By Alyssa Schnugg
Oxford resident Nancy Maria Balach, a music professor at the University of Mississippi, was awarded the first place Judge’s Choice Award at the annual Boys & Girls Clubs of North Mississippi’s Dance Like the Stars event.
She and her partner, Andrew Davis of the Dance Studio of Tupelo, performed the popular 1980s dance from the movie, “Dirty Dancing,” set to the song, “Time of My Life.”
“It was an incredible night with the group raising over $271,000. I was dancing in honor of the late Dicki King (a founding member of the Oxford Boys and Girls Club); in celebration of my parents’ 56th wedding anniversary; commemorating the year of my 50th birthday and living out my ’80s teenage fantasy of doing this dance and lift.”
The annual event was broadcast before a live audience on Aug. 21 from the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo and also had more than 3,000 virtual views. Ten local celebrities competed for the titles of Grand Champion and Judges’ Choice. Each celebrity was paired with a dance professional at The Dance Studio of Tupelo to learn and perform a ballroom dance routine.
Miriam Anderson of Ripley took home the title of Grand Champion by raising $54,433. Victor McMillan of Tupelo came in second with $44,579 and Dr. Laura Marion of Tupelo raised $40,291 to take third place.
Balach raised $25,632.
“It was an honor getting to know the other dancers, and I am very grateful to my dance partner, Andrew Davis,” Balach said. “Thank you to everyone who donated and supported.”
The opening performance of the evening was provided by members of the Boys & Girls Club Ballroom Dance Team. The group was made up of youth who studied ballroom dance at The Dance Studio and showcased the skills they learned on that evening.
The program is made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission and the National Endowment for The Arts.
The show can still be viewed through a link on the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Mississippi Facebook page.
The Facebook People’s Choice award went to Daniella Oropeza.