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A sold-out ballroom of over 500 guests were wowed by a spectacular night of celebrity dancing at the second annual Movers & Shakers Gala, a benefit for Lakeland College and the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra held May 30 at Lakeland.
This star-studded night featured nine well-known area celebrities in a glamorous setting complete with red-carpet glitz and gourmet cuisine. Lakeland College's Todd Wehr Center was once again transformed into a beautiful ballroom, including wall-to-wall carpeting, a massive lighting setup and huge video screens that let a who's who of Sheboygan County showcase their best moves.
The celebrities were each paired with a professional dancer, and after months of training they competed to win the support of four judges and the guests, who were busy buying votes both in the ballroom that evening and online for weeks leading up to the event. Yes, the Movers & Shakers trophy could be bought!
In an effort to spread the wealth and have more impact on the community this year, each of the nine dancers selected a local charity or nonprofit organization that will also benefit from their efforts. Half the proceeds from the votes sold for each dancer will go to those special organizations.
Deborah Wente, chair of the Movers & Shakers Gala and a Lakeland trustee, said this year's event built off the momentum of the debut of the Movers and Shakers Gala last spring, and the results once again exceeded the planning committees' expectations.
"Our goal has always been to deliver a night that offers something special and unique, and the feedback we continue to receive is that we certainly delivered," Wente said. "Lakeland and the Sheboygan Symphony are two deserving community resources, and the opportunity to expand our reach and benefit organizations that are close to the hearts of our dancers was very well received.
"A lot of people are embracing this event, and we're anxious to get started planning for the 2010 Gala."
The 2010 Movers & Shakers Gala will be held May 22 at Lakeland.
Cindy Brotz gracefully performed the waltz and took home the title, topping a field that included some of Sheboygan County's biggest names. Brotz, a well-known community volunteer, said she dreamed of being Cinderella as a young girl, and she certainly looked the part during her performance. Sheboygan Youth Sailing was her special charity.
The other eight dancers were:
Wendy Bemis, a Lakeland alumna and active community leader, and James C. Cape, a member of the SSO Board of Directors, served as emcees for the evening.
It was a full evening that alternated between celebrity dancing, a multi-course gourmet meal and a number of unique live auction items, including the opportunity to build a school in Malawi, Africa, the first two dancer spots in the 2010 Gala, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sing with the Sheboygan Symphony Chorus during the Hallelujah Chorus of Handel's "Messiah" and glamorous dancing-themed trips to Vienna, Buenos Aires and New York.
The evening's first live auction added its own special twist as Dr. Andrew Campbell, of Campbell Facial Plastic Surgery of Sheboygan, provided the winning bid and joined the three professional judges throughout the evening in scoring the efforts of each of the nine dancers. The average of the four judges accounted for 25 percent of each dancer's total score.
The meal was prepared by Lakeland's food service and served by nearly 140 enthusiastic, hard-working volunteers from Lakeland, the SSO and the community. Guests sat in beautifully-decorated tables surrounding the dance floor.
Major sponsors of this 2009 Gala were the Frank G. and Frieda K. Brotz Family Foundation and Sargento Foods Inc.
To see more information about the dancers, as well as a complete photo gallery (which will be posted later this week) visit www.moversandshakersgala.org