John Tiffany and Aileen Hord Daly got the voters' nod Thursday evening for their “Tango of the Sexes” at Dancing With the Aiken Stars 2012.
The duo took home the Overall Award trophy once the audience's votes were tallied. The Judges' Choice trophy went to Leo Muniz and Lyddie Hansen for their dance to “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets,” and the trophy for People's Choice went to dance ensemble Lose Your Blues for “Footloose on Fire.”
“Does this mean I'm going to have to come up with nine of these things?” despaired award co-presenter Steve Floyd on giving the crystal trophy to Lose Your Blues. Floyd and co-presenter Tom Williams, co-owners of Floyd & Green Jewelers, sponsored the three crystal trophies for the event.
Also competing were Beth Barranco and Buzz Rich, who danced to “No Parking on the Dance Floor;” Aja Vaughn and Ahmed Samaha, who did a few of the dances listed in “Do You Love Me?”; Connie Young and David Stinson, who evoked island breezes with “Little Grass Shack;” Anne Thomasson and Wesley Hightower, who channeled their inner Ike and Tina for “Proud Mary;” Lydia Sudick Bibeau and Cody Anderson, who danced to “Everybody Talks;” Lisa Tharpe Bernard and Brad King looked to Hollywood musicals for “The Best Things Happen When You're Dancing” and Susie Player, Julie Adams, Rick McLeod and Cam Scott worked on the chain gang for “In the Jailhouse Now.”
The competition was all in fun, but for a serious cause – proceeds from the event will be divided between the Community Medical Clinic of Aiken County and the Child Advocacy Center. Last year's dance-off raised around $100,000 for the agencies, according to organizer Betty Ryberg, and all involved hope to top that this year.
“We started planning last year, when we said we didn't need to do another one, but it was so much fun we just had to, and the agencies that benefited were thrilled,” Ryberg said. “This year we have 30 dancers, and some dancers from last year are back to do entertainment numbers. It makes you realize people want to jump on that stage and dance.”
That certainly applied in the case of Community Medical Clinic treasurer Chad Matthews, who danced with “Lose Your Blues” Thursday.
“This is one of our signature fundraising events. It helps us to help Aiken's neediest residents keep from falling through the cracks,” Matthews said. “I wanted to dance because I believe you've got to practice what you preach. It gets me out of my comfort zone. I hope it will help the next generation understand how to give back, as wonderful fundraisers like Betty Ryberg do now.”
For those unable to attend Thursday's festivities, a DVD of Dancing With the Aiken Stars will be available to purchase through ASTV and aikenstandard.com.
Suzanne Stone is a general assignment reporter at the Aiken Standard. She is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art & Design and studied communications at Augusta State University.