OUR VIEW: Good sports dance for good cause in Odessa

Last Saturday’s Dancing with the West Texas Stars featured a lot of shake, shake, shake … shake shake shake … shake your booty.

K.C. and all of the Sunshine band would be proud.

The Crisis Center of West Texas is the big winner with more than $280,000 raised through the local competition that features good (and good natured) local dance professionals paired with community leaders who agree to learn a dance routine and then perform in front of almost 1,000 people.


What a fun night for all with Oncor’s Gus Ortega walking away with the coveted mirror ball trophy and the title of grand prize winner.

Ortega, who danced with partner Libby Sharp from Elegance Ballroom in Midland and channeled a little Ritchie Valens with his “La Bamba, raised more than $40,000. He was cool and suave and showed off a little soft shoe.

There were others who danced including CBS 7’s morning anchor Tatum Guinn, who danced with Joey Fino from Love to Dance Studio. She wowed the crowd with her moves and had most everyone on their feet clapping by the end of the song.

School board member Nelson Minyard, with partner Eva Garcia of Love to Dance Studio, showed off some moves and a good sense of humor with his John Travolta inspired dances (yes, he did a little Stayin’ Alive.)

It was a fun night for everyone and all the dancers nailed their routines and the crowd helped them along by clapping and with pats on the back by the end of it.

It’s an amazing thing to see so many folks come together to support their dancing friends who have worked very diligently to get the routines down. It is not a matter of just a few dance lessons. No, these folks work for months before the event to perfect the often very elaborate routines.

And in their spare time they fundraise and help out the Crisis Center, which has a tough job in our city. The work they do cannot be praised enough.

We also are impressed with the local dance studios and professionals who work hard to tailor a dance routine that plays to the strengths of each volunteer dancer. They work long hours to help these folks get in tip top dancing routine.

The dance studios included Love to Dance, Elegance Ballroom and the West Texas Salseros.

Here’s a re-cap of the winners:

  • Best Costume: Justin Carrigan (UTPB head football coach) with partner Janet Ansley from Elegance Ballroom in Midland.
  • Most Entertaining: Catherine Daniels (a community volunteer) with partner Enrique Romero from Love to Dance Studios in Odessa.
  • Best Male Dancer: Blake Batte (CEO, Orrex) with partner Kelsey Bourg Tanner with Elegance Ballroom in Midland.
  • Best Female Dancer: Mallory Langford (OHS curriculum specialist) with partner Michael Greenwell from Elegance Ballroom in Midland.

The Crisis Center of West Texas provides free services to individuals affected by domestic and sexual violence (including both intimate partner and stranger related assaults). They provide shelter, counseling, crisis intervention and advocacy to help build lives free of violence.

Other dancers and partners included:

  • Barbara Atkis with Ray Reynosa of Love to Dance Studio.
  • Nelson Minyard with Eva Garcia of Love to Dance Studio.
  • Lucinda Hurblbut with Fred Behmardi of Elegance Ballroom.
  • Derrick Bush with Beatrice Gonzales Fierro of Love to Dance Studio.