Packed Crowd Cheers on Favorites at IVROP’s Annual Dancing with the Stars

'Stars' Felipe Irigoyen and Magy Cardenas performing a spin move during their dance routine at the 9th Annual Dancing with the Stars Gala event on Saturday.
“Stars” Felipe Irigoyen and Magy Cardenas perform a spin move during their dance routine at the 9th Annual Dancing with the Stars Gala event on Saturday.

HOLTVILLE — The dancefloor was set, the lights were bright, and dancers were ready for the 9th Annual Dancing with the Stars event held at the Barbara Worth Convention Center Friday night.

Presented by the Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program Community Foundation (IVROPCF), the event aims to raise funds for scholarships while providing guests with an entertaining dance show experience.

The 2016 winners of the People’s Choice award were ‘star’ Felipe Irigoyan, CEO of Ametza, and his dance partner, Maggie Cardenas. The judges chose Dalia Rodriguez, owner of Fitness Oasis Health Club and Spa, along with her partner Alfonso Villalobos.

“All this is done for fun,” explained Edwin P. Obergfell, superintendent of the Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program. “The dancers work really hard and have a lot of fun, but it’s all for the scholarships awarded by the IVROP community foundation. There are four categories that we give out scholarships to. They are: scholastic achievement, exemplary community, general categories, and IVROP categories. And what this means is that in each of those categories, there are three winners and each of them wins $1,000 for first place, $750 for second place, and $500 for third place. Students submit their applications and are awarded based on their scores. All that comes from this event. Our board has been in existence since 2004, and every year we’ve issued out over $100,000 worth of scholarships, and every year we just keep getting bigger and better.”

“This is our 9th annual event,” said Obergfell. “I would say this is the most successful event so far, and I would say that because we sold more tickets and sold out faster than ever before. We can’t put any more seats in this area, which I think shows that we’ve been successful.”

The opening act was a performance by Southwest’s SAVAPA dance group performing a routine to “Your Song” by Ellie Goulding. Guests then watched the seven competitive dance teams perform for the Judges’ Choice Award and People’s Choice Award. Each performance was broadcasted onto three projector screens for easier viewing. Guests in attendance had the same amount of energy as a crowd at a sporting event, cheering loudly once a team entered the dance floor and even brought cut-out posters of the “Star’s” faces to wave in support.

“The overall turnout is fantastic,” commented Obergfell. “We can already say it’s fantastic because of the ticket sales and the number of sponsorships, but if you look around, you’ll see how exciting everything is, how the dancers enjoyed themselves, and what a fun event it is. A lot of people say this is the go-to event in the Imperial County and they’re actually expecting and looking forward to getting into the event.”

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