Foundation’s Star Dancing Gala supports Vail Valley youth | VailDaily.com

Foundation’s Star Dancing Gala supports Vail Valley youth

Betty Ann Woodland
High Altitude Society
YouthPower365’s development officer Niki Fornito and Vail Valley Foundation's Melissa Bartoletta anjoy attending the ninth annual Star Dancing Gala at the Vail Valley Jet Center.
Betty Ann Woodland | Special to the Daily |

On Tuesday, July 18, the Vail Valley Jet Center hosted the Star Dancing Gala for the ninth consecutive year to raise the roof with music and dance and raise funds for the Vail Valley Foundation’s YouthPower365 programming.

With the whimsical, colorful and creative theme of Dr. Suess’ “Oh, the Places We’ll Go,” the jet hangar was transformed into a veritable vision of imaginativeness. The bright, bold and monochromatic colors all around — including in the women’s fashion and the decor — provided a fun theme infused with the important message of discovering your dreams.

With the mission “to provide year-round extended learning opportunities that empower and educate the youth and families of Eagle County from cradle to career,” YouthPower365, which celebrates their 20th anniversary this year, provides fun and engaging programs that have measurable results for participants.

“Tonight we ask you to join us on our important journey; to open the doors to all the places our children can go now and in the future. Together we can overcome barriers and change lives for the better,” said Mike Imhof, Vail Valley Foundation president and CEO.

Spirit of the Valley

The 2017 Education Legacy Award was presented to Amy and Steve Coyer for their profound commitment to the betterment of youth in Eagle County.

Vail native and candidate for governor of Colorado, Mike Johnston was the emcee of the evening and early on in the program invited all the attendees who grew up in the Vail Valley to stand up.

“If you have had the privilege of growing up in this valley, then you had the experience of living in a place where you felt like everyone was looking out for you. There was this sense that wherever you went, there were people to your left and people to your right that were trying to make sure that you would succeed. I think that is exactly the spirit that you find in YouthPower365 — the same sensibility remains as the valley grows,” Johnston said.

Then, it was on to the celebrity dancing and entertainment starring VVF’s “Celebrate the Beat” performers, professional dancers highlighting Star Dancing Gala artistic director Colin Meiring, Maria Barry, Reason Galt, Michele Philippon and Connie Kincaid-Strahan dancing with celebrity dancers Betsy Kogan, Josh Lautenberg, Sheldon Andrew, Agatha Precourt, Brian Maurer, Meredith Kennedy, Marc Philoppon Jr. and Harvey Simpson.

Each performance was delightful and stellar in its own way and had the audience ready to hit the dance floor themselves. The closing performance was a rousing, high energy number by local Vail Performing Arts Academy students who are also under the instruction of Meiring.

Quote of the night was from photographer Rex Keep who was overheard saying, “My cheeks hurt so much from smiling and laughing with all of these good people.” Enough said.

Betty Ann Woodland is a longtime local who covers social events including fundraisers for non-profits, local happenings and soirees of all kinds. She can be reached at bettyannw6@gmail.com.