By Helaine R. Williams
Arkansas Democrat Gazette
A troupe of Irish dancers stole the show, and the trophy, at the eighth annual Dancing Into Dreamland. The event, hosted by the Friends of Dreamland, was held on Nov. 3 in the ballroom, part of Taborian Hall Museum in Little Rock.
A silent auction kicked off the evening. Board member Ryk St. Vincentand event founder Kerry McCoy made opening remarks before yeilding the mics to KTHV’s Craig O’Neill and Adam “Poolboy” Dunaway of KLAL, “Alice” 107.7.
Sarah and Rick Pinedo, 2016 winners, performed an exhibition tango just before competition began. The O’Donovan School of Irish Dance stole the competition with its fancy footwork. Fan favorites were students from Shuffles and Ballet II, performing a musical-theater routing to “Shoeless Joe.”
Other contestants included Megan Walker and Micah McClung, who danced the Lindy Hop. Five-year-old Nora Robertson and her adult partner, Daniel Felts, performed an East Coast Swing routine. New Creation Dance Co. did a bit of dance-versus-viloin performance art. Ziege Morehart and Devin Conyer, brought the bolero. Kim and Mike Nelson got the crowd engaged with “their own brand of sexy dance” (complete with jungle costumes); Abby Robertson and Daniel Felts chose a little cha-cha.
Judging the contest were David Miller – Swingin’ Down the Lane radio-show host – and recipient of a special award of the night for his long time participation in the contest. Also judging were Anna Kimmel, Arkansas Reparatory Theatre director of education; and restaurateur Amy Kelley Bell of South on Main. Guests texted their votes at the end of the competition segment.
Proceeds will go toward an elevator for the Dreamland Ballroom, the site of big-name concerts for black audiences during the days of Jim Crow segregation. The ballroom was featured in the regional Emmy Award Winning documentary Dream Land: Little Rock’s West 9th Street.
See photos from the event here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/dreamlandballroom/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10159770140310121