2nd Dancing with the Stars of Darlington County

Winners of the 2015 Dancing with the Stars of Darlington County Dr. Beth Morphis and her dance team partner Mac Johnson. Photo by Jana E. Pye

Winners of the 2015 Dancing with the Stars of Darlington County Dr. Beth Morphis and her dance team partner Mac Johnson.
Photo by Jana E. Pye

By Jana E. Pye, Editor, editor@newsandpress.net

The 2nd production of Dancing with the Stars of Darlington County was another successful night of wonderful entertainment tonight to benefit Darlington County Pee Dee Coalition for Domestic and Sexual Assault, held Thursday January 29th at the at the Center Theater in Hartsville .

The Dance Team Winner for 2015 was Beth Morphis, M.D., pediatrician with Morphis Pediatrics and her dance partner Mac Johnson, student at Hartsville High School and avid shag dancer and competitor with their wonderfully entertaining Swing dance.

Morphis is a pediatrician with Morphis Pediatrics; she and her husband, Jamie Morphis, are the parents of twins Isobelle and Jessie. Johnson is a student at Hartsville and is an avid shag dancer and competitor. The team was also the 1st Runner Up for the People’s Choice Award.

The 1st Runner Up for the competition was the dance team of celebrity Harmony Parker, co-owner of The Haven Spa and professional dance partner Caleb Roberts, chef at the Midnight Rooster and ballet instructor at Move Dance Academy in Hartsville; he is classically trained.

1st Runner Up Harmony Parker and Caleb Roberts

1st Runner Up Harmony Parker and Caleb Roberts

The People’s Choice Award Winners for 2015 were celebrity dancer Monty Bell and professional dance partner Jenna Roberts, who danced a crowd-pleasing Salsa dance.

Winners of People's Choice Award Monty Bell and Jenna Roberts

Winners of People’s Choice Award Monty Bell and Jenna Roberts

Bell is an attorney, The Law Office of Monty Bell in Darlington; Roberts works at the S.C. Governor’s School for Science and Math and is classically trained dancer, and graduate of Bellhaven University. She and Caleb are siblings.

The Master of Ceremony was Andy Locklair kept the audience in stitches with his hilarious, non-stop jokes -and costume change. He is a native of Darlington, and is the co-host of “Fox Racin News” on the local Florence/Myrtle Beach-area FOX affiliate and is a singer songwriter. Locklair donated his time to the event.

Emcee Andy Locklair

Emcee Andy Locklair

Two members of the planning committee, Pat Segars and Mary Wood Beasley, shared their comedic talents with humorous impersonations of last year’s emcees Mel Pennington and last year’s Miss South Carolina, Brooke Mosteller. The other planning committee members include: Pat West, Jennifer Boyles, Alma Harris, Eric Thompsen, Keisa Hudson, Heather Watkins, Bonnie Gardner, Steve Benigni, Suzy Moyd, Judy Jacobs, Meredith Askins, Lyn Joyce, Miriam Norwood, Jeannie Wilkerson, Casey Hancock, Steve Roos, and Leigh Ann Bizzell.

The evening raised funds – and awareness- of Pee Dee Coalition’s efforts to assist victims of domestic and sexual assault in Darlington County.

Although the Speaker of the House Jay Lucas was unable to dance with his professional partner due to conflicts in her family, he found a way to do his waltz after all; after he shared details of the sweeping reforms coming to S.C. soon regarding domestic violence, he brought his good friend Senator Gerald Malloy on stage with him. Both local leaders have pledged their support to help combat domestic violence in the state.

Speaker of the House Jay Lucas with Senator Gerald Malloy waltz at the 2nd Dancing with the Stars of Darlington County.

Speaker of the House Jay Lucas with Senator Gerald Malloy waltz at the 2nd Dancing with the Stars of Darlington County.

Much to the delight of the crowd, Lucas told the audience that he had been invited to dance, but his dance partner was unable to compete due to several conflicts. “I learned to waltz, and I’m not leaving here tonight until I get the chance,” said Lucas. He and friend Gerald proceeded to dance an impromptu dance while the audience erupted in applause. That may be the first time in history a South Carolina Speaker of the House waltzed with a Senator!

The Coker College Repertory Company, under the director of Heather Watkins, Adjunct Professor at Coker College, provided the opening number for the evening aperforming “Crazy In Love” by Emili Sande’ and the Bryan Ferry Orchestra (from The Great Gatsby soundtrack), and Darrell Daney from Coker College performed the moving “Inhale, Exhale” to Healing Wounds by Lily Chou Chou, with spoken text by Ruth St. Denis.

Judges Alyssa Hicks, Keisa Hudson, Jessica Vause and Dr. Arlene Wallace rated each dance team on their technical skills, technique, timing, and choreography; and on their costume and presentation, synchronization, and overall performance.

Despite the fun, the serious nature of the evening was not forgotten: South Carolina was ranked 2nd in the nation for the rate of women murdered by men.

The Nu Delta Alpha National Dance Honor Society under the guidance of Dr. Meredith Sims, Assistant Professor of Dance, Coker College, provided their volunteer services in the Coat Check Room. Volunteers from the community, as well as students, students from Hartsville High School and the Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics helped during the event by assisting in ballot sales, handing out programs, decorating, and serving as ushers. “The community came together to help make the Dancing with the Stars of Darlington County event to benefit the Pee Dee Coalition against Domestic and Sexual Assault a huge success.” said the planning committee.

The other dance teams included: Celebrity, Tim Browne, and Professional, Eliza Truett, dancing Disco; Celebrity, Sheriff Wayne Byrd, and Professional, SaVannah Britt, dancing the Tango; Celebrity, Drake Loflin, and Professional, Frank Bush, dancing the Foxtrot; Celebrity, Angie Suggs, and Professional, Guy O’Neal, dancing the Swing, and Celebrity, Kristin Teets, and Professional, Bob Everett, dancing the Disco.

Angie Suggs with her partner Guy O'Neal

Angie Suggs with her partner Guy O’Neal

Eliza Truett with Tim Browne, CEO of Carolina Pines

Eliza Truett with Tim Browne, CEO of Carolina Pines

Members of other dance teams named in the fall withdrew from the competition due to injuries, family illnesses, and scheduling conflicts, including Jaimie Cranford, professional, slated to dance with celebrity, Mark Lewallen, who broke a bone in her left foot during DWTS of DC dance rehearsal.

The Brenda Cranford School of Dance and the Move Dance Academy along with local dance professionals, Terrie Reames, Alton Adams, Jennifer Schock, and Darrell Daney, donated their time and studio space to help the dance teams master their dances.

Ballot sales for People's Choice Awards were sold throughout the event, raising additional funds for Pee Dee Coalition.

Ballot sales for People’s Choice Awards were sold throughout the event, raising additional funds for Pee Dee Coalition.

The planning committee saw an increase in sponsorship this year and will use the funds raised to provide services needed by victims specifically in Darlington County.

To contact the Pee Dee Coalition against Domestic and Sexual Assault: 800-273-1820; Darlington County office: 843-383-0240 at 460 W Carolina Ave, Hartsville.

Durant Children’s Center’s Darlington County satellite office: 843-332-9299 at 501 W Carolina Ave, Hartsville. Website: peedeecoalition.org; for immediate help, call 911.

Author: Jana Pye

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