DANCING FOR THE STARS 2018 – Winners Announced

Dr. Marcia Bowling
and Dance Pro Jozsef Parragh
Crowned New Dancing for the Stars Champs

Bowling also named ‘Fundraising Champion’

CAA_Dancing for the StarsCINCINNATI, OH – Dr. Marcia Bowling (Gynecologic Oncology, The Christ Hospital Network) and her dance pro Jozsef Parragh (Independent Dance Instructor) received a near-perfect score of 37 (out of 40), taking first place at the Cincinnati Arts Association’s twelfth-annual Dancing for the Stars on Saturday, April 14, at the Music Hall Ballroom. Bowling also took home the ‘Fundraising Champion’ Award, as the celebrity who raised the most money for the event through ticket sales and donations.

Pam Kravetz (nationally-recognized artist, arts educator, and Project Manager for ArtWorks) and Alyenendrov Tsorokean (Dance Instructor; Owner, Phoenix Rising Latin & Ballroom) took second place; and John J. Williams (Attorney; President, Cincinnati Bar Association) and Doreen Beatrice (Independent Dance Instructor)  placed third.

The sold-out event welcomed more than 675 guests.  As CAA’s largest annual fundraiser, it raised $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. 

Dancing for the Stars’ online auction went live 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 using smart phones. This new digital approach resulted in the most successful auction in the event’s twelve-year history, raising nearly $30,000.   

The remaining three dance pairs included:

  • Ryan Messer (Regional Business Director, Johnson & Johnson; Board Member, Cincinnati Public Schools) and Desiree Mainous (Dance Instructor; Owner, Arthur Murray Dance Studio – Cincinnati)
  • Dr. Renu Kotwal (Psychiatry & Neurology, The Christ Hospital Network) and Josh Tilford (Dance Instructor; Owner, Dance Manor)
  • Steve Valerius (President Individual Division, Ameritas Life Insurance) and  Leigh Bradshaw (Dance Instructor; Co-owner, Cincinnati Ballroom Company)

Inspired by the hit ABC-TV show Dancing with the StarsDancing for the Stars 2018 featured six 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 Swing, 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), Bonita Brockert (Independent Dance Instructor), Jeremy Mainous (Dance Instructor; Owner, Arthur Murray Dance Studio – Cincinnati), and Neal Schulte (2014 Dancing for the Stars Winner & Fundraising Champion; Founder & President, Schulte Financial Group, LLC.)

Currently in its twelfth 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, nearly 90 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(former WLWT-TV5 reporter; 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),  2016 – Jay Lame (Financial Analyst, Lenox Wealth Management), and 2017 – Rohan Hemani (Procter & Gamble Fabric Care Intrapenuer)

In addition, Dancing for the Stars 2018 featured:

  • Dinner-by-the-bite provided by A Catered Affair, Alfio’s buono cibo, CMX CineBistro, Garnish Catering, Jeff Thomas Catering, Lala’s Blissful Bites, Metropolitan Club, Oriental Wok, Palomino Restaurant & Bar, Prime Cincinnati, Skyline Chili, Stone Creek Dining Company, Vonderhaar’s Catering, Inc., Whole Foods Market
  • Popular DJ and 103.5 WGRR personality Rockin’ Ron Schumacher
  • Pre-event wine tasting compliments of Biltmore Estate Winery (Music Hall’s newest premium wine) and meet-and-greet with the Stars
  • Open dancing before and after the competition

Event highlights included:

  • Entertaining and amazing exhibition dances by Dancing for the Stars talented Pros.
  • 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.
  • Dance and fundraising champion, Dr. Marcia Bowling, earned the night’s highest score from the judges with an expert swing routine (and a gorgeous dress) with dance Pro Jozsef Parragh.
  • Audience favorite and 2nd-place finisher Pam Kravetz and dance Pro Alyenendrov Tsorokean danced as Mayzie La Bird and the Cat in the Hat to a whimsical tribute to Dr. Seuss.
  • Third-place finisher John J. Williams showed his swagger and confidence in a Blues Brothers-inspired dance with dance Pro Doreen Beatrice.
  • There was some ‘risky business’ on the dance floor when Steve Valerius danced Tom Cruise-style to Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll” with dance Pro Leigh Bradshaw.
  • Ryan Messer, dance Pro Desiree Mainous, and friends danced a timely and touching story about high-school bullying, being yourself, and Gay Pride to “Born This Way” – Lady Gaga’s rousing anthem of individuality.
  • The glamour and fun of Bollywood filled the Music Hall Ballroom as Dr. Renu Kotwal, wearing one of the most beautiful dresses at the event, danced an Indian-inspired Swing with dance Pro Josh Tilford.

Dancing for the Stars 2018 Presenting Sponsor: TriHealth 

Dancing for the Stars 2018 Silent Auction Sponsor: Lenox Wealth Management

Dancing for the Stars 2018 Event Sponsors:  Arthur Murray – Cincinnati, Doreen Beatrice, Bonita Brockert, Cincinnati Ballroom Company, Crest Graphics, Dance Manor, Pebble Creek Group, Jozsef Parragh, and Phoenix Rising Latin & Ballroom.

Dancing for the Stars 2018 Event Committee:  Dr. Allison Holzapfel, co-chair (Dancing for the Stars 2017 Fundraising Champion); Jamie Humes, co-chair (Dancing for the Stars 2016 Fundraising Champion); Amal Daoud; Terry Foster; Sue Gilkey; Jim Howland; Ginger Loftin; Joe Rigotti; Rosemary Schlachter; Phil Schworer; and Dr. Tracey Skale. 

Cincinnati Arts Association’s Education & 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 1.6 million children and adults since the inception of CAA’s Education & Community Relations programs two decades ago. CAA is proud of its newest initiative, Arts in Healing, that promotes 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 $750,000 to support artistically-talented students in pursuit of their dreams. Now in its 22nd year, the Overture Awards was launched in 1996 by the Cinergy Foundation and Leadership Cincinnati (a Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber program).

As part of the Overture Awards, the Arts Educator Award for Excellence in Arts Instruction promotes and rewards excellence in arts instruction throughout the Tri-state region – just one more way to encourage quality arts in Cincinnati USA!

For more information about CAA’s Education & Community Relations programs, visit www.cincinnatiarts.org/education-community. 

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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