The Crowd: Tomorrow's stars, tonight's proceeds

It was an evening of glamour and glitter. Some 430 guests of the Assistance League of Newport-Mesa converged March 23 at the City National Grove of Anaheim for the sixth annual "Dancing for Tomorrow's Stars" fundraiser. By the end of the Saturday night affair that featured plenty of high kicks and sequined dance attire, more than $270,000 was raised for the cause. The big guns behind the party were dedicated Assistance League supporter Julia Argyros and her former ambassador husband George, joining extended family and grandchildren for the evening. The Argyros clan came in full force to support daughter Stephanie Argyros, one of the celebrity dancers in the program, who also, by the way, raised a staggering amount of money for the league. For those not familiar with how the program works, the cast of dancers all receive marks from celebrity judges as well as votes from the public at large on line in the community. Each vote racks up a few dollars for the dancer of choice, ultimately bringing in thousands of dollars, one vote at a time for the league.

Joining the Argyroses as the heavy hitters behind the event were Bruce and Jill Ayres, Brandee and Beau Bianchi, Sue and Dan Guggenheim, Lula Halfacre, Kimberly Bernatz and Janet and Eddie Stacey. Also front and center for the league were the beautiful Jeannie Lawrence and Jim McAleer. Lawrence also happens to be one of the past celebrity dancers for the league. Sara Guggenheim Jarrett, also a past celebrity dancer, served as an honorary chair of the evening.

The dance lineup onstage included Ray Eldridge, Christopher Gialanella, Gordon Orsborn, Shawn Harris, Elizabeth An and Stephanie Argyros. This year celebrity judges were Barbara Venezia, Sharon Savoy, Christina Lyon and Terry Dubrow, the plastic surgeon husband of OC Housewife and TV personality Heather Dubrow.

The entire cast deserved major kudos for the incredible efforts. Standouts included An as "Best Female Dancer." An was joined at the party by her parents, Helene and Danny An, the family behind the celebrated House of An restaurants in Beverly Hills, San Francisco and the O.C. Riviera magazine's publisher, the movie-star-handsome Gialanella, was named "Best Male Dancer," and the pretty blonde Stephanie Argyros took home the title of "Fan Favorite." The spectacular costumes onstage were designed by Kalina Kovtun from Designs by Kalina. Additional corporate support for the evening came from Bianchi Winery and Black, Starr & Frost jewelry company.

In the end, it's not just about the glitter and the glamour but about significant dollars raised that the league will use to benefit the children of citizens of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa who are less fortunate and struggling to make ends meet. Founded in 1940 in Newport Beach, the league has served the community for 73 years with four recognized philanthropic programs: the Cheri Harris Children's Dental Health Center, Operation School Bell, the Kids on the Block and Community Outreach Program. All of these efforts supporting local children are staffed by member volunteers and funded through charitable donations and special events, including "Dancing for Tomorrow's Stars." To learn more about the Assistance League of Newport-Mesa, go to

THE CROWD runs Fridays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.

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