13th Annual Center for Child Protection’s Dancing with the Stars Gala Sizzles
By Rob Giardinelli Photography by Jeff Loftin, Christina Murphy, Haley Plotkin and Ben Porter
THE SETTING: Against the backdrop of a picture-perfect winter evening, over a thousand of the most notable sociables and philanthropists descended on Austin’s JW Mariott Hotel for the 13th annual Dancing with the Stars. Hosted by the Center for Child Protection, the event is one of the can’t-miss social events of the season. This year’s gathering was no exception, featuring an evening full of fun and show-stopping dance routines, and a special appearance by JR Martinez, a winner of the ABC’s televised version of Dancing with the Stars.
THE STYLE: Friends and supporters of the 11 celebrity dancers donned their finest black-tie ensembles, with women choosing an eclectic mix of chic ballgowns with metallics, solid colors, and especially sequins being the most popular. Not to be outshined, the men also brought their finest eveningwear, with many sporting velvet tuxedo jackets, that helped create a festive environment.
The evening began in the foyer of the ballroom for a breezy cocktail hour, where guests got to mingle and congratulate the celebrity dancers they were on hand to support. The action then moved to the main ballroom for the evening’s program. The event emcees, Glenn Ball and Holly Mills Gardner, effortlessly kept the audience engaged throughout the event with a mix of humor and witty banter. Following a moving video, highlighting the purpose of the Center for Child Protection, the live auction had bidders seize the opportunity to purchase an impressive array of items including luxury vacation packages to such exotic locales as Africa, Croatia and Thailand.
Then came the main event, the performances by the dancers themselves. One by one, each of the dancers strutted their stuff on the dance floor to iconic songs including Crazy in Love, Gonna Make U Sweat and I Will Survive that kept the audience on their feet throughout. After the dancing competition concluded, the audience vote was tallied with Brian Yacktman and his pro partner, Katrina Repka, were declared the winners. The evening was capped off with an after-party where partygoers danced into the wee hours of the morning to the tunes of DJ Johnny Bravo.
THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Francie Little and Jenny Mason, raised over $1.1 million for the Center for Child Protection. A nationally accredited children’s advocacy center that offers services ,including forensic interviews, counseling, and medical exams to children who are suspected victims of physical or sexual abuse as well as those who have witnessed violent crime.