'Dance for Life' draws stars, crowd and money for a cause (GALLERY)

Christie Hightower Tony Dovolani Dance for Life

Guest "Dancing with the Stars" celebrity dancers Chelsie Hightower and Tony Dovolani take audience questions.

BRIAN HUGHES / News Bulletin
Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 01:57 PM.

CRESTVIEW — Covenant Hospice is waiting to learn how much additional financial support its nursing, end-of-life care, bereavement and social services received following a Saturday fundraiser.

"Dance for Life" exceeded usual attendance, but hospice staffers were still waiting for the final tally of funds raised, as of press time, a spokesperson said.

A swirl of light, color and energy filled the Crestview High School Pearl Tyner Auditorium stage last weekend as "Dancing with the Stars" personalities Tony Dovolani and Chelsie Hightower joined local and regional dancers in the Crestview Fred Astaire Dance Studio's annual fundraiser for the hospice.

Nearly 350 people in the audience — a record for the hospice's annual dance event — watched demonstrations of traditional and high-energy moves.

"Last year's event raised $1,700 for Covenant Hospice," the service's development manager, Jenni Perkins, said. "The amount has grown every year it's been put on. With Chelsie and Tony being such big names, it drew more people this year. We completely sold out the VIP tickets."

"This is the biggest we've ever had," Fred Astaire studio co-owner and featured dancer David Colón said.

During the first act, he danced with one of the studio's top former pupils, 12-year-old Madi Lopez, who returned to Crestview from her new home in Texas to perform at the showcase.

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