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The Crowd: Putting on those dancing shoes

April 11, 2012|By B.W. Cook
  • Sara Guggenheim Jarrett with professional dancer Eddie Alba.
Sara Guggenheim Jarrett with professional dancer Eddie… (TIMMY, Daily Pilot )

Cuban heartthrob William Levy, one of the dancers on the current season ofABC's"Dancing With The Stars," was not there.

He was, however, overshadowed by Newport's Brett Lawrence, voted "Best Male Dancer" at the recent 2012 Assistance League of Newport-Mesa's major fundraising event, billed as "Dancing for Tomorrow's Stars."

Lawrence, the tall lanky, cowboy son of the much-loved Jeannie Lawrence, had all the ladies' hearts aflutter in the audience. The competition was serious.

Lawrence joined "Best Female Dancer" Sara Guggenheim Jarrett, "Most Debonair Male Dancer" Mike Sanchez, "Most Sparkly Female Dancer" Ashley Hickson, "Most Elegant Dancer" Heidi Miller, and finally "The Most Wow Dancer" Adam Aldrich for a spectacular show that truly rivaled the professional version watched by millions every Monday night.

All the contestants took their assignments seriously, rehearsing for countless hours with professional dance partners. The acts were choreographed to challenging music and the costumes were on par with the best Hollywood wardrobe handlers could muster.

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The March 24 dinner show was the fifth annual "Dancing for Tomorrow's Stars" event, which also heralded the 72nd anniversary of the Assistance League Newport-Mesa in Orange County. The venue of choice was The Grove of Anaheim, a World War II-era showroom with a massive band shell-like stage that faced classic tiered nightclub seating.

The local crowd, dressed to impress, filled The Grove to the rafters with both a contingent of longtime Assistance League supporters and a huge crowd of young professionals turning out to get involved with a charitable effort, which has been a mainstay of assistance to disadvantaged children in the Newport-Mesa community.

The evening was fronted by League President Judy Weightman and co-chaired by the very chic Jill Ayres and Jim McAleer, who was voted "Best Male Dancer" at the 2010 event and wanted to lend his talent to producing this year's spectacular show. Emceed by the Newport Coast's celebrity Mindy Stearns, a contributor to PBS SoCal's "Real Orange," and entertainment journalist George Pennacchio of " Eyewitness News," the event had all the "zing" and the "zang" of a real live television dance competition.

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