Nina Dean had the right dance moves to earn the title of Best Female Dancer at the 4th annual Atlantic CASA Dancing with the Stars of the Coastal Empire Saturday.
Dean and her partner William Mastriani of Salon de Baile Studio, danced the salsa, cha-cha and rumba, in front of a packed crowd at the Liberty County Performing Arts Center.
Dean, who works at Muse Collision, also won Top Fundraiser for raising the most money for Atlantic Area Court Appointed Special Advocates.
Atlantic Area CASA advocates for children who have been abused, neglected and placed in foster care. Volunteers advocate for the best interest of the children while they are in foster care, with the goal of being reunited with their families should the home situation improve. The contest raises funds that will go toward recruiting and training volunteers.
Mitch Boston, owner of Mangum Pest Control, won Best Male Dancer. He danced the tango with partner Kathy Villafane, associate broker of A Plus Realty Group. Viilafane won the second Dancing with the Stars, which led her to doing other dancing competitions.
Dean and Boston both had choreographed skits with their dances. Dean played a woman crossing the street who sees Mastriani with a walker and nurse helping him walk. They meet and then start dancing.
Boston was someone frustrated at how late his dance partner was. Villafane’s daughter Khloe joined in doing a handstand across the stage and doing ballet. Villafane danced behind a screen where only her silhouette could be seen, then all three danced together.
Mark Mosley of Realty Executive Liberty and Juanita Lowery, founder of Inspirational Dance Studio, did a step and hip-hop routine. In the middle of the dance Mosley did a spoken word about on the work of CASA.
Mosley came in third place.
Second place winner Margit Williams had a lot of support in the audience, with friends cheering and whistling. Williams is a zumba instructor at the Liberty County Armed Forces/YMCA. She did Latin fusion with partner Austin Williams, founder of Salsa Savannah.
Jewell Landers of Navy Credit Union and partner Kenneth Howard of Butterfly Ballroom opened the show doing West Coast swing to “Fine” by Mary J. Blige. The judges described their performance as “fabulous,” “fun,” and “outstanding.”
Dean was surprised that she won.
“I wasn’t expecting both of them. I definitely give my best to go for them,” Dean said, adding it was humbling to win. “The rehearsals were long, hot and sweaty, but it was worth it and I have a great partner who made it easy.”
Before the competition started the audience watched a video on Atlantic Area CASA.
A tribute was given for Donald Lee Snelshire who died from cancer in November. According to Petula Gomillion, Atlantic Area CASA executive director, Snelshire was honored “because of his love and support of Atlantic Area CASA and the Dancing with the Stars fundraiser” since the inaugural event.
WTOC news anchor Dawn Baker was the host and the winners and special guests went to an after-party at JJ’s Bar & Grill.