DWTS – Fort Mill contestant is no stranger to art of social graces

Special to the Fort Mill TimesJanuary 20, 2014 

  • See them dance

    Dancing With the Stars - Fort Mill will be held 7 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Glennon Community Center in Tega Cay. Doors will open at 6 p.m. for dinner tickets and 6:45 p.m. for show only tickets. VIP tickets are $100 and include dinner, dessert, pre-dinner cocktails and the after show celebration. Tickets for the show and after show party are $50. Get tickets and more information at fortmillathletics.com.

— Best known for the grace and etiquette she teachers her students, Celia McCarter will be putting her dancing skills to the test as she competes in the third annual Dancing With the Stars – Fort Mill fundraising event.

McCarter operates the Fort Mill/Tega Cay Junior Cotillion Organization, where she has trained more than 1,200 local middle and high school ladies and gentlemen in the art of manners, etiquette and social graces since 2008.

As she prepares to take the stage, McCarter said she is focused on not only winning Dancing With the Stars, but more importantly raising money to support middle school athletics.

“Athletics is a wonderful program for the children,” she said. “It’s part of their education and growth.”

McCarter, a Fort Mill resident for 11 years, has seen this growth in her own children. Her sons, Kyle, 16, and Noah, 15, learned teamwork, dedication and responsibility during middle school sports. She hopes her other children, Ayden, 11, Lydia, 6 and Quentin 3, will also be able to enjoy what middle school athletics has to offer.

“It’s such an important aspect of growth and maturity in children everywhere,” she said. “I hope the program will continue.”

While McCarter has a basic understanding of the waltz, foxtrot, cha cha and shag, which she teaches to her cotillion students, she will be performing two unfamiliar dances. McCarter began practicing with her partner Dmitriy Solomakha, an instructor with Dance Center USA, the first week of November.

“It’s a wonderful learning experience for me,” McCarter said. “(Dmitriy) has been such a joy to work with.”

McCarter hopes her personal tie to middle school sports and her efforts with the Junior Cotillion Organization, in which she serves more than 200 families within the area each year, will help her gain sponsors.

She urged residents to come out and support the event.

“There are not many opportunities to see such a high level of dancers in Fort Mill,” she said. “It’s a wonderful night here in town.”

McCarter is also spreading the word on her website, nljc.com/chapter/york, and to local businesses.

“I’m doing everything I can to be successful in this,” she said. “I am an extremely competitive person.”

However, McCarter stressed the real reason she is doing the event is to support a worthy cause.

“The most important winners are the students and the athletics program,” she said. “I’m honored to be selected to represent Fort Mill School District’s Middle School sports program and hope that I will exceed their expectations.”

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