Martinsville, Virginia


Dancing for the Arts Raises $70K+

By: Lauren Brooke Ellis | Programs and Public Relations Coordinator

April 4, 2024


Early last month, audiences flocked to the Martinsville High School auditorium for a great cause and a fabulous show. Dancing for the Arts, Piedmont Arts’ biennial fundraiser, took place on Saturday, March 9. This event features 8 teams of local celebrities who worked with local dance coaches to perform and raise money for the arts. The first half of the event consisted of randomly assigned dance styles. The second half was a freestyle, containing a variety of surprise genres. Hosted by Natalie Hodge-Davis of Rudy’s Girl Media, the event buzzed with excitement and energy.

Three awards were presented at the end of Dancing for the Arts. The first, the Impact Award, was awarded to the team that reached the most people and made the most connections to Piedmont Arts. This year, that award went to Jewell Drewery and Ouss Sahar. Drewery is a realtor with Rives S. Brown and Sahar is the SSC Unit Director with Henry County Public Schools. Their dances were the rumba and the jitterbug.

Another award that was given out at this event was the Judges Award. This award went to the team with the overall highest scores from the judges. This award was presented to Anna Wheeler and Jacob Frith. Wheeler is the Programs Coordinator for the Dan River Basin Association and Frith works with The Lester Group. The styles they danced were swing and jazz.

The final award given out at Dancing for the Arts was the Grand Champion award. This award is given for a combination of the most money raised and highest scores from the judges. This award was presented to Tekela Redd and Pres Garrett. Redd is the Service Center Director the Salvation Army and Garrett is the owner of Starling Avenue Cards and Games. Their styles were the quickstep and hip-hop.

The judges for Dancing for the Arts were Sarah Hodges, Pedro Szalay, and Devin Pendleton. Their commentary and expertise highlighted each dance performed.

Through voting, memberships, and sponsorships, these teams raised over $70,000 for Piedmont Arts. “These are vital funds so Piedmont Arts can provide impactful visual arts, performing arts and arts education,” Piedmont Arts Executive Director Heidi Pinkston said. “These funds make sure that the galleries are always free and open to the public so we can bring world class performances to our community and take arts into the schools for absolutely no cost to teachers, schools or students.”

“This fundraiser is so much more than raising funds, it is also raising awareness about Piedmont Arts and Martinsville and Henry County,” Pinkston added.

The other teams consisted of Anna Hatchett and Louis Campbell, Bonnie Favero and Damian Wainwright, Claudia Graham and Spencer Koger, Jennie Rabon and Bobby LaPrade, and Jamie Turner and Justin Kline. A special performance from Joyce Staples and Josh Bires-Grodensky capped off the evening. Each dancer is a leader and beloved figure in the community and their talents, time, and efforts shone in their performances.