Stars cha cha for charity

Benefit raises $90,000 for Alzheimer's group

From the salsa, tango and waltz, to the foxtrot and cha cha, Dancing Stars of Augusta contestants danced the night away at Bell Auditorium on Friday in a benefit that raised $90,000 for the Georgia Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.


Terra Carroll, a director with the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce, received the Judge's Choice Award after dancing the cha cha in spite of a leg injury.

Don Bailey, the president of The Augusta Chronicle, snagged the People's Choice Award for raising the most money, with $14,867.

Each dancing pair was responsible for raising a minimum of $5,000 for the Alzheimer's Association. Each dollar raised by the celebrities counted as a vote.

"The beauty of this event is it brings together an evening of fun and entertainment with a cause that all too often touches on our more somber and serious emotions," said Leslie Anderson, the CEO of the Georgia Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.

Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in our nation, deaths from the disease are increasing and there is no treatment or cure, Anderson said.

"But there is hope thanks to the Alzheimer's Association," she said.

Ten local celebrities performed choreographed ballroom dance routines for attendees. Similar to ABC's Dancing With the Stars , each celebrity was paired with a professional dance partner, provided by The Ballroom Dance Center, and started learning a ballroom dance routine in March.

The 2011 celebrity cast of Dancing Stars of Augusta included Abu Khan, Amy Winn, Angela Hillesland, Austin Rhodes, Deanna Brown-Thomas, Julian Osbon, Mary Linda Chambers and Sean Frantom.

The dancers were scored on ballroom competition judging criteria, including posture, timing, hold, poise, presentation and entertainment value.

The judges included Ron Jones, a professional dancer and instructor at Columbia County Ballet; Shizuo "Z" Kuwahara, the music director and conductor at Symphony Orchestra Augusta; and Simon Curtis, a physician at Biotest.

Synkronisity Youth Dance Group also performed at the event.

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See more than 390 photos from Friday's Dancing Stars of Augusta event.