“GO MO!” yelled out the close to sold out audience as Maureen “Mo” King, 68-year old President of Scripps Hospital Foundation, engaged in aerial lifts, death-defying drops and all sorts of acrobacy in her rendition of the lindy/jive to be declared winner of the 4th Annual Malashock Thinks You Can Dance event held this past Saturday, October 9th at the Birch North Park Theatre.
Chaired by San Diego Latino Film Festival Host and Celebrity Judge for the evening, Yolanda S. Walther-Meade, the event showcased ten local luminaries who were paired with dance professionals from Champion Ballroom Academy, performing a 1.5 minute piece in a variety of dance genres to electronic votes cast by the audience. Joined by TLC “Chefaree” Brian Malarkey and San Diego Radio Personality Jerry Cesak, the three judges provided comedic commentary and insightful critiques.
Additional contestants included Mitch Mitchell, Executive V.P. of SDGE; Danitza Villanueva , Creative Director for GB Magazine; Carlo Cechetto, Anchor, KFMB; Tania Luviano, Spokesperson, Procter & Gamble; John Gomez, Trial Attorney; Alex Salazar, Alexander Salazar Fine Art Gallery and Lee Ann Kim, Executive Director, San Diego Asian Film Foundation; and John Weisbarth, Channel 4 Padres Sports Commentator.
Dance genres spanned the full gamut – from the fancy footwork-filled quickstep, to a spicy cha-cha and sexy salsa. Local celebrities received ten dance lessons, learned which dance shoes to select, hired choreographers, had custom-made costumes, engaged in more frequent sessions at the gym and took on spray tanning to prepare for their performance.
After Mitch Mitchell, in fire-man attire, gave a red-hot rendition of a cha-cha, he reflected “I had fun, learned a new skill and was able to make people laugh at the same time”. Mitch, along with Lee Ann and John Weisbarth went on to compete in the finals round against “Mo”. In the end, John Malashock, Founder of the Emmy-award winning dance school which bears his name and Paloma Patterson, Executive Director, declared John Weisbarth runner-up, and “Mo” the victor.
Downtown San Diego’s Diva of Comedy, Monique Marvez hosted the action-packed production, which included video montage similar to what viewers watch on television dance shows. A surprise arrival by Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance Judge Mary Murphy added to the fanfare, as she co-hosted the evening.
The audience reflected a broad range of ages, which clearly ties in to the fundraising portion of the event, which Ms. Walther-Meade comments, “is to raise funds to transform the lives of children through Malashock Dance Community Outreach programs, reaching 2,500 children this year alone.”
Gomez commented during the post-performance wrap party, “It was one of the most entertaining challenges I’ve ever faced, but I would do it again in a heartbeat”. Karen Levy Spiro, a North Park resident who attended the event with her grandchild agreed with numerous attendees that the 4th Annual Malashock Thinks You Can Dance celebrity dance fundraiser was “Tremendous fun!”
Click Photo Below to see the Gallery of event photos courtesy of MANUEL ROTENBERG.
View Pictures of the VIP Party Event HERE. *Photos courtesy of Carol Sonstein
For additional information about this local San Diego organization and their community programs, please visit their website, http://malashockdance.org/