Meet the stars of Dancing with the Stars of Darlington County

Welcome to the runup to the 2019 edition of Darlington County’s Dancing with the Stars, an annual event that benefits the Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault. The event will be held Thursday, Jan. 31, at 7:30 p.m. at Center Theater in Hartsville.

For the next several weeks, we’ll be introducing couples who will be taking part in the event. You can go to the Pee Dee Coalition’s website (www.DWTSofDC.com) to vote your favorite couple for the People’s Choice Award.

This week’s featured couples:

Lay’Quan Williamson (professional) and Brandolyn Pinkston (celebrity). Dance style: swing; Decade: 1950s. Choreographers: Burnadene Kelley-Newman and Tiffany Welsh
Blade Boulware (professional) and Taylor June Cox (celebrity). Dance style: swing; Decade: 2000s. Choreographer: Brenda Cranford

Photos are by Steve Roos.

Sponsors: Dr. Orville H. Dyce with Black Creek Medical; Carolina Bank; West Oil Company; Steve Roos with Ashcraft Studio; Fitness Worldwide Gyms LLC; Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate – Segars Realty; Hartsville Family Dentistry; Sonoco Products Company; Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated; Hodge Ethridge Insurance and Financial Service – Nationwide Insurance; McLean Marechal Insurance and Financial Service – Nationwide Insurance; Duke Energy; Edwin Haenni; Curry and Debbie Dawkins; the Kiwanis Club of Hartsville; Darlington Family Pharmacy; Burry Bookstore; Wesley United Methodist Church; Coker College; First Citizens Bank; Wanda and Terry Hassler; Coble Wealth Management LLC; Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center; Elsesser Custom Cabinetry; Hartsville Country Club; Fred and Vanessa Wilhelm; Palmetto Auto Auction; Danny and Whitney Dorsel; Prestwood Complete Dental Care; Sweeney Wingate & Barrow, PA; North Industrial Machine, LLC

Dr. Dyce with Black Creek Medical is presenting this year’s show.

Lay’Quan Williamson and Brandolyn Pinkston. Photo by Steve Roos.

Celebrity dancer Brandolyn Pinkston was honored by Columbia Business Monthly in 2018 as one of Columbia’s “50 Most Influential People.” As former administrator of the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs, she used her position to improve the quality of life for the “good people” of South Carolina. In 2017, Gov. Henry McMaster appointed her to serve on the State Ethics Commission. This Hartsville native has distinguished herself as a people’s advocate, having successfully implemented innovative consumer programs and been featured as a speaker on consumer issues across the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Pinkston also championed legislation which protects the interest of consumers, specifically on predatory and mortgage lending. Since 2011, Pinkston has extended her influence around the state as an advocate for the arts by reflecting the diversity of cultural and ethnic heritages. She currently sits on the board of trustees of the Columbia Museum of Art.

Pinkston also serves on the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Hartsville. She is a Dr. Leo Twiggs Art Scholar through the South Carolina Arts Commission and a Riley Fellow through the Diversity Leadership Institute. She currently serves on the Art of Community: Rural S.C. Advisory Committee and is a member of the Committee of 50 of the South Carolina Arts Commission’s 50th Anniversary Celebration 2017-18.

Pinkston is the daughter of the late Rev. Theodore B. and Lovis Thomas of Hartsville. She is married to Jerome L. Pinkston and has two daughters, Paula (Tony) Payton and Joya Pinkston. She is dancing to support the Pee Dee Coalition’s clarion call – to help lift the domestic violence issue to prominence and visibility, to help educate the public and victims on resources available, and to raise as much money as she can for relief efforts that can provide a haven for victims and survivors and more than anything, to encourage people to speak out.

Professional dancer Lay’Quan Williamson is a freshman at Coker College where he is a Dance Performance major. Originally from Myrtle Beach, he’s been dancing for eight years and been in eight musicals. While attending Carolina Forest High School, he was a part of an award-winning show choir for four years. Lay’Quan looks forward to giving back through his participation in Dancing with the Stars of Darlington County because he does not want any of his family members or anyone else to go through domestic abuse. He is looking forward to showcasing his outgoing personality and energetic dance moves while raising awareness for the Pee Dee Coalition.

Blade Boulware and Taylor June Cox. Photo by Steve Roos.

Celebrity dancer Taylor June Cox is a native of Darlington County. She graduated from Robert E. Lee Academy in Bishopville in 2011. She is the daughter of Regina Weatherford, owner of the Jeweler’s Bench in Darlington, and Bobby June, a partner of the Hartsville Country Club and Tobaccoville. She married Jordan Cox in 2018 and resides in Hartsville. Taylor Cox is currently manager of the Call Center of Seneca Tobacco. This call center reaches out to 30,000 stores a month promoting products and growing business. This is her first year involved with Dancing with the Stars of Darlington County.

Professional dancer Blade Boulware is originally from Columbia, but currently resides in Hartsville. Blade graduated from Coker College in May 2018 with a music degree and holds a position as a piano accompanist at the college, in addition to being an organist at St. Bartholomew Episcopal Church in Hartsville.

For the past two years, Blade has participated in Dancing with the Stars as both a professional dancer and celebrity. This year, Blade is excited to be a professional dancer once again. Blade is honored to help represent the Pee Dee Coalition in hopes of raising necessary funds and to spread awareness for this cause. He states that many times people involved with domestic and sexual assault don’t feel as though they have someone they can turn to, and many don’t. Blade believes the work that everyone involved with the Pee Dee Coalition does, helps with this and gives people a ray of hope. Blade hopes that by spreading awareness and raising funds, the Pee Dee Coalition will continue doing great work and that they can reach out to anyone going through the struggles of domestic and/or sexual assault.

Author: Rachel Howell

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