Dogwood After Dark, the kick-off party for the Dogwood Arts Festival, drew more than 300 guests who were advised to wear their dancing shoes. This year the festive party, which focuses on a different art form each year, celebrated the art of dance. WBIR-TV’s Erin Donovan greeted the crowd from inside a rolling drink table wearing a tall pink wig festooned with blossoms. Local dancers performed under a spotlight on the floor of the Great Hall of the Knoxville Museum of Art as well as on a smaller lighted stage. Along with the dances, guests enjoyed dance-themed appetizers from Holly’s Eventful Dining and the event’s signature beverage, the Dogwood Dazzle, which was served by the Pour Guys along with wine donated by B T Distributing and beer donated by Cherokee Distributing. Other sponsors were All Occasions Party Rentals, Bandit Lites and Land Rover of Knoxville.
Dancers included Lucia Andronescu, who danced the flamenco in a red dress weighing 35 pounds; Caroline Rempe, Jason Harris, Jonathan Carlomagno, Jenna Knox, Keith Moore, Stephanie Weir, James Trater and Rebecca Huet from the Knoxville Swing Dance Association; Josh Beach, Meg Beach and Jamie Webster from Beach Dance Association did a spoken word performance, which included singing by Jodie Manross; Sam Gordon and Kisa Abbott, from GO Dance Knoxville, did the cha-cha with energy, and Bill and Connie Healy represented the Knoxville Argentine Tango Society with an enchanting tango. The tempo went up a notch with the arrival of Champale Denise, who captivated the crowd as a Whitney Houston look-alike singing “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and making good on the song’s title by selecting a few dance partners from those standing around the dance floor. A remake of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” complete with the red-jacketed one and his companion, played by Greg Carney and Andrea Borja, and a group of zombies got everyone in the mood for the evening’s finale, dancing to the sounds of King Super and the Excellents.
Among the guests were Dogwood Arts Festival’s Executive Director Lisa Duncan and husband Dan, this year’s Festival co-chairs, Mickey Mallonee and Hallerin Hilton Hill, as well as the Dogwood After Dark planning team, including entertainment director Dennis Perkins, emcee Dino Cartwright, Craig Shelton, Chris Davis, Janet Testerman, Jason McClure, Vicki Baumgartner, Barbara Grobicki, Judith Foltz, Lauren Christ, Kelly Absher, Jennifer Bruner, Rob Petrone, Mike Combs and Liz Lyons. Other guests included KMA Executive Director David Butler and Ted Smith, Mayor Madeline Rogero, Dan and Cathy Brown, Erin and Ben Slocum, Lisa Sorensen and Scott Schimmel, Tracy and David Dewhirst, Melynda and Bob Whetsel, Julia and Gary Bentley, Pam Reeves and Charles Swanson, Vicki Gillenwater, Mary Ellen Brewington, Becky and Jim Dodson, Carey Bruner, Kraig DeBenedictis, Cynthia Moxley and Alan Carmichael, Lynda Evans, Christi Branscom, Gina Changas, Eddie Mannis, Chyna Brackeen and Darrien Thomson, Marshall Stair, Lisa Hood Skinner and Steve Skinner, Kathy and Doug Slocum, Dorothy Smith, and Denise Sanabria. Also there were Janet Testerman Crossley and Bill Regas, Jimmy Buckner, Karen and Don Sproles, Susan Brown, Leza and Burke Pinnell, Sara Hedstrom Pinnell and Ben Pinnell, Allyn Purvis Schwartz, Katharine and Roger Killen, Mary Bogert, Kelly and Frank Nystrom, Alta and Rick Emmett, Robbie Arrington, Lauren and Jesse Wagner, David Creekmore, Brooke Cross, Michael Croyle, Jessica Emert, Beth and Brandon Parks, Vivian Vega and Duncan Mansfield, Lisa and Chad Wiles, and Kim Henry.
n Two very different events, both benefiting Knoxville Opera, took place on the “dark night,” the open night at the Tennessee Theatre between the Friday and Sunday performances of “Romeo and Juliet.” The “Dark Lady Night,” chaired by Michelle Brewer and Melissa McCoy, took place on stage. Bettina McCann of Luxe Catering created an Italian-themed menu served with Italian wines and a specialty martini, “The Dark Lady.” Edward Francisco, associate professor of English and writer-in-residence at Pellissippi State Community College, spoke on Shakespeare’s love sonnets and the identity of the dark lady. Maria Natale, Sarah Fitch, Boris Van Druff and Jesse Stock, accompanied by Knoxville Opera Maestro Brian Salesky, performed from Juliet’s balcony.
Among the guests were Cheryl Wake, John and LeeAnn Dougherty, Dorothy and Caesar Stair, David Butler and Ted Smith, Tim Wheeler, Gene Price, Chad Haynes, Sherri Gardner Howell and Neville Howell, Jane Nerison, Steve and Jerri Hodges, Peter Acly, Bruce and Shirley Avery, Raphael Crawford, Judy Schiffer, Anna Hinds, Steve and Jerri Hodges, Mark and Cathy Hill, Harry and Sharon House, Tom Jones and Lee Ridley, Stephanie Levy and James Mason, Tom and Cheryl Midyett, Diana Salesky, Peggy Sood, Jackie Wilson, Tom and Melanie Wood and Charles and Nancy Wagner.
n “Off with Her Head!” was a costume party with a Marie Antoinette theme. The authentic guillotine, rented for the occasion, was a favorite spot for photos of guests in period attire, with plunging necklines for the ladies and powdered wigs for the gentlemen being the favorite choices. The event’s planning committee included Allison Easterday, Leslie Young, Laura Davis, Diana Salesky, Bettina McCann, Christina Geros, Megan Blair, Marshall Stair, Jill Tennant, Tammy Easterday, Kim Trent, Adrienne and Stanton Webster, Whitfield Bailey, Kelly Absher and Helen McNabb. Dennis Perkins announced the arrival of the queen and her court, who entered from the grand staircase.
n Sapphire’s recent fashion show “Highballs Highheels” drew a sold out crowd of more than 200. Hosts Michele Silva and Dino Cartwright kept the evening lively as Crass Couture and Crush Knoxville presented their signature styles. Studio Visage on Market Square showcased their stylists’ talents. There was a Kentucky bourbon tasting courtesy of BT Distributing and Jim Beam. Among the guests were Sapphire owner Aaron Thompson, Eric Botts, Sam McAmis, Jennifer Holder, Blake Valentine, Kristi Lannom, Scott Bird, Cindi Alpert, Kathy and Sven Brooks, Angelique Meadow, Michelle Savell and Sarah Frankel.
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