14TH Annual Center for Child Protection’s Dancing With The Stars Goes Virtual
By Rob Giardinelli Photography by Jeff Loftin, Haley Plotkin and MJ Routh
THE SETTING: Residences around Austin recently hosted small, socially safe gatherings in support of one of the cities most highly anticipated annual events. The Center for Child Protection took the 14th annual Dancing with the Stars gala online. The virtual event had over a thousand viewers, from Austin and beyond, glued to their screens for a night of dancing and fundraising. It proved that the show must go on, and in this case, the dance must go on, because the needs of our communities remain as urgent and important as ever.
THE STYLE: The small gatherings featured supporters wearing their favorite cocktail attire, while others opted to stay at home for a date night while dressed in their finest black-tie ensembles. As guests took to their screens for the evening’s program, they enjoyed the proceedings, which flowed with ease, thanks to emcees Glenn Ball and Holly Mills Gardner. Donors also received a welcome kit from the Center that featured ingredients for the event’s signature cocktail, The Tequila Tango, to help folks find their groove. Video instructions on how to mix them were provided by Society Texas’ own Lance Avery Morgan and Rob Giardinelli.
Patrons were then treated to eleven spectacular routines where viewers watched each duo Rip it Up on the dance floor, Vogue a pose, have Sweet Dreams of this Crazy Little Thing Called Love, and head out to the Wild Wild West. Each routine featured color commentary from celebrity judges Gary Little, JR Martinez, and Venus Strawn. Between dance takes, there was a live auction item, the highlight of which was Project Graduation, where donors had the opportunity to sponsor an event that allows for teens exiting the foster care system to begin their adult lives. The festivities were capped off by declaring the winners of the 2020 Dancing with the Stars, Julie Jumonville and Travis Herman, followed by an after-party featuring the tunes of DJ Hexum.
THE PURPOSE: The event, co-chaired by Tracey Marshall and Jenny Mason, raised over $685,000 for the Center for Child Protection. The Center is a nationally accredited children’s advocacy center. In 2019, it provided forensic interviews, medical exams, counseling, and interventions to help begin the healing process from trauma for nearly 3,000 abused children.