Local celebrities strut their stuff at ECA’s ‘Dancing with Our Stars’


Saturday night was filled with toe-tapping music, hot hoofing, graceful dance moves and more than a few surprises as local luminaries teamed up with professional dancers from the Utah Ballroom Dance Company to put on an Edmonds version of the hit reality TV show “Dancing with the Stars.”

The “Dancing with Our Stars” evening opened with a high-energy number performed by some very talented students from Meadowdale, Kamiak and Edmonds-Woodway high schools. Lauren Debner (Meadowdale), Audrey Messinger (Edmonds-Woodway) and Kinsey Brooker, Johanna Funke, and Lourdes Zamora (all Kamiak) set the mood for the rest of the evening with a rousing group dance number to Trouble by Travis Tritt.

Local luminaries competing for top honors were “Foxtrot” Julie Long, David “Great Balls of Fire” Arista, Mukiteo Mayor Jennifer “Cinderella” Gregerson, “Disco” Joe McIalwain, Susan “Hot Salsa” Dunn, and Wendy “Ride ’em Cowgirl” Poischbeg. All gave rousing performances that really put the pressure on judges Leanne Shelton, Director of Edmonds’ Barclay-Shelton Dance Centre, ECA Director of Marketing Tina Baumgardner and Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling, who rated each on a 1-10 scale. While no one scored lower than an 8 all evening, country-swingin’ Wendy Poischbeg was the judges’ clear favorite, winning a perfect 10 from all three.

But in the end, the real winner was determined by the audience, who marked their to choice on ballots that were collected and counted during intermission.

When the votes were tallied up, it was Saturday Night Fever as “Disco” Joe McIalwain — ECA’s executive director — edged out the competition for his standout performance, complete with moves that would make Travolta himself go back to dance school. Second-place honors went to “Two-Steppin” Wendy Poischbeg —  Snohomish County’s economic and cultural development director — for some of the best country moves this side of Nashville.

“I loved every minute of it,” said McIalwain. “And I don’t care what you say, I’m keeping the iridescent blue shirt!”

If you missed out on the fun or just want to see the show again, you’re in luck! My Edmonds News was there shooting video.  See the full show here.

— Story and photos by Larry Vogel

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