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Dance Fever

Phoebe Tudor's high kicks, Diane Lokey's air vaults & Lynn Wyatt's cha-cha wow the dancing with the stars crowd

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News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Phoebe Tudor_Phillip Broomhead
Phoebe Tudor, Phillip Broomhead Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Lynn Wyatt_Oliver Halkowich
Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Kristine Richmond_Pat Burk
Kristine Richmond, Pat Burk Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Damian Schwiethale_Diane Lokey Farb
Damian Schwiethale, Diane Lokey Farb Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Monsour Taghdisi_Dawn Scannell
Monsour Taghdisi, Dawn Scannell Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Becca Cason Thrash_John Pecore_Rhonda McDonald
John Pecore, Becca Cason Thrash, Rhonda McDonald Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Lester Smith_Sue Smith_Vika Soto_Angelo Soto
Lester Smith, Sue Smith, Vika Soto, Angelo Soto Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Stanton Welch_Cristina Girard
Stanton Welch, Cristina Girard Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Gary Petersen_Elizabeth Petersen
Gary Petersen, Elizabeth Petersen Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Lynn Wyatt_Oliver Halkowich
Lynn Wyatt, Oliver Halkowich Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Lynn Wyatt_Brad Wyatt
Lynn Wyatt, Brad Wyatt Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Rachel Brown_Terrie Turner_Debbie Festari
Rachel Brown, Terrie Turner, Debbie Festari Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Kristine Richmond_Greggory Burk
Kristine Richmond, Greggory Burk Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Phoebe Tudor_Bobby Tudor
Phoebe Tudor, Bobby Tudor Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Kimberly DeLape_Jessica Meyer
Kimberly DeLape, Jessica Meyer Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Guyla Pircher_Boyd Harris
Guyla Pircher, Boyd Harris Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_John Thrash_Becca Cason Thrash
John Thrash, Becca Cason Thrash Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Lynn Wyatt
Lynn Wyatt Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Kiki Wilson_Kelley Lubanko_Julie Pincus
Kiki Wilson, Kelley Lubanko, Julie Pincus Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_.Karen Pulaski_Steve Tyrell
Karen Pulaski, Steve Tyrell Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Dancie Ware_Mark Sullivan
Dancie Ware, Mark Sullivan Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Betsy Eason_Karen Mayell_Mike Mayell_Tod Eason
Betsy Eason, Karen Mayell, Mike Mayell, Tod Eason Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Phoebe Tudor_Phillip Broomhead
Phoebe Tudor, Phillip Broomhead Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Astrid Van Dyke_Gene Van Dyke
Astrid Van Dyke, Gene Van Dyke Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Pat Burk_Eric Donnelly
Pat Burk, Eric Donnelly Photo by Gary Fountain
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Phoebe Tudor_Phillip Broomhead
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Lynn Wyatt_Oliver Halkowich
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Kristine Richmond_Pat Burk
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Damian Schwiethale_Diane Lokey Farb
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Monsour Taghdisi_Dawn Scannell
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Becca Cason Thrash_John Pecore_Rhonda McDonald
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Lester Smith_Sue Smith_Vika Soto_Angelo Soto
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Stanton Welch_Cristina Girard
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Gary Petersen_Elizabeth Petersen
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Lynn Wyatt_Oliver Halkowich
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Lynn Wyatt_Brad Wyatt
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Rachel Brown_Terrie Turner_Debbie Festari
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Kristine Richmond_Greggory Burk
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Phoebe Tudor_Bobby Tudor
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Kimberly DeLape_Jessica Meyer
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Guyla Pircher_Boyd Harris
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_John Thrash_Becca Cason Thrash
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Lynn Wyatt
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Kiki Wilson_Kelley Lubanko_Julie Pincus
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_.Karen Pulaski_Steve Tyrell
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Dancie Ware_Mark Sullivan
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Betsy Eason_Karen Mayell_Mike Mayell_Tod Eason
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Phoebe Tudor_Phillip Broomhead
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Astrid Van Dyke_Gene Van Dyke
News_Dancing with Houston Stars_Pat Burk_Eric Donnelly

It was endless applause and cheers for the Dancing With the Houston Stars contestants who boogied far outside of their comfort zones Friday night to entertain a room full of black-tie-attired judges. 

No, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli were not there to rate the lavish dance styles of Lynn Wyatt, Diane Lokey Farb, Phoebe Tudor, Monsour Taghdisi and Pat Burk. But the likes of Houston Ballet artistic director Stanton Welch, professional ballroom dancers Sue and Lester Smith and stylist to the stars Ceron put pen to ballot to vote for their favorite. In fact, all 180 guests at the benefit for Houston Ballet voted. And that was no easy task.

Each of the amateur dancers, partnered with retired Houston Ballet figures, completely wowed the contingent that packed the vast pool room in the home of John and Becca Cason Thrash. The swimming pool was covered to create a professional dance floor. Dinner tables ringed the performance area.

The dancers

From the moment that Dawn Scannell ripped off Monsour Taghdisi's tux jacket to reveal his buff biceps, the sophisticated audience began a journey of verbal support that by night's end echoed the enthusiasm of a Houston Texans Dallas Cowboys crowd. Whoa, baby! These dancers were hot and the crowd was appreciative. Monsour's fancy tango footwork and his agile lifts of the former ballerina were huge hits.

Phoebe Tudor, who once aspired to be a ballet dancer, had lesser women thinking of slitting their wrists when she did an astonishing high kick over Phillip Broomhead's head and then completed an assisted back flip. With killer long legs and a natural sense of rhythm, this lanky brunette walked away with the most votes for her mambo. While Phoebe was official winner, each of the contestants performed so incredibly well that the praise went on all weekend for each of them.

Who will ever forget Diane Lokey Farb's grand entrance on the shoulders of Damian Schwiethale or the finale angel lift? In between, this lithe lady danced disco with all the heat and precision of one of the real Dancing with the Stars pros. And if she looked as if she just stepped out of the ABC series, it might have been because the gilded, fringed costume that she wore was the exact one that professional dancer Kym Johnson had worn when she performed with former N-Sync-er Joey Fatone.

A crowd favorite even before she dropped the black floor-length coat to reveal a slinky black costume over black tights, Lynn Wyatt was stunning in her performance with Oliver Halkowich. The cha-cha never looked more seductive as Lynn displayed a natural talent for dance and uninhibited showmanship. You seldom see her on the dance floor at charity galas, but this glamorous lady is one fab dancer. 

The final contestant, Pat Burk, brought along his own cheering squad carrying official-looking "10" score cards and placards of a bare-chested Pat. With his seductive moves on the arm of Kristine Richmond, Pat's merengue had the ladies swooning. The man knows how to dance and with the ballroom finesse and the swooping lifts of his partner, his cheering squad thought he surely should have won.

The aftermath

By night's end, Becca, looking smashing in an haute couture Dior, had 20 would-be dancers volunteering for next year's event. Next year? Yes, this brilliant evening, Becca's brainchild, turned out the be the first annual "Dancing With the Houston Stars." Those who were there are still raving about the knocked out party, sure to be an early sellout in 2011.

Beyond the dance competition, guests sipped on Dom Perignon 2000 (a special Andy Warhol limited edition) and Belvedere Vodka and sat down to an amazing dinner of seared scallops by Eddie V's at West Ave, to-die-for chicken cacciatori from RDG + Bar Annie and red velvet confections from Sprinkles Cupcakes. Add yummy appetizers from Hotel ZaZa's Monarch. The delicious fare led Becca to declare it the best food ever served in her home.

As is tradition in the Cason Thrash household, the party went on long after dinner. One contingent stayed on until 3:30 in the morning. There was just that much energy generated by the dance competition, though a good number headed to the valet car parkers a few hours earlier.

We can't say who stayed the latest but we can tell you who was in the dinner crowd. That would include Houston Ballet's C.C. Conner, Elizabeth and Gary Petersen, Karen and Mike Mayell, Dancie and Jim Ware, Jay Jones, Ann and Matthew Wolf, Brad Wyatt, Nidikha and Pershant Mehta, Kiki Wilson, Terrie and Mike Turner, Julie Pincus, Candice and Lonnie Schiller and Tod and Dr. Betsy Eason.

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