2022 Dancing with the Piqua Stars crowns champions

For the Miami Valley Today

PIQUA — Lights, camera, dancing! The stars aligned on Saturday, April 23, for the Piqua Arts Council with their 11th season of Dancing with the Piqua Stars. After months of “fun-draising,” many dance lessons, and generous donations by voting for this year’s cast, the grand show took place last Saturday at Romer’s Catering in Piqua. The five dancing couples performed early in the afternoon for a dessert matinee at 1 p.m. and ended the night with a bang at the dinner performance at 6 p.m.

The event, sponsored by Hartzell Propeller, showcased the talents of this year’s couples, Jeremy and Kat Weber, Jim and Shellie Drake, Fred and Lynn Labs, Craig and Nancy Mullenbrock, and Scott and LeeAnn Foster. After each thrilling performance, the judges tallied their scores and the votes came rolling in. At the end of the night, Fred and Lynn Labs took home the Most Entertaining Award, and Craig and Nancy Mullenbrock earned the Technical Merit Award, as well as the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy for raising the most money for the Piqua Arts Council.

The night started off with emcee for the evening, Jim Gover Jr., welcoming everyone to the show. After a quick word by Piqua Arts Council Executive Director Jordan Knepper, Gover introduced the judges for the evening, Jim Oda, Rick Bowerman, and Amy Kiser. Jim Oda is the executive director of the Piqua Public Library and a regular judge for Dancing with the Piqua Stars. He was joined at the judging table by dance instructor and owner of RJ Ballroom in Troy, Rick Bowerman. Rick and his wife, Judy, have been involved with Dancing with the Piqua Stars from the beginning of its time in 2012. The final judge for the evening was Amy Kiser, dance instructor at Dance Expression Studio in Dayton. The judges had the tough job of determining who was the most entertaining of this year’s cast.

Kicking off the dancing portion of the evening were Jeremy and Kat Weber. Jeremy is a Lieutenant at the Piqua Police Department. His wife, Kat, is a State of Ohio Parole Officer. They performed a lyrical jazz routine to a mashup of “Let’s Hear it for the Boy” by Deniece Williams and “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins, choreographed by Liz Maxson.

Following that, Jim and Shellie Drake took to the dance floor. Jim is a Physical Therapist and Center Manager for Novacare Rehabilitation in Piqua and Troy. His wife, Shellie, is a First-Grade Teacher at Washington Primary School in Piqua. The couple performed a hip-hop routine to “The Time (Dirty Bit)” by the Black Eyed Peas, choreographed by Liz Maxson.

Next up were Fred and Lynn Labs. Fred is a retired Pharmacist and Manager of the Piqua Kroger Pharmacy. His wife, Lynn, is a retired Pastor of the Nashville United Church of Christ near West Milton. Together, they performed a theatrical style dance with a hint of cha cha to a mashup of “Hernando’s Hideaway” by Archie Bleyer and “Another Cha Cha” by Santa Esmeralda, choreographed by Michael Shepherd.

Craig and Nancy Mullenbrock were the fourth competitors to dance this year. Craig is the owner of Mullenbrock & Associates of Ameriprise Financial in Piqua, where his wife, Nancy, also works. They performed a stylized ballroom routine to “Love You I Do” by Jennifer Hudson, choreographed by Amanda Horn and Orion Gullett.

The final pair of the night was Scott and LeeAnn Foster. Scott is the Director of MRO (Maintenance, Repair & Operations) and Network Sales at Hartzell Propeller. His wife, LeeAnn, is the new Director of Operations at Southtown Sports & Recreation in Piqua. The two performed a hip-hop routine to a mashup of a wide variety of songs that was kept secret until their performance, choreographed by Tammy Bellamy Chaney.

With their work cut out for them, the judges determined Fred and Lynn Labs had the most entertaining routine, but claimed that the award could have been awarded to any of the dancers. The Mirror Ball Trophy for most votes raised went to Craig and Nancy Mullenbrock, as well as the technical merit award, which was most apparent in their fancy footwork. In total, the dancers were able to raise more than $34,000 to support the Piqua Arts Council, making the 2022 competition an outstanding success.

The Piqua Arts Council gave a “huge thank you” to Hartzell Propeller, for once again sponsoring this event. “And to all of the 2022 Dancing with the Piqua Stars sponsors, donors and volunteers – thank you. The success of this fundraiser would not be possible with every hand on deck, and for the generous support of our Piqua Stars and the Piqua Arts Council,” the Piqua Arts Council said in a press release.

This year’s performance can be found on the Piqua Arts Council’s YouTube and Facebook pages, as well as the Indian Nation Station YouTube page soon. Photos from the event will also be available on the Piqua Arts Council’s Facebook page, thanks to Ganger Images.

If you or someone you know would like to be a part of the 2023 Dancing with the Piqua Stars Cast, please visit www.PiquaArtsCouncil.org/dancing.