Out & About: Celebrity dancers wow at Animal Friends event
Chris Granata and his dancing partner-instructor Kaelyn Gresko took double honors for their swing routine at the 2019 Dancing With the Celebrities competition to benefit Animal Friends of Westmoreland.
Burning up the stage at Greensburg’s Palace Theatre on May 3, the high top-clad duo danced away with the first-place people’s choice award and the third-place judge’s award.
Taking first from the judges were Mariah Thoma and Markus Gresko for a cha-cha. Jenell Huska and David Mileski ranked second for their cha-cha.
Second place people’s choice winners were salsa dancers Donnie Zappone and Maria Sunseri, while Sarah Rebitch and Harold Barrett earned third for their foxtrot.
Hot on their heels were contestants Amanda Crick and Destin Bernie, tango; Joe Hnath and Katiana Davis, waltz; George Cheripka and Eve Squires, West Coast swing; Brian Merdian and Deana Foley, cha-cha; and Amy Gess and Addison Whetzel, tango.
A group of former DWTC pros and contestants warmed up the crowd with an opening routine set to “You Can’t Stop the Beat.”
Bringing their expertise as former contestants to the judges’ table were Gina Cerilli, Adam Ferri and Laura Johnson. Steve Limani and Elena LaQuatra handled emcee duties.
A dance party for audience members followed the show.
Event director was Animal Friends founder and president Candy Valentino, assisted by Bethany Morse and Jennifer Bonsel. Valentino, who was unable to attend, sent best wishes to the contestants and thanks to supporters via a video greeting.
Event proceeds support Animal Friends’ mission of rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing animals in need. The organization maintains a shelter in Youngwood and a 62-acre sanctuary in Unity.
Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter .