HOLTVILLE – Armed with noise makers, cocktail attire, and hold-up signs, fans of the Dancing Stars filled the ballroom of the Barbara Worth Country Club waiting to whistle and cheer for their favorite dancing star as they salsa’d their stuff in front of a panel of judges.
The crowd warmed up quickly to the six couples, Anne J. Mallory and Alfonse Villalobos, Michael Horn and Arlene Tamayo, Dr. Betsy M. Lindbergh, D.D.S. and Richard Morales, Jason Jackson and Tanya Bonillas, Ronald A Garcia and Lety Garcia, and Sonia Bautista and Vladimir Lopez, as they cha-cha’d across the dance floor keeping in rhythm to the pounding Latin music.
The 7th Annual Dancing with the Stars Gala is a favorite fundraiser for the valley as seen by the sold out performance and the revelry of the audience.
The Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program literally put out the red carpet for all those attending, with gold and black decorations, disco balls throwing colorful light over the room, making all feel they were transported to a dazzling Hollywood soirée.
Each dignitary chosen to dance with a professional dance instructor is given several months to fine-tune their best footwork and hours of practice are spent in the dance studio.
Instructor Tanya Bonillas said she grew up dancing in Brawley with Folklorico through the Hidalgo Society. Their music selection would have roots in Fuego Latino Salsa and Bachata, which originated in the Dominican Republic.
Speaking on her student, Jason Jackson, the general manager for Desert Security Services and a current councilman for El Centro, “He is very passionate and he did really well. Of course, I had to lead at the beginning, but as soon as he became confident of the moves, he began to take over the leading, even making suggestions on our routine.
Besides teaching salsa to the councilman, Tanya works at the IVROP as a program manager and co-owns Buddy Sweets, a doggy day care, with her sister.
Although placing 3rd in the contest by the judges, the couple took won the People’s Choice award. All in attendance also serenaded Tanya for her birthday.
Taking first place were the dance team of Sonia Bautista, owner of Paloma’s Interiors, and her coach Vladimir Lopez.
Four couples tied for second, Anne J. Mallory and Alfonse Villalobos, Michael Horn and Arlene Tamayo, Dr. Betsy M. Lindbergh, D.D.S. and Richard Morales, and Ronald A Garcia and Lety Garcia.
Ron Garcia, Brawley Elementary School District superintendent, and his wife Lety were the first husband – wife team to compete in Dancing With The Stars.