Show-stopping performances took center stage at 2014 Mad Hot Ballroom

Show-stopping performances took center stage at 2014 Mad Hot Ballroom
2014 Mad Hot Ballroom 1st place winners Matthew Nicholas and DeLanne Babineaux


The 2014 Mad Hot Ballroom Celebrity Dancing Gala, often referred to as Southwest Louisiana's version of "Dancing with the Stars", stole the show Saturday night as 10 couples heated up the dance floor in the 5th annual Mad Hot Ballroom dance competition.

"It's a great cause, and there's a lot of good people involved with it," said first-time participant Alan Heisser. "Giving back is something I've always done and always enjoyed doing, and it's just another way of doing it." 

Each couple, which included one prominent Southwest Louisiana resident paired with a local expert dancer, were decked out in custom costumes and performed a variety of dances including the Waltz, Salsa, Jive, Quickstep and Swing, but it was Matthew Nicholas of Lake Charles and 37-year dance veteran DaLanne Babineaux who took home the coveted first place Mad Hot Ballroom Mirror-Ball Trophy for their unique and up-beat Jive number.

"Oh it was great," said Nicholas, owner of Mast Power and Control, "It was a lot of fun, and it was a lot of hard work. DaLanne is a fantastic teacher, and we really had a good time."

The audience gave the couple a standing ovation after the two dominated the stage with their upbeat and cheerful dance to Pharrell William's "Happy." The couple said aside from taking home first place, they're glad to see the fundraiser grow bigger and better every year.

"We sold a lot more tables this year," said Babineaux. "We had a sold-out show, and that makes me proud. This is what I do for a living, so it lets me know that we're doing the right thing. This was for a great cause, and it worked."

In addition, Denise Rau and Marcus Bebee took home second place, while Chauntel Mathieu and Edward Marsh took home third. KPLC's own Lee Peck and his partner Amanda Yellott took home Best Originality for their sultry tango number to the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams."

"We wanted something different," said Peck, who was originally set to be a celebrity judge but filled in at the last minute after a dancer dropped out due to an injury. "At the end of the night, we wanted people to be entertained, and so, that was really what I wanted to get out of this. Win or lose, we wanted to entertain."

The "Mad Hot Ballroom" is a fundraising event for The Whistle Stop's Dancing Classrooms program of Southwest Louisiana. The program gives local 5th grade boys and girls an opportunity to learn about themselves through the art of dance. For more information,

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