More than 45 amateur and professional dancers, and one horse, performed on stage at Cherry Hill High School West on Sunday, May 3, in the 2015 Dancing with the Cherry Hill Stars, the signature fundraising event of the Cherry Hill Education Foundation.
The event raised more than $62,400 via sponsorships, advertising, and donations received through online “voting” prior to the show and from the audience at the event.
The funds raised by this and other Foundation-sponsored initiatives are used to fund grant applications submitted by teachers for innovative educational opportunities for the students of the Cherry Hill Public Schools.
Foundation President Eleanor Stofman called this year’s event the most successful ever and praised the efforts of the participants, teachers, students, community leaders, and professionals, who delighted the sold-out audience with their energy, talent, stage presence and bravery. She also credited the creativity and professionalism of the show’s volunteer director, Drew Molotsky, and his crew.
This year’s show had a country and western theme as evidenced by the entry of Master of Ceremonies Greg Gagliardi riding on stage astride a prancing white horse to the strains of “Rhinestone Cowboy.” Gagliardi, a journalism teacher at Cherry Hill East, participated as a dancer in the first Dancing with the Cherry Hill Stars in 2008 and has emceed every show since.
The first place trophy in Sunday’s competition went to local entrepreneur Larry Schreiber and his partner Catrina Toews, who had with the highest fundraising total. They garnered more than $17,500 in sponsorships and donations, breaking the show’s record for donations received by a dancing couple.
Two couples received honorable mention awards:
- Melanie Montana, a holistic health coach and fitness instructor, and her partner Marty Feltz, president and manager of Dance Time of New Jersey. Montana received more than 100 individual donations, the highest number in the show’s history, and raised more than $6,000.
- Jane Abo, who works at the communications desk at Cherry Hill East, and her partner David Lyon, a professional dancer, had the second highest number of individual donations, and raised nearly $7,000.
Special judges’ awards went to the following couples:
- Best overall performance: Alyssa Cabrera, a labor and delivery nurse at Virtua, professional salsa dancer, and fitness instructor at the Cherry Hill Health and Racquet Club, and her partner Dr. David Hulbert, an OB/GYN with Advocare Burlington County Obstetrics and Gynecology.
- Most creative performance: Henry Gosik, owner of the local catering business Sensational Host, and his partner Debbie Rider, an occupational therapist, hand therapist, and certified laughter yoga instructor. Also earning most creative performance honors were Jane Abo and David Lyon.
- Best technical performance: Laurie Smith, who with her husband owns and operates Kempo Family Fitness Center and BFC Architectural Signage, and her partner Joe DeMarco, owner of DeMarco Dance Center in Merchantville.
Also competing in the show were:
- Frankie Rowles, student, actor, and staff member at Garden State Discovery Museum, and his partner Sarah DuVall Pearson, singer, dancer, and artistic director of the Cherry Hill Performing Arts Center.
- Debra Orrio and Mike Ciavarella, teachers at Cherry Hill High School West.
- Iris Gutin, administrative assistant at Rosa International Middle School, and Matt Elliott, a tap teacher and special events planner.
- Bob Errichetti, an investment advisor with Met Life, and Amy Yerkes, a local dancer.
- Michele Wolf, co-owner and artistic director of artists in Motion Dance Studio, and Alan Saperstein, a dancer and teacher based in Maple Shade.
- Janine Cooney, Chelsea Dolchin, Michelle Kosmaczewski, and Kim McAllister, Cherry Hill teachers at High School East, Barton Elementary, Barton Elementary, and Mann Elementary, respectively. All four participate in the 5:30 a.m. “Groove” class at Cherry Hill Health and Racquet Club, hence their group name “The Groovers.”
- Rebecca Cohen and Jordyn Kopelson, students at Cherry Hill High School East.
- Bob Malkin, retired businessman and former owner of Bob’s Jean Market, and Lindsey Krier, a dance teacher at Happy Feet Dance Studio.
- Gina Iacoviello Perazza, Republic Bank vice president and store manager of the Cherry Hill location, and Paul Grande, a test methods engineer at Lockheed Martin and competitive Country Western dancer.
- Gail Cohen, former assistant to the Superintendent of the Cherry Hill Public Schools, and Noel Rodriquez, salsa dancer and owner of Algorhythm Studio.
The show opened with a performance entitled “Mountain Showdown” choreographed by Marjie Major and featuring “The Jersey Boys and Friends,” Matt Cohen, Steve Kantor, Larry Maister, Brad Molotsky, Laci DeLuca, Natalie Gibson, Dominique Visco, and Victoria Visco.
The show also featured vocalists Lisa Diaz, Sarah DuVall Pearson, Tierney Lee Howard, and Lucas Kappler, and guitarist John Demko.