A “Mad Hot” evening for a great cause: Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh

Jane and Bob Bukk, Team Orange, representing Tobacco Free Allegheny, took top honors at Mad Hot Ballroom Pittsburgh, a benefit for Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh. The Bukks were named 2012 grand champions for their award-winning performance. (Photo ©2012 Laszlo Bartos)

By Linda Ross

Congratulations to the winners of Mad Hot Ballroom Pittsburgh, held last night at The Westin Convention Center Pittsburgh Hotel, Downtown. More than 200 guests attended, raising approximately $35,000 for Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh.

Guests were treated to cocktails, dinner, a silent auction, dancing, and a special live performance from children who recently participated in the Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh Colors of the Rainbow 2011-2012 final team match, held last month.

Setting the stage for the adult ballroom dance competition, 24 young ladies and gentlemen demonstrated elegance, poise, and maturity when performing the Merengue, Foxtrot, Rumba, Tango, and Swing. The fifth-graders represented the following elementary schools: Pittsburgh Concord K-5,  Pittsburgh Miller PreK-5, Pittsburgh Linden K-5, Pittsburgh Phillips K-5, Pittsburgh West Liberty K-5, and Sister Thea Bowman Catholic Academy K-8.

Bob and Jane Bukk, Team Orange, captured the 2012 Mad Hot Ballroom Pittsburgh grand championship trophy, marking back-to-back wins for Tobacco Free Allegheny.

First runners up were John and Deana Foley, Team White, representing Community Care Behavioral Health/UPMC Health Plan. Adam Glatz and Victoria Berdnik, Team Red, netted second runner up for Lamar Advertising. Representing McAuley Ministries, Team Purple’s Bill and Linda Connolly placed a respectable third.

Foreground, left to right: First runners up Deana and John Foley, Team White, representing Community Care Behavioral Health/UPMC Health Plan; second runners up Victoria Berdnik and Adam Glatz, Team Red, representing Lamar Advertising; third runners up Linda and Bill Connolly, Team Purple, representing McAuley Ministries. Back row, left to right: Mary Van Horn and Hal Marks, Team Green, representing Pittsburgh Board of Education; and Jane and Bob Bukk, Team Orange, representing Tobacco Free Allegheny. (Photo ©2012 Laszlo Bartos)

Other dancers who came out in support of our program included: Kellen Hill and Darci Doran, Team Yellow, representing the Extra Mile Education Foundation; Ryan McGregor and Kacie Neckers, Team Aqua, representing Jendoco Construction Corporation; Hal Marks and Mary Van Horn, Team Green, representing the Pittsburgh Board of Education; and Bill Hendricks and Cecelia Hard, Team Blue, representing PNC Bank.

It’s hard to say who had more fun dancing – the couples participating, witty and charming master of ceremonies Pierre Dulaine, honorary event chair Noreen Campbell, or judges Nan Cohen, Lynn Cullen, Virginia Montanez, and The Honorable Corey O’Connor, who was later spotted on the dance floor with his fiancée, Katie Stohlberg.

Guests let their voices heard by voting for their favorite dance pair in the “People’s Choice” portion of the competition, which accounted for one-third each couple’s score and nearly $1,000 in donations.

After the winners were announced and the trophies presented, guests took to the dance floor for a group dance lesson lead by Mr. Dulaine.

Rozana and Terry Sweeney, teaching artists for Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh (Photo ©2012 Laszlo Bartos)

Thanks to everyone who came out in support of the dancers and Dancing Classrooms Pittsburgh.

As a reminder, McGinnis Sisters Special Food Stores will graciously donate 50 cents for every new “like” they receive on their Facebook page by June 15. Please help to spread the word!

Watch for coverage of Mad Hot Ballroom Pittsburgh in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette SEEN column and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Fanfare column.

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