Rippe. “It was really hard to pick a winner in all the categories.”

The judges gave each pair a small award for their performance, including: most styling [Connelly], best stage presence [Demerdjian], best footwork [Marshall], most artistic [Howard]
best hip action [Smith], future Radio City Rockette [Lalvani], most likely to go pro [McCarthy], and judge’s favorite [Davis].

“Best hip action…that means I had a good instructor,” said Smith. “Oh he was born with those hips,” added his partner, Arthur Murray Dance Studio’s Kelly Lakomy. “I just taught him how to shake them.”

But the night’s big winners – chosen by an audience vote – were Dolly McCarthy & James Dutton of Arthur Murray dance studio.

“It feels great!” said McCarthy. “I’m very surprised though.”

“I’m not surprised,” added Dutton. “We did awesome!”

Keeping in tradition, McCarthy will return next year as a celebrity judge.

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