Cabarrus

8 local celebrities to compete in Dancing for the Arts

Local celebrity Sarah Morrison, front, and Ryan Knight, co-owner of Positively Ballroom, back, snap practice for Dancing for the Arts at Positively Ballroom in Concord. Knight is producing the fundraising event for the Cabarrus Arts Council.
Local celebrity Sarah Morrison, front, and Ryan Knight, co-owner of Positively Ballroom, back, snap practice for Dancing for the Arts at Positively Ballroom in Concord. Knight is producing the fundraising event for the Cabarrus Arts Council. Marty Price

Ryan Knight is bringing a local version of “Dancing with the Stars” to Concord with a competition that will benefit the Cabarrus Arts Council.

Knight and his wife, Mary, owners of Positively Ballroom, a studio that gives lessons in social dancing, are sponsoring a dance competition – similar to the hit television show – where the contestants compete to raise the most money for the Cabarrus Arts Council.

Knight is producing the show, pairing local celebrities, who have limited dance experience, with the professional dancers from Positively Ballroom. Each celebrity will have 10 lessons to perfect their dance for the competition.

The show will be held Nov. 14, but the voting has already started on the Arts Council web site. Each vote costs $1. “The grand prize winner will be the couple who gets the most votes and raises the most money,” said Ryan Knight.

Dick Snyder, the former headmaster at Cannon School, who now serves on the board of directors for The United Way and the Red Cross, said, “I can’t dance, don’t make me,” as he was preparing for his fourth lesson with his partner, Mary Knight, on Sept. 23.

Explaining that he has never been able to dance, Snyder said he dropped his wife when he meant to dip her at their wedding 22 years ago, and all attempts to teach him since then have failed. “They are trying to overcome my feeling that I can’t dance,” he said.

Mary Knight said, “I think he is doing better than he thinks he is doing.” The two were getting ready to practice their dance while Snyder tried to hurry Sarah Morrison, realtor and co-owner of MB Property Management and another of the celebrity dancers, out the door, hoping to keep his performance secret until the night of the show.

Morrison said Ryan Knight is a wonderful partner and she has learned a lot from him. “I have absolutely no dance experience,” she said. “To win a dance competition when you cannot dance would be a wonderful thing.”

Snyder and Morrison will be competing against professional photographer Mike Anderson, paired with Robin Contre; Donna Carpenter, president and CEO of the Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau, paired with Ryan Knight; former Miss Cabarrus County McKenzie Faggart, currently not paired; George Griffith, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Connexion360, Supernova Health and M2 Communications, paired with Wendy Irvin; Mayor Scott Padgett, paired with Holly Cagle; and Phyllis Wingate, president of Carolinas HealthCare System NorthEast, paired with Jason Stein.

Each celebrity dancer worked with a professional dance partners to pick the music and work out the steps for their performances.

“We’re hoping people will vote for as many of the stars as they want to, as often as they want to,” said Noelle Rhodes Scott, president and CEO of the Cabarrus Arts Council, adding that the online voting will continue until the day of the show. To help build the anticipation, the council is not going to announce the numbers until after the live voting that night.

On the night of the show, a grand prize will be awarded to the couple who raises the most money, “an original work of art or a trophy that is an original work of art, we’re not sure which,” Scott said . A judges’ choice and a peoples’ choice award – which will be determined by an applause meter – will also be given, she said.

Scott said guests will be treated to a “noshing and sipping” dinner reception before the show and a “Dancing Under the Stars” after party with more “noshing and sipping” to complete the evening.

“If you want some entertainment, not necessarily good dancing, but good entertainment, come to see the show,” Snyder said. “If you do want tickets, you better get them because they are going fast, and there are only 250 seats in that theater.”

Marty Price is a freelance writer: martyprice53@gmail.com

Want to go?

Dancing for the Arts will begin at 6 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Davis Theatre, in the Historic Cabarrus County Courthouse, 65 Union St. S., Concord. For more information on the Cabarrus Arts Council go to www.cabarrusartscouncil.org

To vote for the local celebrities with your $1 contribution go to www.cabarrusartscouncil.org/dfta

VIP tickets for the first three rows of the theater are $150 each. All other tickets are $100 each. Tickets include dinner along with the after-party and can be purchased at: cabarrusartscouncil.tix.com/Event.aspx?EventCode=788858

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