ANDERSON, Ind. — It was magical.
This year, 14 couples glittered, glided and sashayed their way into one of the fiercest Dancing Like the Stars competitions organizers have ever seen.
“I’m glad I’m not one of the judges this season,” said Ben Davis, a committee member for the event. “The competition is really that close.”
The sixth annual Dancing Like the Stars benefit for the Paramount Theatre featured performances and costumes that sizzled with style and graceful elegance.
From a bolero to a tango, this year’s participants were in it to win it.
Dana Stone floated effortlessly across the stage in a sparkling, snowy white gown befitting a Disney fairytale before sliding into her partner’s outstretched arms during her performance.
Not to be outdone, contestant William Kopp blazed into his performance with a flame shirt and used his partner, who was dressed in a flashy black and white outfit, as an imaginary keyboard to the tune of “Great Balls of Fire.”
The audience roared with approval.
And with only a dozen empty rows at the back of the theater, it was a large crowd.
“It was nearly a sold-out event,” said Davis. “We had no idea what would happen considering the weather.”
An unofficial count by a woman collecting tickets for the event was 595.
“We raised $70,000 last year and we were shooting for that number again this year,” Davis said.
This year was also special because officials had a surprise for everyone in attendance — including the performers.
“We have a third award this year and it’s a secret,” said Davis, pulling a golden ticket from his tuxedo pocket.
Contestants and audience members were told there would be two mirror balls awarded at the night’s end, one for the judge’s choice and one for the people’s choice. At the conclusion of event, however, a special third award was announced.