Young Audiences of Louisiana hosted a cocktail reception, dinner and dance competition featuring local philanthropists and community activists partnered with professional dancers at Harrah’s New Orleans Theatre. The event benefits Young Audiences of Louisiana’s mission of 56 years to invest in youth arts education.

Activists and dance partners included Nadine Brown with professional partner Chance Bushman dancing the swing (Captivating Chemistry winners), Sandra Thompson Herman with professional partner Jay Hendrix dancing the waltz (People’s Choice winners), Austin Marks with professional partner Kenneth “Kynt” Bryan dancing contemporary hip hop (Showstopper winners), Christina and Tony Rodrigue dancing together to a contemporary hip hop dance choreographed by professional dancer Zakiya L. Cornish (Judges’ Choice winners) and Brionne Stewart and Trent Marcelle (Smooth Operator winners) dancing together to a cha cha choreographed by professional dancer Javier Juarez. In addition, Mayor LaToya Cantrell danced a tango with professional partner Ector Gutierrez.

Judges included Stephanie Burks, Mary Katherine Lonatro-Tusa, Kenny Lopez and Steven Putt. In addition to the dance competition, guests enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres during the cocktail hour followed by a buffet. Apple Berry Delights, the sweet treat business created by Star Dancer Nadine Brown, served as the official cookie sponsor of the event, providing each guest with a cookie baked exclusively for “Dancing for the Arts.” Carl LeBlanc Band provided musical entertainment during the cocktail hour, intermissions and following the awards ceremony so that gala guests also had the opportunity to dance.

Centerpieces were created by middle school visual arts students at Young Audiences Charter School under the direction of teaching artist Valorie Polmer. The colorful centerpieces were made from objects found in nature and yarn and were painted bright colors, inspired by Native American Sage Smudge Sticks. The event’s signature life-size cutouts of the Star Dancers in the competition graced the lobby and silent auction area, which featured an array of 33 prizes.

Event Chairs were Stella Del Bianco, Gail Barnes McKenna and Tyree Worthy. Camille Whitworth served as Mistress of Ceremonies.

Event at a Glance

What: Ninth annual “Dancing for the Arts,” benefiting Young Audiences of Louisiana
When: Friday, November 16, 2018
Where: Harrah’s Casino Theatre

Philanthropic Fun: Dancing With the Activists

Dr. Warren McKenna Jr., Co-Chairs Gail McKenna and Stella Del Bianco and Fulvio Del Bianco 

Philanthropic Fun: Dancing With the Activists

Nadine Brown with Russ and Sandra Herman