FORT MILL — Giving back to the community is a part of Bob DeLong’s life.
Since DeLong started Dolce Lusso Salon and Day Spas with his wife Christy seven years ago, the couple have made it a priority to support local charities and community efforts, he said. So it was easy for DeLong to agree to participate in the third annual Dancing With the Stars - Fort Mil event to support middle school athletics.
“Middle school sports are a very important part of school,” he said. “It builds character for kids.”
DeLong’s daughter Savanna is a senior on the lacrosse team at Nation Ford High School and his son Skylar, an eighth-grader, plays football and soccer at Springfield Middle School.
DeLong said he had no dance experience, save for watching “Dance Moms” on Lifetime before taking lessons for the event. While it has been a challenge, DeLong said he is coming along.
“I’m having a lot of fun doing this,” he said. “I feel good about what I’m doing,” he said.
DeLong’s partner is Gabriela Servillano, an instructor with Fort Mill’s Dance Center USA.
Servillano began her dance training at the school of the Charlotte City Ballet at age 3. She graduated from the School of the North Carolina Dance Theatre where she was a member of the Student Ensemble.
Servillano began her ballroom training at age 10 and was officially recognized at the first junior ballroom dancer in the Charlotte area. She opened Dance Center USA in 2011.
Servillano said she is looking forward to supporting middle school athletics, something that is important to her as a dancer.
“Kids need a physical outlet to be able to excel,” she said. “I want to make a difference in the community sharing my passion.”
Dance Center USA has been involved with the DWTS event since its conception, Servillano said.
“We loved the idea of supporting the kids and physical activity,” she said. “It was a no-brainer for us to be a part of Dancing With the Stars.”
Servillano said she has enjoyed introducing dance to the celebrity dancers.
“I enjoy seeing them discover something else in their life,” she said. “(The event) introduces the community to ballroom dancing.”
DeLong said he has reached out to his friends and colleagues in the business industry for sponsorship. So far, he has received strong support for his effort to raise money for middle school athletics.
“Everyone knows how important it is,” he said.
DeLong has support from his employees at Dolce Lusso Salon as well. They are selling T-shirts at the salon to support his team.
The team has also made a Youtube video titled “Bob DeLong/Dancing With the Stars Fort Mill” promoting their cause. If the video reaches 2,000 views, an anonymous donor has pledged $1,500, DeLong said. As of Monday, there were more than 450 views on the video.
Servillano said Dancing With the Stars grows every year.
“I hope it continues,” she said.