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Turlock dancing stars delight crowd, rake in the donations
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Turlock High campus supervisor Rufus Keaton and his partner Danielle Robinette, owner of Attitude Plus! Dance Studio, take the crowd out to the ballpark with their San Francisco Giants themed performance at the Dancing with the Turlock Stars on Saturday. - photo by CANDY PADILLA / The Journal

Tune in to the next edition of Studio209 on Thursday for video coverage of Dancing with the Turlock Stars, available at and

The performers for the inaugural Dancing with the Turlock Stars did the cha-cha, the hustle, the flamenco, and in general thrilled the capacity crowd Saturday night as they raised thousands of dollars for the Salvation Army.

The early estimates indicate the night’s festivities, which drew in a crowd of 1,010 people, brought in $34,000 after expenses, said Chairperson Kristin Bettencourt.

“It was a marvelous event,” said Salvation Army Major Debi Shrum. “I was shocked how many people showed up.”

Shrum said the Salvation Army will use the funds to bolster the senior and after school programs, as well as purchase food for the organization’s social services.

The benefit dinner show was modeled after the highly popular television show. It partnered 14 Turlock notables, including the two mayoral candidates, with partners with professional dancing experience. The pairs practiced for weeks honing their routines, as well as drumming up support and donations.

The organizers doled out several awards for the night, including the Style Icon Award, which was won by mayoral candidate Gary Soiseth and his partner Gabrielle Aguiar-Forrest, and the Fred and Ginger Award, which was won by Yvonne Geiger and her partner Xavier Huerta.

Modesto Police Capt. Joel Broumas and Amy Shamgochian brought the crowd to their feet with their disco routine to “No Parking on the Dancing Floor” and earned a perfect trio of 10s from the judges. The pair easily nabbed the Judges Trophy for best dance routine and performance.

“That’s amazing,” Broumas said after seeing their perfect scores. “It’s all because of her. This is the most frightening thing I’ve ever done.”

The partnership of Jerry Powell and Nicole Gordon-Couto had the honor of hoisting the Mirror Ball Championship trophy at the end of the night. The award was given to the couple who generated the most donations to the Salvation Army through votes cast. The pair had 772 votes cast for them at $10 apiece.

“We are so impressed with the support,” Powell said. “I’m glad we were able to raise some money tonight.”