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The Blue & Gray Press | August 21, 2019

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Fredericksburg community stars raise $65,000 through dance for performing arts


University of Mary Washington President Rick Hurley danced the rumba in front of more than 500 people, in coordination with Dancing with the Fredericksburg Stars, a special event held to create a $65,000 scholarship for UMW students.

The new scholarship will reward full-time, degree-seeking students residing in the Fredericksburg region who are in good academic standing and excel in the performing arts, according to UMW.

Hurley said that the money sits in an investment account for a year before the scholarship may be awarded.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Lauren Armstrong, a junior at UMW and a member of the Performing Arts Club. “It shows the community how much we love dance.”

Mayor of Fredericksburg Katherine Greenlaw, one of nine community leaders who danced in the show and winner of the show’s People’s Choice award, said that encouraging the performing arts at universities is important.

“It makes them better people, even if they choose not to do it as a profession,” said Greenlaw. “It has enabled me to appreciate music and art and theatre in a way that I wouldn’t have otherwise.”

Among the notable performers were Ellen Killough, president and CEO of the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center, and winner of Best in Show, Fred M. Rankin III, president and CEO of Mary Washington Healthcare, and Susan Garnett Spears, president of the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“We really had a wonderful time, and the audience had as good a time as we did,” said Greenlaw.

Tiffany Kelly, owner & director of the dance studio that accompanied the stars, said that all of the stars came out of their comfort zones.

“I got a chance to work with all of the stars, and each of them had an ‘aha’ moment, and for me that was the best part,” said Melissa Scott, owner of Strictly Ballroom Dance Studio.

According to Greenlaw, although she studied ballet from the time she was a child, and even taught at and owned Houston School of Dance on the Camp Lejeune Marine Base, she spent a lot of time training for the competition.

“This competition was hard because I had never danced ballroom,” she said.

According to Hurley, the event will take place at least two or three more times.

Scott said that the studio is always looking for opportunities to help with the performing arts. Every Friday night at 7 p.m. they offer 50 percent off of lessons for UMW students.

“Scholarships attract the best and the brightest students,” said Hurley. “The performing arts, I believe, is a part of our campus that adds variety, a culture difference that exposes our students and our community to something different.”