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January 05. 2014 8:05PM

Newport’s ballroom dancers to take to the stage

NEWPORT — Dancing with the Stars of Newport will return for its fifth year, and tickets are available for the typically sold-out shows, said organizer Donna Mahair.

The ballroom dancing competition that pairs dancers from the Newport Ballroom dance school with a mix of community members, including teachers, shop owners, community leaders and members of both the business and nonprofit segments of town, will to be held at the Newport Opera House Jan. 24 and 25, said Mahair, Newport Area Chamber of Commerce Chamber board member and owner of the Petal Patch.

This year’s lineup includes Lieghann King of Sugar River Bank; Laura Kessler, board of director of the Newport Opera House and board member of the Newport Historical Society; Diane Coronis, owner of Coronis Market; Donna Moulton, hospice nurse for Connecticut Valley Home Health Care; Tami McNamara, 31 Mane Street hairstylist; Brian Tait, local Budweiser salesman; Guenter Hubert, Hubert’s Clothing Store owner; Brad Palmer, Newton-Bartlett Funeral Home employee and Sunapee firefighter; electrician Brent Morin; and longtime Newport teacher Dan Cherry, who recently became a Claremont School District principal.

The Newport Area Chamber of Commerce and the Sullivan County United Way sponsor the event. Profits are split equality between the Chamber and the United Way.

Natalie Mavor Miles, a professional ballroom dancer and owner of Newport Ballroom, takes care of the dancing side of the evening, working with the Stars and pairing them with students, many of whom work and compete professionally, Mahair said.

“It’s just like ‘Dancing with the Stars,’” Mahair said, referring to the hit television show.

After the first half of the show, audience members vote. The second half of the show is a mix between performances by Miles and her dancers and past participants of Dancing with the Newport Stars.

While audience members may not know all of the Newport Stars, they will know someone like Cherry, who many longtime residents had as a teacher. Then the contestants and their community ties are highlighted during the event through video clips and ribbing from the panel of judges and master of ceremony.

“It’s a phenomenal event. The first year we did it, I said I wanted to say a first name and have everybody know what I meant. And that’s what happened,” Mahair said.

The event has always been held two nights in a row because the nights sell out, 600 people per night, she said, so there are usually different winners each night.

Tickets are $20 and can still be purchased at the Petal Patch or reserved by calling 863-3833.


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