Delaware Stars set to hit to the dance floor for charity

DOVER –– For the seventh consecutive year, local celebrities and socialites will pair with experienced dancers, taking the stage to raise money for programs benefiting children and their parents.

“Dancing with the Delaware Stars” is set for Jan. 30 at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino and will benefit Mom’s House and the Greater Dover Boys & Girls Club.

Mom’s House is a service that provides free childcare to single parents furthering their education. The program offers a 3-to-1 child to caregiver ratio.

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Husband and wife duo Gregory and Alexys Daut, Bayhealth doctors by day, will be dancers at night on Jan. 30 at the seventh annual Dancing with the Delaware Stars at Dover Downs Hotel and Conference Center. (Delaware State News/Ashton Brown)

“This is the first year we’ve worked with the Boys & Girls Club and it just seemed like a perfect match because we work with kids 4 years or under while the Boys & Girls Club works with kids a little older, and they could be the same kids that leave Mom’s House,” said Terri Brown, board president of Mom’s House and coordinator of the event.

Ten dancing pairs will perform a two-minute show to whatever music and whichever dancing style they choose.

One of the pairs, Gregory and Alexys Daut, are husband and wife and both Bayhealth doctors. But Mrs. Daut, a family practice physician, possesses the dancing talent and took the lead choreographing and teaching the dance.

“I’m not much of a dancer,” said Mr. Daut, an orthopedic surgeon. “But we’ve been practicing since November so I have it memorized pretty well but we just changed the song.”

The pair was planning on dancing to a Pentatonix medley of Daft Punk but didn’t think the music was engaging enough so they switched to Elle King’s “Exes and Ohs.”

“Greg’s been such a good sport but I know he’s pretty nervous,” Mrs. Daut said.

“The main goal for me is to go out there and not look like an idiot,” he said.

Since he’s nervous, Mrs. Daut made flyers for him to hand out to his coworkers about the competition.

“I knew he wouldn’t go around telling people to come to the event and see us dance so I made it easier by making the flyers so we can get some support,” Mrs. Daut said.

Each team raises funds for the event and tries to invite as many people as possible, not only to donate to Mom’s House and the Boys & Girls Club but to hopefully earn more votes.

DELAWARE STARS •Nick Caggiano, Jr., owner of Nicola Pizza, and Brittany Ziegler of Coastal Dance Academy •Shannon Morris, chief code enforcement officer with Kent County Levy Court and Jessica Moyer, fitness instructor with YMCA  •Tom Cook, Delaware Secretary of Finance, and Kim Gomes, lobbyist with The Byrd Group •Gregory Daut, M.D., Bayhealth orthopedic surgeon, and Alexys Daut, M.D., Bayhealth Family Practice Integrated Medicine •Bradley Skelcher, Ph.D., Office of Associate Provost with Delaware State University, and Min Gibson, Computer Lab technician and supervisor, Delaware State University •Albert French, M.D., ObGYN, Atlantic Women’s Health, and Maria Fry,  First State Dance Academy ballroom instructor •Michele Haranin, O.D., Optometrist, Vision Quest, and Raykeem War, Delaware State University student •Melinda McGuigan, Manager Business Development with EDIS Co., and Greg Breitkeritz, USA Dance •Harold “Monty” Spangler, M.D., emergency room physician with Beebe Healthcare, and Michele Xique,  owner of First State Dance Academy •Tom Spiezio, director of operations, Edgewell Dover, and Stephanie Harrison, administrative and financial manager, 3rd Airlift Squadron

DELAWARE STARS
•Nick Caggiano, Jr., owner of Nicola Pizza, and Brittany Ziegler of Coastal Dance Academy
•Shannon Morris, chief code enforcement officer with Kent County Levy Court and Jessica Moyer, fitness instructor with YMCA
•Tom Cook, Delaware Secretary of Finance, and Kim Gomes, lobbyist with The Byrd Group
•Gregory Daut, M.D., Bayhealth orthopedic surgeon, and Alexys Daut, M.D., Bayhealth Family Practice Integrated Medicine
•Bradley Skelcher, Ph.D., Office of Associate Provost with Delaware State University, and Min Gibson, Computer Lab technician and supervisor, Delaware State University
•Albert French, M.D., ObGYN, Atlantic Women’s Health, and Maria Fry, First State Dance Academy ballroom instructor
•Michele Haranin, O.D., Optometrist, Vision Quest, and Raykeem War, Delaware State University student
•Melinda McGuigan, Manager Business Development with EDIS Co., and Greg Breitkeritz, USA Dance
•Harold “Monty” Spangler, M.D., emergency room physician with Beebe Healthcare, and Michele Xique, owner of First State Dance Academy
•Tom Spiezio, director of operations, Edgewell Dover, and Stephanie Harrison, administrative and financial manager, 3rd Airlift Squadron

Attendees get to vote for the couple they think had the best performance. Ten votes come with the admission ticket and additional votes are $1 each or 25 for $20 and available at the event.

Nick Caggiano, owner of Nicola Pizza in Rehoboth Beach, has been taking advantage of his business to raise money by having designated tip cups at both his restaurants and soliciting donations from food and beverage purveyors like Sysco.

And although most of the dancers are nervous, Mr. Caggiano has no worries about the competition.

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Delaware Finance Secretary Tom Cook is paired with Kim Gomes, lobbyist with The Byrd Group. (Submitted photo)

“I just want to go out there and make sure my partner looks great,” he said. “She’s put a lot of effort into it and I think she’s done a great job teaching me because honestly I have a hard time walking and chewing gum at the same time.”

His partner, Brittany Ziegler of Coastal Dance Academy in Lewes, choreographed a hip-hop number for the two to perform.

“It’s a mix of four or five songs and I’m going to do the best I can but I don’t get embarrassed easily so it won’t be a big deal if I end up falling on my face,” he joked.

Dover optometrist Michele Haranin is dancing with a Delaware State University student, Raykeem Ward, who has performed in the competition before.

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Shannon Morris, chief code enforcement officer with Kent County Levy Court, goes over dance steps with Jessica Moyer, fitness instructor with YMCA. (Submitted photo)

As part of her fundraising effort, she got a little creative by guest bartending at the Greene Turtle in Dover on Tuesday night.

“This is my first time doing Dancing with the Stars and Raykeem has been great with me,” she said.

“I’ve danced in the past –– ballet years ago and then dance team in college –– so it hasn’t been too unfamiliar but I’m nervous because there’s going to be almost 1,000 people there and that’s a big crowd to perform for.”

Last year, more than 800 people were in attendance and this year an additional 100 VIP dinner tickets were made available and sold out in early December. Ms. Brown said she expects about 900 this year.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and last year’s winner Tonda Parks, vice president of advertising development for the Delaware State News, are among this year’s judges.

After the competition ends, the evening becomes a dance party and no one is off limits to drag on to the dance floor unless they’re wearing a $20 “No Dance” badge.

Tickets start at $55 and are still available online at dancingdestars.org or by calling 678-8688.

Reach staff writer Ashton Brown at abrown@newszap.com. Follow @AshtonReports on Twitter.

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