After a year off due to Covid 19, the Stand Like Stone Foundation were delighted to once again host “Swinging with the Stars” their annual charity fundraiser at the Barn on Saturday night. Over 500 people attended the event to support their local celebrities as they danced their hearts out for a great cause, raising over $108,000 to support the work of the only community foundation in the Limestone Coast, Stand Like Stone.
“We can’t thank our community enough for getting behind our stars and this event. We are so proud to serve our community, humbled by the support and simply can’t thank everyone enough. Thank you, Limestone Coast!” said Anne Kerr, CEO of the Stand Like Stone Foundation.
The money raised will help the foundation with its running costs as well as growing the capital, providing more money back into the community each year through its charitable grants and educational scholarships programs.
8 local “stars” from across the region have spent the past 10 weeks learning 4 dance routines under the tutelage of Kim Cella and Keana Soper at Hype Dance, all while raising funds for the foundation. “This is the 10th year that Kim Cella has choreographed the dances, and I think everyone was blown away with the standard of the four dance routines this year – it took the judges a good 15 minutes to pick the final 4 because they were all just so good”, said Mrs Kerr.
As well as Hype Dance, the event is supported by other local businesses such as Vanity Make-Up Bar and Body Lounge and Red Ivie Hairdressing provided their professional services, Christy Radford from With Love Photography took the photos, Marcus Jones from Video Live Production made the videos, and the Barn team provided delicious food and service.
Ms Kerr said the local businesses supporting the event allow Stand Like Stone to contribute more money back to the community.
Under the expert judging of Lisa Barker, Ardlair School of Dancing, along with 2019 stars Liz Rymill and Rob Francis, the four stars who made it to the Final 4 were Peter Loring, Macey Humphries, Stephen Holmes and Caroline Barr.
Mr Loring came out on top, winning Best Dancer with his dance partner Paris Ackland. Penola’s Kate Palm was crowned the People’s Choice Winner for the night, raising the most money.
Mrs Kerr said the whole Stand Like Stone team were humbled by everyone involved in the process.
“It’s a real team effort to make Swinging with the Stars the success it is, from our sponsors, donors, the voluntary committee behind the scenes, as well as the people who supported the stars and everyone who came out to the Barn on Saturday night. However, the 8 stars and their dancing partners are truly amazing. It’s very humbling to be part of their journey as they learn 4 routines in 10 weeks, perform them in front of 500 people, all while raising funds for our Limestone Coast community. It takes a very special person to do that, and we can’t thank them enough”, said Mrs Kerr.
The 8 stars and their dancing partners are truly amazing. It’s very humbling to be part of their journey as they learn 4 routines in 10 weeks, perform them in front of 500 people, all while raising funds for our Limestone Coast community. It takes a very special person to do that, and we can’t thank them enough”Anne Kerr, CEO of Stand Like Stone Foundation
A full house of 600 people packed The Barn in June to witness eight incredible locals and their partners take to the dance floor to raise funds for the Limestone Coast at the 12th annual Swinging with the Stars.
In a hotly contested final, Liz Rymill and Steven Speck were crowned winners of the 2019 Swinging with the Stars. Liz is well known throughout the Limestone Coast region through her work with the ABC South East and as a member of the Australian Skeet Shooting Team.
“The whole experience has been overwhelmingly humbling and a joy to be a part of. It was such a thrill to see everybody bring their own personality and style to the dance floor. I feel really thrilled and proud that from where we started, it is a testament to our teachers to get us through to the performance on Saturday night and I feel really proud of what we have all achieved.
I am a huge believer in the capacity for country communities to pull together and really build on what we have. We are a proud bunch and it was a great opportunity to be in a room full of people that all believe in this. To play a small part in the Stand Like Stone legacy is a real privilege,” Ms Rymill said.
On the 2019 dancers, Ms Rymill said that they all saw eye-to-eye and worked really well together. Ms Rymill’s dance partner Steven Speck won Swinging with the Stars in 2016.
“He is a marvellous ambassador for dancing, for the community and for the Stand Like Stone Foundation. We have had so much fun, the time of our lives, and will have a lifelong friendship from this experience. ” Ms Rymill said.
All couples danced the Jive, Waltz, a sizzling Tango and a show-stopping disco Hip Hop, from which four couples were then selected to dance the final Jive. Judges Dani Brumby, Laura Hawkins and Alistair Coonan had a difficult job in selecting the winning couple. Other 2019 participants included:
The stars had 8 weeks of intensive training at HYPE Dance Studio to teach them the dance routines. For the 5th year running Hype Dance’s Kim Cella and Paris Ackland trained the stars.
“The dance instructors have the most difficult job of all. Each year they meet eight new community members who know very little about dancing and over the course of 8 weeks they transform them into a very impressive line-up! The performance at The Barn was second-to-none and you would never know that these “community stars” could not dance prior to this experience. We are very grateful to Kim Cella and Paris Ackland for their long-standing contribution to Swinging with the Stars,” said Georgie McKay, Executive Officer, Stand Like Stone Foundation.
People’s Choice winner (awarded to the Star who raises the most funds for the Stand Like Stone Foundation) was awarded to Kate Perry, whose individual fundraising total was $15,287.20. Kate was overwhelmed by the local support in her fundraising endeavours.
“I am very honoured to be part of such a great fundraiser for the whole Limestone Coast region and I am absolutely blown away by the Penola and Coonawarra community. Each year they get behind their local star and raise so much money! I have made life long friendships through this experience and feel humbled to be selected as the People’s Choice winner for 2019,” said Ms Perry.
The event raised $98,408, taking the total raised since the first Swinging with the Stars in 2007 to $715,981. All donations received for Swinging with the Stars are added to Stand Like Stone Foundation’s trust funds and are held in trust to benefit Limestone Coast communities through grants and scholarships for the region.
“Swinging with the Stars is the culmination of the generosity of many local individuals and businesses. It’s the ongoing generosity of so many supportive local individuals and organisations that ensure the success of Swinging with the Stars and I would particularly like to recognise this. The event has gone from strength to strength and we would like to thank all who contribute to its success,” Stand Like Stone Chair, Bill DeGaris said.
The whole experience has been overwhelmingly humbling and a joy to be a part of. It was such a thrill to see everybody bring their own personality and style to the dance floor.Liz Rymill, 2019 Winner
A full house of over 500 people packed The Barn again last June to witness eight incredible locals and their partners take to the dance floor as part of the 11th annual Swinging with the Stars.
Laura Hawkins and Cody Smith were crowned winners of the 2018 Swinging with the Stars, with the communities of Frances and Robe rallying behind Laura to ensure that she was a strong contender both on the dance floor and in the fundraising. “What an amazing night, I had so much fun! Never in a million years did I think I’d come away with the win. For me, it was never about winning, it was just such a blast and to have all my family and friends there to support me was incredible.
I can’t wait to see all the money that we have raised to go back into the Naracoorte and surrounding communities. I’d really like to thank Cody for being so patient and such a legend, and also all the other Stars. What an amazing ride it has been!” Ms Hawkins said.
All couples danced the Cha Cha, Foxtrot, a sizzling Tango and a show-stopping Hip Hop, from which four couples were then selected to dance the final Cha Cha. Judges, Lynette Martin, Joe D’Agostino and Amanda Flint had an extremely difficult job in selecting the winning couple.
What an amazing ride it has been!Laura Hawkins, 2018 winner