Pastor, partner dancing to ‘Soul Man’
By Brenda Harrison, Editor
If you are a minister paired with a dance instructor for a dance contest, what song would you choose? “Soul Man” is the song the Rev. Chris Handley and Brandi Williamson selected for their upbeat Blues Brothers-style dance routine for the 2017 Dancing For Our Future Stars on March 30 at the SiMT.
This will be the seventh dance competition conducted to raise funds for The School Foundation. Handley is the associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church. Although he has not danced since junior high school, he agreed to participate in this popular fund-raiser “because I love this community and I want to help the schools.”
Chris is more comfortable with the fine arts. He loves to draw, and he plays the guitar. His favorite hobby is cycling for exercise and roasting coffee beans.
The father of three grown sons who has been married to Dottie for 31 years said his wife’s first response when he told her what he had committed to do was, “You’re crazy.”
Nonetheless, this nondancer is busy learning and practicing the dance steps which Burnadene Kelley-Newman helped his partner Brandi choreograph.
“It’s fun,” he admitted. Brandi has had a multi-dose of fun since the dance competition started here in 2011 – she has competed as a dance professional in all of the competitions. In fact, she and three of her past partners collected trophies as runner-ups for their fund-raising efforts.
The mother of three, ages 4, 10 and 11, is a former dance instructor at Kelley Fine Arts. She lives in Kingstree and works in physical therapy in Manning.
This year’s 12 celebrity dancers paired with professionals are:
- David Copeland (Savannah Grove Elementary) and Cheyanne Beck
- Barnett Greenberg (Greenberg Real Estate, LLC) and Meghan Burgess
- The Rev. Chris Handley (First Presbyterian Church) and Brandi Williamson
- Carl Humphries (HopeHealth, Inc.) and Meggie Baker
- Andrew Imbeau (ProMotion Rehab and Sports Medicine) and Hannah Yarborough
- The Rev. Will Malambri (Central United Methodist Church) and Katelyn Rodgers
- Ashleigh McIntyre (Raines Hospitality Inc.) and Cole Davis
- Chad Patterson (Raldex Hospitality) and Morgan Schoolfield
- Dr. Christy Prose (Carolinas Hospital System) and Chris Mixon
- J. Lawrence “Chipper” Smith II (Smith Funeral Home of Florence, LLC) and Georgeanna Kelley
- Rebecca E. Smith (Assurant Specialty Property) and Tyler Jordan
- Yancey Stokes (Honda of SC Manufacturing) and Erin Haynes
- Fans may vote online for their favorite dance couples at DancingForOurFutureStarsOfFlorence. com for only $10 per vote.
The “People’s Choice” mirror ball trophies will be awarded to the three couples receiving the most votes. The judges will name one couple “Technical Skills Winner” based on the contestants’ overall skills.
A couple will also be chosen as “Most Entertaining” by the judges. Dancers receiving the largest number of online votes will be awarded the “Social Stars” trophy.