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Local celebrities take to the floor to support Voices Against Violence

Chris and Alicia Dunstan made the event a family affair having their kids hop on stage during the final moments of their performance. (Ashley Finethy) (click for larger version)
May 16, 2012
PLYMOUTH—On May 11 in the Plymouth Regional High School auditorium, community celebrities lit up the stage for the first annual Dancing with the Community Stars of Plymouth to benefit Voices Against Violence.

"It's a really exciting night, and there is a lot of time and effort that goes into this," said emcee Amy Bates from Mix 94.1 FM, who co- hosted the event with Tina from Voices Against Violence.

Matt McCarthy, a detective at the Plymouth Police Department; Sandra Lively, a real estate agent for 21st Century in Bristol; and Laurie Coffin, a real estate agent at Noseworthy Real Estate, sat at the judging table for the evening.

The evening began with an opening number introducing the eight couples dancing for the evening, and went into dances from the Broadway North Dancers, performing "Recycled Percussion" and the Broadway North Competition Troupe performing "Miracles."

Couple One consisting of Linda Levy, a Plymouth State University professor, and Meagan Hiltz, a dance teacher, started the evening performing a Jive number to "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'." As the couple stood in front of the judges, they pointed out the energy and enthusiasm the duo brought to the stage. Their scores were 7,7 and 8 for a total of 22 points.

Lisa Farmer, Executive Director of Voices Against Violence, and Chirs Jakubowski from Ninth State Moving Complex danced the Foxtrot to "The Entertainer." The judges highlighted their poise and style, as well as their creative storytelling, giving them nine's across the board for a total of 27 points.

Couple 3 — Daniel Fife, a Plymouth State University graduate, and Christy Dunn a Boradway North Dance Teacher, Certified Zumba Instructor and most notably, Miss New Hampshire 2009 — performed a Latin dance to a "Grease Medley." Judges complimented Fife for being the perfect dance partner for Dunn, noting that the point of couple's dancing is to make the girl look good. The couple received 7, 8, 9 from the judges for a total of 24 points.

Chris and Alicia Dunstan, owners and instructors at White Mountain Jazzercise, made up Couple 4, who danced the Cha-Cha to "I Like How it Feels," bringing their two children into the dance, as well. The female judged swooned over Chris' hip action, and all of the judges agreed that they enjoyed the couple getting the entire family involved and appreciated their different dance backgrounds. The couple received 8,9,9 for a total of 26 points.

Owner of the Country Cow in Campton Jennifer Leonzi and a 10th grade student at Plymouth Regional High School did a '50's style dance to "Long Tall Sally." Silly string aside, the judges complimented the duo on their energy, and how engaging the number was to watch, as the duo never stopped smiling and having fun. The judges' scores were 8,9,8 for a total of25 points.

Couple 6 — Armand Girouard, a banker at Northway Bank and an avid tri-athlete, and Robin Barnes, a dancer and dance teacher — also danced the Cha-Cha to "Hungry Like the Wolf." Girouard's athletic abilities didn't prove to be much help on the dance floor, with the couple ending on a noticeable low note, according to the judges who said the technique and timing was off at times, though the song choice was fantastic. The couple received 6,7,8 from the judges for a total of 21 points.

Kristen Vachon, a Jazzercise teacher and Voice Against Violence Board Member, and Gary Robinson, an EMT and Rumney Police Officer, made Couple 7 and wowed the crowd with a gut busting Waltz to "Bitty Boppy Betty." With a standing ovation from the crowd as Robinson stood on stage in tights, a pretty pink performance frock and perfectly manicured fingers and toes, the judged commended him on his courage to get glam for the performance. The couple received a perfect score: 10,10, 10 for a total of 30 points.

The final couple, Couple 8, consisted of Mike Currier (a.k.a. "Skate Park Mike"), a social worker and advocate for youth in the community, who danced the final competitive number with Janice Jenket, a Jazzersize teacher out of Laconia who specializes in ballroom dancing. The couple performed a swing number to "Shake Your Tail Feather." Even with the loss of Currier's glasses, the couple was able to impress the judged with their ability to stay together and keep an intense energy level throughout the performance. The duo received nines across the board for a total of 27 points.

For $1 per vote, audience members took time during the 15-minute intermission to vote for their favorite couple. To build anticipation, intermission was followed by several dance performances. Ninth State Movement Complex Zumba danced to "Wepa," Broadway North Competition Troupe danced to "Papa Omm Mow," Ninth State Movement Complex Dancers performed "What?" White Mountain Jazzercise danced to "Danzu Kudora," Broadway North Dancers performed "Smooth Criminal," and Ninth State Movement Complex Dancers performed "Rainbow Connection."

With all of the votes tallied, all of the couples joined Bates and Tina on the stage to announce the top three couples. In third place was Couple 4, Chris and Alicia Dunstan; in second place was Couple 7, Gary Robinson and Kristen Vachon; and in first place was Couple 1, Linda Levy and Meagan Hiltz.

Levy and Hiltz practiced "These Boots Were Made for Walkin'" for a total of around five hours, and were happy with their performance.

"I was hoping we would do really well, and was hoping I wouldn't screw anything up so we would have a chance," said Levy.

The duo's song selection was a random idea, which was chosen to be a feminine number for the all female couple.

"I have no idea why we chose the song," said Hiltz. "It just kind of popped into my head. We tried to find something kind of feminine because we were two women dancing."

Levy and Hiltz noted that the entire evening was so fun and they enjoyed the opportunity to participate and dance with so many great people.

"It was all so fun," said Hiltz. "It was a great experience with a great group of people."

Salmon Press
Martin Lord & Osman
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