Dancing with the Stars of Darlington County: Meet the Dancers


It’s almost time again to hit the dance floor. Dancing With the Stars of Darlington County, an annual charity event benefiting the Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault, will be staged once again at the Center Theater in Hartsville. The event will take place January 25, 2018.

To follow along with the training and get updates on the event, visit them on Facebook and on their website at www.darlingtoncountydancingwiththestars.com. The community can also vote for their favorite couple to win the People’s Choice Award. General Admission tickets are now available on the website for $45.

The big night is here so this week’s feature is our last couple.

This week’s dancers are:
• Maria Jones (Professional) & Craig Morris (Celebrity)
-Dance Style: Quickstep; Broadway Show: Grease (Choreographer: Burnadene Kelley-Newman)

Celebrity Dancer Craig Morris is a native of Hartsville, SC and 1984 graduate of Hartsville High School. His senior year he was voted as the first Mr. Hartsville High School. Craig has been in the automotive business since the age of 20 and for the last 12 years has been the Shop Manager for Gibson’s Wheel Alignment. Craig says he has done his best to contribute to the community by serving with truth, honesty, and a high degree of personal integrity. His hobbies include spending time with family, cooking, supporting USC and Hartsville High School football, and having a great devotion to his wife, Lori Martin Morris. Craig strongly supports this cause because he has a wife, two daughters, and two granddaughters that he would protect with his life. He believes there is no greater cause than to stand up for domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Professional Dancer Maria Jones grew up in Decatur, Alabama and attended the University of Alabama before entering the USAF where she met and married her husband of 28 years, Bryan. They have a son Eli (Kaitlyn) and a daughter Emily. Since childhood, volunteerism has been an important family tradition. Maria has served in many different volunteer capacities, in leadership and board positions for 20+ years, most recently serving as the 2011-2013 President of the Women’s League of Hartsville. She loves spending her free time with family and friends, traveling, and watching college football…ROLL TIDE! Maria happily accepted the challenge to dance for the Pee Dee Coalition. She hopes to do her best to raise money, awareness of domestic and sexual assault, and to make her family proud.

Choreographer Burnadene Kelley-Newman is the owner and director of KFA which is currently celebrating its 29th year. She began her dance education at the age of six. Her natural talent and passion for dance was discovered and continued through high school and college. She received a BA in Dance, as well as, a BA in Elementary Education from Columbia College. Her special training includes not only dance but cheerleading, runway, print and commercial modeling, theatre, and music (both instrumental and vocal). Burnadene is a certified member of Dance Masters of America. Since KFA’s beginning, some of her accomplishments and awards include: Business Women of the Year, Who’s Who Among Business Professionals, serving on the South Carolina Dance Colloquium, the I.V. League honor of distinction for Innerviews Magazine, TV 13’s Pee Dee Hero Award, and receiving the honor of a sponsorship for the first studio Chapter in South Carolina for the National Honor Society for Dance Arts. She is also the former director of the Phantom Dance Team and was the choreographer and director of the AIFA Championship halftime shows for 2007 and 2008. She has enjoyed choreographing with the Florence Little Theater in 2009 for their production of Peter Pan, in 2014 for the Wizard of Oz, and in 2015 for Mary Poppins. Mrs. Burnadene served as the 2010/2011 head cheer coach for the FMU Patriots cheerleaders and directed the “Vipettes”, the dance team for the PeeDee Vipers basketball team 2013-2015. She has served as a performer for Clarendon DWTS, Cheraw DWTS, and Florence DWTS. She has been the director of choreography for Florence DWTS since its beginning in 2011. She also has directed the Cheraw DWTS, Lee County DWTS and Kershaw County DWTS and is presently a choreographer for the Darlington DWTS. Burnadene is not only the owner and director of KFA but also the founder of the KFA Dance Company who is well known in the state of South Carolina and beyond. She has 7 studio locations – Florence, Lake City, Turbeville, Bishopville, Hartsville, Camden and Cheraw, and has taught dance to thousands of students, some of which are children of former students. Burnadene is very active in the local community as well as the dance world at large. She has taken her students to perform in places such as Las Vegas, New York City, MGM studios, Carnival, Royal Caribbean cruise lines, the Orange Bowl, the Gator Bowl, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, Universal Studios, Disney, and many more. She has received numerous top choreographer, teacher, and director awards. Mrs. Burnadene and her KFA dancers have provided the entertainment for the Miss South Carolina pageant, the AIFA National Halftime, Harlem Globetrotters, and many halftime shows for college basketball games. Most recently Miss Burnadene was featured in an article “Dances on Demand” in the September issue of Dance Studio Life Magazine. She and her dancers have recently been a part of a dance movie called “One Family”, featuring studios from around the US and Canada. Mrs. Burnadene resides in Florence with her husband, Sid, and they are the proud parents of five children.

Author: mrollins

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