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Will Seppi, Efren Carrillo Nab First Place in 'Dancing With the Stars'

Inaugural event at The Raven is success on multiple levels.

and general manager Will Seppi both won first place awards Saturday night at the sold out inaugural " in Healdsburg.

Carrillo, partnered with pro dancer Lauralie Staley, and Seppi, paired with pro dancer Janelle Guido, were two of eight local celebrities who competed in the first-time fundraiser. 

Carrillo, doing a hot samba, won the top judges' award, and Seppi, dancing to "Singing in the Rain," took the top overall award that included public votes.

Event co-producer Vera Harvey said the show was a success for participants, the audience and for thewhich receives all proceeds to help continued maintenance and operations.

"We already have people coming forward who want to be part of it next year -- as contestants, as volunteers, or contributing something,"  Harvey said. "I'm so proud of the whole thing -- the dancers, the audience, the donations."

"I truly believe that everyone walked away from the theater last night with a smile," Harvey added. "I think even the building is smiling."

Harvey said she had no official numbers on amount of money raised, but added she had received highly positive feedback Sunday from Raven Theater board members.

"Thanks to your efforts, the big winner was the building, the Raven Theater," co-producer Joe Gellura said in a thank-you email Sunday to volunteers. "The money that was raised by you all will keep our lights on for quite a while."

Other award winners in judges' voting were owner Cathy Boitano-Grande and pro partner Warren Bruce Chin, who took second place, and Petaluma businesswoman Anthy O'Brien and pro parther John Ross of Rohnert Park's The Ballroom, who were awarded third place.

In the overall category, Carrillo and Staley nabbed second place, and O'Brien and Ross again came in third.

Judges for the event were: Steve Nordquist, founder of Nordquist Dance in Santa Rosa; Kelly Casanova, two-time U.S. Open Swing Dance Champion and longtime Bay Area swing teacher; and Jose Santamaria, founder of JAS Dance Studio in Santa Rosa and longtime Bay Area salsa and Latin dance teacher.

Other contestants were: and pro dance partner Brina Cimino; KRCB program director Robin Pressman and pro partner Nick Charles of Guerneville; Healdsburg's Studio Skin Care owner Patricia Davidson and pro partner and Windsor chiropractor Denny Freeman; and Healdsburg Patch editor and pro partner Jason Taylor of Rohnert Park.

Corte Madera dermatologist Julie Anne Winfield and pro partner Daniel Guido did not compete due to scheduling circumstances.

The Raven is producing a DVD of the whole show. Copies of the video are available for $10 plus shipping. For ordering details, see the Raven Theater website.

Christian Kallen November 14, 2011 at 06:09 PM
Sorry I missed this event! Will there be a video? Must have been great fun.
Keri Brenner November 14, 2011 at 06:16 PM
@Christian Kallen: Yes it really was great fun. Sorry you couldn't be there. However, a video was shot of the whole show and will be available for sale @ $10. Details on ordering coming later in the week. Also Patch will have a short highlights video to post in a day or two....
Keri Brenner November 14, 2011 at 06:53 PM
@Christian Kallen: Here's a link for you and anyone else interested in ordering a video of "Dancing With the Stars at The Raven." http://www.raventheater.org/event_dancing.aspx Hope that helps!
Carol (Kiki) Noack November 15, 2011 at 02:25 AM
Every single act was so much fun, and everyone in the building had a total blast. Keri - a few people commented on your own skills, sure that you 1) must have already started with dancing skills; and 2) have athlete legs!
Keri Brenner November 15, 2011 at 02:33 AM
@Kiki Noack: Thanks very much...I have some social dancing in my background, but nothing with performing or competing. As to the legs, perhaps those may be partially due to a former lifetime doing some distance running. But I think the main credit of the night goes to my pro partner Jason Taylor who did all the choreography, teaching and training --all with lots of patience!

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