Animal Friends of Westmoreland Celebrity Dance Competition Goes Virtual Stage

From finding candidates to arranging a date and location, a lot of time and effort goes into planning Dancing With the Celebrities, an annual signature fundraiser for The Animal Friends of Westmoreland. .

After being canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, the dance event will be virtual this year, broadcast on demand on the ShowTix4U platform at 6 p.m. on July 28.

Organizers are hoping this will be the last time they have to host an online event, said Kelli Brisbane, Executive Director of Animal Friends and event coordinator.

“We made the decision to go virtual in March,” she said. “At that point, we made the right decision. But then it all started to clear up.

“Due to scheduling conflicts with celebrities, unfortunately we were unable to move on to an in-person event at the Palace Theater,” she said. “We had to keep the wheels where they were and stay on the same road. “

For previous competitions, celebrities were paired with professional dancers. Due to CDC guidelines in place in March, this year’s attendees had the option of partnering up with a professional or other famous partner with whom they were comfortable coming into close contact.

They could create their own routines or work remotely with a choreographer.

The nine pairs featured have repeated in recent months, Brisbane said. Their routines will be pre-recorded and compiled for the July 28 stream.

Courtesy of Michelle Lauren Photography

Jim Bosco and Heather Cordial are one of nine dance duos in this year’s Dancing With the Celebrities competition.

As they are not confined to the Palace stage, Brisbane said, the dancers were given more freedom to exercise their creativity.

“For example, (radio host) Lora Kay and her partner dressed in dog and cat costumes and recorded their video in an alleyway,” she said.

Stage and technical presence

Judges will preview all dance videos submitted at a Zoom Viewing Party prior to the broadcast date, and their award will be announced during the broadcast, hosted by Pennsylvania State Police Officer Steve Limani.

The judges’ award, determined by a 10 point scale, will be based on the value of the entertainment, stage presence, technique, creativity and other factors.

Viewers will also be able to vote for the People’s Choice Award until midnight July 28, Brisbane said. The winning couple will be announced the next day on Facebook Live.

Local celebrity dancing couples include:

• American Idol veteran singer Aubrey Burchell and musician Noah Myers

• Jim Bosco, owner of Major Stokes, and Heather Cordial, chief of staff to Westmoreland County Commissioner, Doug Chew

• Jordan Hauser, owner of Greensburg Video and host of The Local 724 podcast, and Jessi Hauser, director of human resources at Bridges Hospice

• Adam DeFlorio, owner of Moxie Events, and Jessica Hickey, founder / director of the Downtown Greensburg Project

• Lora Kay, host of the WHJB morning show and account manager, and Kevin Zilli, deputy general manager of Springhill Suites Marriott

• Ashlea Lee, Admissions Coordinator at Westmoreland County Community College, and Evan Roncace, University of Pittsburgh student

• Danny Ebeling, student at Indiana University in Pennsylvania, and Barbara Rolla, head of the Center for Dental Implants

• Alyssa Bruno Walls, Music Director of Leechburg Area School District, and Jesse Walls, Junior Software Developer PNC Bank

• Jackie Sobel, owner of Sobel’s Obscure Brewery, and Aubrey Worek-DeStephen, wellness expert and owner of FitnessEnvi.

Judges will be natives of Westmoreland County who have made careers in the arts and entertainment:

• Amy Jo Slater, who presents a tribute show to Adele on cruise ships

• Amy Orlandi Cannon, award-winning fine art photographer and live performance writer

• Ryan Stana, Founder and CEO of RWS Entertainment Group, Emmy Award winner.

On-demand viewing tickets cost $ 20 per streaming device and can be purchased on the AFW Facebook event page, and at and

During the event, People’s Choice votes can be cast by sending dwtc21 to 76278.

Fans will also be able to purchase 50-50 tickets and other raffle tickets, with the winners announced during the stream.

Proceeds from the event benefit the operation of the Youngwood Shelter and Adoption Center, which also operates a large animal sanctuary at Unity.

Shirley McMarlin is a writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750, [email protected] or via Twitter .