Another successful Dancing for a Cause benefits Arc community

Logan Ridenour
Star Dancers Dr. Le'Brian Patrick and Dr. Samantha Gulino jive at the 2019 Dancing for a Cause event, benefitting the Arc of East Ascension.

Members of the Ascension Parish community gathered at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center for the annual Dancing for a Cause. The packed building was a warm reminder of the reason everyone was together –to support the Arc of East Ascension.

Since 2009, Dancing for a Cause has been a premiere fundraising event to support the agency and the services they provide. Although Dancing for a Cause has been around for 10 years, the Arc of East Ascension has brought people together for over 50 years.

The agency began as a group of parents in 1964 who wanted to find an alternative means of education and activities for their children with developmental disabilities.

Now, as the largest non-profit agency in Ascension Parish, the Arc of East Ascension continues to grow thanks to community contributions at events like Dancing for a Cause.

"Your donations and funding for Dancing for a Cause goes to help us create quality services for the individuals we serve," Executive Director Dr. Liz Fussell said.

This year, Center Stage Performing Arts Academy opened the show with a dance performance based on Tarzan.

The hosts, Kiran Chawla and Greg Meriwether opened with welcoming comments and introduction of the judges. The judges this year were Maxine Crump, CEO Dialogue on Race Louisiana, Chad Sabadie, FOX 44's evening news anchor, and Kelly Pepper, the President and CEO of Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations.

After the judges' introductions, in the words of Sabadie, "It's Saturday night Louisiana, lets dance!"

The 2019 star dancer line-up included Rachel Vallot, Hope Guedry, Megan M. Babin, Ricky Dickmyer, Dr. Samantha Gulino, Joel Robert, Elizabeth Vowell, Barker Dirmann, and Andrea Carroll.

A variety of dance styles were performed by the star dancers however, the star performance of the night came from the Arc Dancers who performed to Watch Me (Whip and Nae Nae). Their performance took place right before the intermission and video of the guest speaker, Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser.

"I have long been a big supporter of the Arc of East Ascension and all the work they do for the special needs in your community," Nungesser said. "I will continue to offer my support now, and in the future."

Thanks to the support of the community on nights like Dancing for a Cause, the Arc of East Ascension will be able to uphold their vision to ensure a quality of life through education, employment, housing, recreation, access to services, and community and family involvement.

Honors to this year's dancers include:

Elizabeth Vowell - Most company in-kind donations (WAFB Channel 9)

Fan's Choice - Hope Guedry

Silver Award - Ricky Dickmyer, Andrea Carroll

Gold Award - Joel Robert, Dr. Samantha Gulino

Platinum Award - Hope Guedry

Judges' Choice - Andrea Carroll

Special Award Recognition:

Electric Energy Award - Dr. Gulino and Dr. Patrick, "Footloose"

Captivating Emotion Award - Megan Babin and Leonard Augustus Jr., "Shallow"

Fabulous Footwork Award - Ricky Dickmyer and Jerisse Grantham, "Uptown Funk"

Simply Sensational Award - Joel Robert and Joanna Chustz, "You Say"

Bling-Tastic Beauty Award - Elizabeth Vowell and Dr. Patrick, "Disco Inferno"

Partner Perfection Award - Andi Carroll and Dwight Bell, "Hey Pachuco"

Thrilling Throwback Award - Barker Dirmann and Hannah Hinson, "Sing Sing Sing"

Sweet Moves Award - Rachel Vallot and Van Vo, "Sucker"

Aerial Elegance Award - Hope Guedry and Leonard Augustus Jr., "Hustle"

"The 10th year Diamond Anniversary was an evening of elegance," PR/Marketing Director, Event Chair and Organizer Sharon Morris said. "Music and dancing filled the air. Star Dancers danced the night away. My heart danced with joy to see so much love shown by our wonderful community. Thank you to our wonderful sponsors, supporters, staff, volunteers, and dancers for all the support over the years.

"We would not have made it to this 10th year Diamond Anniversary without all the love and support that has been given."

Click here to see our Dancing for a Cause photo gallery.