Dancing with the Stars
More than 250 attend fundraiser
March 10, 2014
Beth and David Swearingen perform a waltz during Saturday night’s “Dancing With the Stars”-themed event in Manning. Hosted by the Manning Rotary Club, the majority of the funds raised will be used to provide three $500 college scholarships to IKM-Manning seniors.
Attendees at Manning Rotary Club's fourth annual "Dancing With the Stars" fundraising event saw it all Saturday night, from the tiny tappers who opened the show, to the leotard-clad man who stole it, with ballroom, pleather and cheesecake in between.
Held in the Konferenz Center in the Manning Hausbarn, the event was live-streamed to the Manning Senior Center and Third and Main, a bar in downtown Manning.
Voting raised $1,333 - $1 to vote for a couple and $2 to take away a vote from a couple - in addition to ticket sales. Rotary President Brian Irlbeck estimates the event raised $1,800 to $2,000, the majority of which will be used to fund three $500 college scholarships for IKM-Manning students.
In character as judges were Dr. Robert Vonnahme as the enthusiastic Bruno, banker Kevin Boyle as the dry Len, and celebrity guest judge Star 102.5 Des Moines morning radio personality Colleen Kelly as the sincere Carrie Ann.
Dancing couples included Nikki Sorensen and Stephanie Rosonke, first in poodle skirts as Laverne and Shirley, then in cop-and-robber attire; Miranda Irlmeier and Dustin Christiansen performed a country-western dance and a waltz; first-time participants Lisa Steffensmeier and Kody Kerkhoff performed a country-western dance and a tango; Beth and David Swearingen performed a country-western dance and a waltz; and brother-sister duo Sarah Lorenzen and Scott Eickman defended their 2012 title as champions with interpretive pieces to a mash-up of music ranging from the "Ghostbusters" theme song to Beyonce's "Single Ladies."
The mirrored ball trophy was presented by Elvis, known to friends as Heather Kusel.
"(We're) very humbled," Eickman said of the win. "It helps when you have the crowd cheering for you."
"We have a lot of support here tonight," Lorenzen agreed.
The pair credited YouTube videos for inspiring their choreography, as well as a "Saturday Night Live" parody of Beyonce's hit single featuring Justin Timberlake, Bobby Moynihan and Andy Samberg as backup dancers in leotards and heels.
"Sarah wanted to do the song, and I was like, 'Cool, you can do the whole leotard thing,'" Eickman said.
"Then I'm like, 'I'm not wearing a leotard, you're wearing a leotard,'" Lorenzen interjected.
"Literally this last week, Sarah's like, 'I'm not doing the leotard,'" Eickman agreed.
"It took lots of convincing," Lorenzen added with a laugh.
Choreographing the dances for the other couples was Susan Glass, longtime Carroll resident and former ballroom instructor at Iowa State University. Glass began dancing at age 5 and never stopped. She helped teach participants in the Manning event all four years.
Glass said that she was "honored" to have been a part of the event.
"Each dance is unique to each couple," she said, citing their progression through the dance lessons as her favorite part. "I've met some really, really neat people. Thank all of you for being a part of my life."
The event was catered by Lidderdale Country Store. The show opened with the Sassy Saints tapping group from Sherri and Julie's Dance in Denison. Don Luensmann and Chantelle Grove served as emcees while Dan Grove provided the music and lighting.
Kelly, who had never heard of Manning a few weeks ago, received a tour of the area including Main Street, the new Manning Regional Healthcare Center site and Templeton Rye. She said residents should be proud.
"I'm very impressed with the amount of money going back into this community," she said. "They're really investing back into the city, and that's great when so many small towns are just failing."
Irlbeck cited the evening as a success.
"In small-town Iowa, how can you have this kind of entertainment? You never know what's going to happen," he said, estimating that between 250 and 260 people attended.
But, in a small town, it can be hard to find people willing to dance year after year, so the Rotary will take a break from the event next year, he said.
Instead, it will host a Mardi Gras Jazz Festival on Feb. 14, 2015, featuring southern-style food, the Manning Jazz Band, the All Strings Attached Orchestra and the Wahling Big Band. Costumes and masks are welcome.
The organizing committee for this year's event included Ruth Ohde, Allison River, Jean Behrens and Geri Spies.
"It's a great function," said Rep. Dan Mulhbauer, D-Manilla, in attendance to cheer for the Swearingens, his daughter and son-in-law. "It shows how a small community can really come together."
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