Elvis Takes Home Disco Ball Trophy

2015 Dancing Stars
Dave Smith receives the coveted disco ball trophy after winning the 2015 Dancing with Your Hermiston Stars Saturday night.

[quote style=”2″]Dave Smith Wins Dancing with Hermiston Stars Competition[/quote]

Elvis left the building Saturday night and he took with him the disco ball trophy.

Elvis – otherwise known as Dave Smith – rocked the jailhouse during his performance of the swing during the third annual Dancing with Your Hermiston Stars.

Smith, owner of O So Kleen, was initially a reluctant dancer.

“I was asked to do this two years ago and I didn’t do it,” he said in a video moments prior to taking to the dance floor in a mock prison uniform. “Then I was asked again and thought, ‘This is for charity.’”

Smith and the other dancers – dancing with professional partners from the Utah Ballroom Dance Company, each raised money for a favorite charity. The winner was determined by scores given by a panel of judges (Phil Hamm, Angela Purcell and Mark Ettesvold), audience and Facebook votes. Audience members voted for their favorite dancer by putting their ballot – or money – in a jar representing the contestants’ charity.

The event, presented by the Desert Arts Council and sponsored by Umatilla-Morrow Head Start, featured a movie theme with dancers playing characters from popular movies. The evening got under way with a rousing opening number performed by 18 local children to the tune of Rock Around the Clock before Dawn Kennison-Kerrigan got the competition started with a high-energy Charlston.

Portraying Roxie from the film Chicago, Kennison-Kerrigan, a fourth-grade teacher at Desert View Elementary School, scored a 21 from the judges and afterwards said she was relieved to have made it through the number.

“I feel great – I’m done!” said Kennison-Kerrigan, who danced to raise money for the Hermiston Warming Station.

Next up was Smith portraying Elvis’ character from Jailhouse Rock. After compiling a score of 22 from the judges, Smith was asked where he got his prison garb.

“When I got out about four months ago . . .” he said before laughter filled the auditorium. Smith’s charity was Campus Life in Hermiston.

2015 Dancing Stars 2
The contestants and their professional partners take final bow.
Next up was a fox trot performed by John Wambeke, owner of Wambeke Cleaning. Dressed as Inspector Jacques Clouseau from the Pink Panther films, said prior to the number that he wanted to get his partner to teach him every little detail “because I want to get it right.”

The judges – and audience – liked his performance and gave him a 26. Judge Purcel made special note of one aspect of Wambeke’s outfit.

“I like that you stayed true to yourself and wore cowboy boots,” she said. “I’ve never seen that on the dance floor.” Wambeke was raising money for the Hermiston Band Boosters and its efforts to send the marching band to next December’s Holiday Bowl in San Diego.

Hermiston business owner Eric Reise, dressed as Capt. Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, danced the pasa doble with his partner, Chandler. Reise, whose charity is the Hermiston Rotary Club Foundation, said his favorite part of the week was getting to know his partner and the other dancers. The hardest part?

“Facing the ridicule from Erica Sandoval,” he said.

He might face even more good-natured ribbing from Sandoval after she outscored his 26 with the night’s only perfect score of 30. Sandoval, a crime prevention specialist for the Hermiston Police Department, raised money for the Hermiston Education Foundation. She had a word of warning for those who were tempted to vote for another contestant:

“Just a reminder – I carry a taser,” she said

Sandoval danced the mambo as Baby from Dirty Dancing. She said she was apprehensive at the start of the week, but gave her partner, Brian, a lot of credit.

“He’s been really great encouraging me and teaching me.”

Kristi Smalley, vice president of the Arc of Umatilla County, performed the waltz as Cinderella.

She said she was looking forward to the competition even if she was on the sore side from a week of rehearsals.

“I’m feeling a few muscles that I didn’t even know I had,” she said.

Smalley was raising money for the Arc.

“I knew it would be a great way to get the word out about the Arc,” she said.

When the contestants were finished with their dances, the Utah Ballroom Dance Company entertained the audience with an impressive dance production.

The next Desert Arts Council production will be on Feb. 27 when the rich rhythms and vibrant colors of Cirque Zuma comes to town with its assortment of acrobatics, contortion, juggling and dance.

The final event of the season will be the 11th Annual Eastern Oregon Arts Festival on May 8-19 on Main Street in Hermiston. Be sure to check out the Desert Arts Council Facebook page for more details.

For more information call 541-567-1800.